"If you go to your grave without painting your masterpiece, it will not get painted. No one else can paint it. Only you."
Gordon McKenzie

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I've been thinking about zombies.

The initial thought came to me while watching World War Z on an airplane last year. What struck me was how deep Oscar Wilde's enigmatic question really was; ‘does art imitate life, or does life imitate art?’ You see, I've been wondering why all the interest in zombies?  I think it might have something to do with our collective focus on individualism. In short we live in a world more and more focused on me protecting myself and my small band of family and friends from hostile forces who might look like me and mine, but we know deep down are really bloodthirsty creatures who wish only to take everything from me.

Does that sound familiar? Some comments from our neighbours to the south on gun control are indicative: 'the lives of your children do not trump my right to protect myself and my family with a gun'. http://barbwire.com/2014/05/27/open-letter-parents-victims-murdered-elliot-rodger/   An extreme case, yes, but an indicator nonetheless. You see, we all know that zombies do not exist, and yet all too often we seem to fall into a dangerous trap of objectifying the people with whom we disagree.  Eventually sometimes making them the equivalent of zombies to us and our family and friends. For example, in oil and mining exploration and pipelines we have people of both sides describing each other as “stupid”, “uneducated”, or worse we simply ignore them as humans and run roughshod over top of them. For example, I’ve heard in meetings recently,” just ask the First Nations what their price is and we’ll pay it.”  This might in fact be similar to saying to Roman Catholics, we want to run a pipeline through the Vatican, just give us a price.

And the same Zombie mentality is true of us as leaders in our team or department; are there zombies in the organization from your perspective? Could it be that accounting are zombies? Or HR, or maybe there are one or two people “no one likes” on your team. Be very careful of treating them as zombies and creating us and them situations. Instead, reach out, find common ground, talk things through, honouring each other’s perspectives and the potential to learn from and with each other.

Because, in fact, zombies do not exist.