Not too long ago, I was speaking with a fellow Drone about the sense of not belonging that I often feel when I’m sitting in meetings and people are discussing things that, though relevant to the business, I just can’t get myself to care about. I likened it to that Sesame Street interlude, where “one of these things is not like the others. One of these things doesn’t belong.” My colleague said that she felt the same, and that this must be what it’s like to be transgendered and stuck in the wrong body. Like Chastity/Chazz Bono.
Oh, how many times I’ve endured the torment of a Chazz Bono meeting! Whether the topic being discussed was cost segregation models, tax structures, digital marketing, or client issues, my gut level reaction is always the same: Oh my God, who gives a shit, can you please stop talking so I can be spared this torture.
The Chazz Bono Effect is not limited to meetings, although that is where it is most prominent. You will also notice the CBE at industry conferences, seminars, or when reading various pieces of “thought leadership,” such as white papers. You might also feel the CBE at play when you’re at a social event, and a group of people is busy talking about Very Important Business Things. The CBE is ubiquitous and pervasive. It has neither functional nor industry boundaries.
You can either pretend to be interested and fake adding something relevant to the discussion, or you can allow your mind to wander off to more pressing matters, such as your dog’s upcoming appointment for teeth cleaning. Because a key part of being a successful Drone lies in your ability to fake it, the best course of action is to have something canned that you memorize and can add to the conversation.
I suspect that if you asked for candid responses, most people would be more genuinely interested in your dog’s oral hygiene than in the Strategic Initiatives That Will Help Move the Company Forward This Quarter. But you need to play the game.
*Props to Drone PM, for coining the term “Chazz Bono Effect.”