The Leader Feeling Blue and The Janitor (deleted scene)

“Let’s draw the curtain!”

« It takes a long while for a director to cease thinking in terms of the result he desires and instead concentrate on discovering the source of energy in the actor from which true impulses arise. » — Peter Brook, theater director, 2017

Deleted scene

Stage directions*: At the office, in the main boardroom, at night. Center stage, in the dim light, a large wooden table, and too many chairs. THE JANITOR, wearing an old boilersuit, is brooming the floor in silence. Enter THE LEADER FEELING BLUE, he seems concerned, lost in thought.

* Instructions as guidelines to help shape the performance, but ultimately, the final say rests with the actors and director.

THE LEADER FEELING BLUE (almost whispering): We have tried everything! We have involved all our project managers and the communication teams, we have spoken to renowned ex-McKinsey consultants, and even hired a certified master executive behavioral coach! What more can we do? I am so tired of elegant people. Everyone looks old. I guess I fit in.

(noticing THE JANITOR, and raising his voice)

How do we bring real change?

THE OFF-STAGE VOICE: Some leaders have now the desire to create a future-fit culture of innovation and agility, in which individuals are fully appreciative of the different strengths and perspectives each of them can contribute with, they want a world that embraces diversity and inclusion. And they want it now.

THE LEADER FEELING BLUE: What can we do to have it?!

THE JANITOR (without interrupting his activity, in a soft voice): You may have to let go the belief of everyone sharing the same values.

GEOFF, THE FIRST NARRATOR ON STAGE: In an increasingly unpredictable world, you won’t foster real diversity essential for innovation until you enable and encourage individuals to operate from their own innate, intrinsically motivating personal values. The collective capacity to create value will depend on sense making, decision making and action taking being ever more tightly coupled, rapidly and repeatedly iterated, deeply embedded and widely distributed throughout the organization. Imagination will have to be triggered, to envision how the interactions would be if there were innovative collaboration in the organization. And yes, this may require some bold actions in the area of change management.

THE JANITOR: Have you considered to change management?

GIANPIERO, THE SECOND NARRATOR ON STAGE: Will THE LEADER FEELING BLUE be willing and able to become a container of emotions and a facilitator of political debate, welcoming reflective capacity and democratic participation?

THE LEADER FEELING BLUE (thinking aloud): All of this, is it really worth it?…


Marlow, G. (February 6th, 2022). The toxic myth of ‘culture as shared values’. Retrieved from:

Petriglieri, G., Petriglieri, J. L. (2020). The return of the oppressed: A systems psychodynamic approach to organization studies. The Academy of Management Annals, 14(1), 411–449.

Read also The Psychodynamic Poets in the Corporate World:




Exploring beneath the surface of leadership. Organizational Psychologist, MSc, DESS Geneva University, EMCCC INSEAD

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Frédéric Bagutti

Frédéric Bagutti

Exploring beneath the surface of leadership. Organizational Psychologist, MSc, DESS Geneva University, EMCCC INSEAD

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