I was never a beard guy.
While I did flirt with a fairly common but truly hideous grunge style goatee in the 1990s, so began and ended my facial hair career. Call it vanity or the folly of youth, but I was always clean shaven.
But a funny thing happens the older we get. Vanity can no longer afford the front row seats, so it shows itself to the back. Much like Forrest Gump, who famously decided to stop running, I just decided to stop shaving. Frankly, I really can’t stand the practice anyway, so that aversion coupled with a growing desire for a change led to my new look as a bearded man.
With my wife’s approval, of course.
The thing about growing a beard, I accepted early, is it’s a labor of love that takes time and patience. In the beginning, it can be patchy, oddly colored, itchy, various lengths, and, frankly, pretty unattractive. In the middle, it can be patchy, oddly colored, itchy, various lengths, and, frankly, pretty unattractive. In the end, well, you get the idea.
The other thing about the beard is its impermanence. All the work we put into growing and grooming can be undone in a few minutes with the help of a powerful razor. Moreover, what is undone leaves in its wake a completely different face with completely different maintenance and care needs.
Think, leaders, about how much time and effort you put into the maintenance and care of your staff. Think about the conscious decisions you make, both daily and long term, to shape your culture, to notice when something is out of place, to leave well enough alone, to recognize when you need to make a change.
Then think about how easily your culture can be altered, temporarily or permanently, with the same power and intensity of an electric razor. Whether that razor’s blades are sharpened by ego, petulance, pride, or insecurity, they cut quickly and mercilessly.
Changing the face of your staff.
Causing you to start all over again.