A friend of mine was describing the experience of her son who was an intern to one of the senior people in government. It was a great experience for the person and he was included in many meetings and activities that regular employees would never get a chance to experience. In addition he sat at his desk working while listening to music on his earphones to cover all the distraction around him. Apparently this was tolerated for him but would not have been tolerated by other employees.
I have been mulling this over and looking for the lesson. The expression that comes to mind is that many people feel they live on a mushroom farm. "They keep us in the dark and feed us s*#t." I have always wondered if that is really one of those cultural things. Maybe somebody tried get off the farm and was giving a whack like the whack a mole game.
Another counter example was a friend of mine who was an executive director of a social service agency who said he always encouraged people who asked the difficult questions as opposed to shutting them down. In many organizations many of the sacred cows discourage innovative thinking.
Another important idea is for the organizational leadership should encourage open communication up and down the organization. Leadership by example really can overcome many cultural taboos. If we all in the organization working towards the same goal, more communication can only help not hinder.
Innovative ideas can really create rapid results and can come from anywhere in the organization.