Ignoring Corporate Jestership Can Make You the April Fool

Share Article

While April 1st may be set aside for pranks and tomfoolery in your company, the cruelest joke may be the one that already exists year round. Today, the average person in an organization is aware of less than half of the thinking and concerns held by the rest of its members. Corporate Jesters have learned and adopted a perspective and set of behaviors to illuminate and address those hidden truths.

While April 1st may be set aside for pranks and tomfoolery in your company, the cruelest joke may be the one that already exists year round. The average person in an organization today is aware of less than half of the thinking and concerns held by the rest of its members. This gap in knowledge can include information about how one is perceived, truth about customer issues, insight into organizational health or the true status of staff morale. The list goes on and on.

In fact, the phrase "Iceberg of Ignorance" has been commonly used to give a visual metaphor for the concept that individuals are only aware of a small chunk of the truth that actually exists around them. The iceberg concept implies that in any given organization the group of people that deal most closely with any particular issue will likely be aware of 100% of the aspects of that issue, but as one moves up towards the top layers of management, the awareness level decreases sharply (about 75% of the aspects identified by supervisors and about 10% identified by general managers). At the very top, at the leadership level, the awareness rate can drop to only 5%!

Far too often, in response, people surround themselves with assistants, committees and advisers charged with providing them with truth. However, in the competitive environment often found in organizations today, those groups become filled with "yes men" (and "yes women") who end up mirroring other's thoughts and perceptions, fearful of disagreeing and assuming that blindly supporting what they think is the "group perspective" is the best way to keep their jobs. This lack of organizational truth at all levels in an organization creates an environment in which people consistently make decisions and take actions that miss the mark. No matter how highly advanced their leadership skills or decision making abilities, if they lack the full picture, the truth, their decisions and actions will always be flawed.

Truly a foolish situation for your organization.

David Riveness, in his insightful and entertaining business leadership book, The Secret Life of the Corporate Jester, addresses this dilemma by revealing how to adopt and apply a "jester's perspective" in order to illuminate and address organizational truth. True Jestership, Riveness explains, is not about wearing colorful costumes and entertaining others with jokes, but is, instead, a unique perspective into organizational diagnosis and truth telling. Historically, in the royal courts of old, jesters, who had no political aspirations and were given wide leeway in what they were allowed to say, spoke truth when others couldn't or wouldn't. In fact, in many cases, Jesters slowly transformed into highly valued advisors as they were recognized for their ability to contribute information unavailable from any other source.

Modern corporate jesters have learned to leverage these perspective and behaviors. They uncover and address blind spots in thinking and action in their own organizations, creating a opportunity for enhanced success at all levels. Jestership can be understood and adopted by anyone, regardless of their role or position, to bring about remarkable positive change within any organization's culture, leadership and results.

This April, make sure the foolishness in your organization is limited to 24 hrs by exploring how to create and encourage Jestership.

(Note: This story can be expanded or customized to fit your theme and spacing issues. Please contact us for a customized version based on your deadline, spin and wordcount needs)

###

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

MELISSA DRAGICH
Visit website