The City of Seattle has been building more curb cuts in our neighborhood. I am happy to see that. There is still a lot of work to do, but there is progress.
Curb cuts make public spaces accessible to people with disabilities. In reality, they help everyone. If you’ve pushed a stroller or walked with crutches, you probably know the difference they make.
Fifty years ago, they didn’t exist. Vicky Leeper writes about how they came to be.
A curb cut or a lack of a curb cut expresses the narrative of the city. They are the embodiment of what Seattle values or doesn’t value.
I picked curb cuts, but there are thousands of other examples in the city: zoning, new homes, libraries, bus routes, neighborhood squares and parks, community markets, static and movable sitting, trees, etc.
The narrative is everywhere. You can see it, touch it and feel it.
A narrative expresses what we value as a group and illustrates how we think. It reinforces the norms and stereotypes that define our culture.
Just as we design cities with the influence of our narrative, we do the same with organizations. The company you build is the expression of your imagination through the belief system that helps you make decisions.
In building more curb cuts, Seattle shows that it values inclusivity and believes in a future where all people can enjoy the neighborhood more.
Therefore, as you are thinking about evolving your organization, what kind of curb cuts will you build?
- Could there be easier ways for two teams to work together?
- What about making information more transparent?
- Who would benefit from finally understanding your overly complicated strategy?
If you can’t imagine the future, you can’t create it.
But if you have the right narrative, you certainly can, and so will your team.