Yes were finally back with a creative book club edition. This month we’ve been reading “Humour, Seriously: Why Humour is a Secret Weapon in Business and Life” by Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas. Published by Random House in 2020.
These two Stanford Business School professors (and improv actors) take us through why we should be using more humour at work and how to get started. If you think that requires being a comedy genius you’d be wrong. How about creating more opportunities for levity, finding moments of delight and bringing a bit more joy to the workplace (and life)?
In this episode, Katie highlights the parts of the book she found most interesting and shares some of her own views on humour and leadership. It’s a great book if your looking to lead in a more connected, authentic and effective way, and also have some fun with your teams, after all we are people not just resources.
Find our website at www.stepupcreate.com Follow us on Instagram @step_up_create Follow us on Facebook @stepupcreate
Follow Katie’s art at www.katieannicecarr.com an on Instagram at @katieannice
Original music written and performed by Jonathan D. Mellor licensed to Step Up Create S.L.
Welcome to this week’s podcast and today we are back with a creative book club edition. I know it’s been a while I managed to escape during the last one just before Christmas because it was actually quite an intense book and I really wasn’t in the mood for dealing with that. What I have been in the mood for dealing with has been this month’s book, which is called humour seriously. Why humour is a secret weapon in business and life and that’s by genitori and Naomi back donors, and they are professors at Stanford University in the business school and they’re funny as well. Well, they seem to be funny from the book. They’ve done a lot of improvisation work as well as their Stanford work. So Jennifer is a behavioural scientists and chaired professor at Stanford. And Naomi is an executive coach who works with leaders and celebrities. And they basically met when Jennifer asked Naomi to be a guest in her lecture. And this was just a lecture on the power of story about data and stories. And she noticed that the students were laughing their heads off about new chemical brain systems and factor analysis, and that there had to be something there about this connection that they were having with this professor. So they ended up working together and improvising together and eventually building this book together. Not before they created a course, which was actually incorporated into the Stanford MBA programme. So that sounds pretty cool. Called Cuba serious business where they basically take students through why humour is important in business, and why it’s a really important leadership tool. So essentially, that’s what the book is all about. And what I really like about this book is that it is trying to lead by example. Now it’s difficult, I think, to write a serious book with a lot of information and not have science and a lot of stories about real business, while also having a sense of humour. So what you find is there are lots of footnotes throughout the book, but they’re not your usual boring footnotes for references. They’re funny and enjoyable to read. So that’s the first thing that was leading by example, in the whole book. I found out about this book when I was doing a little bit of research. What are YouTube videos about play? This came up as a reference in another book, which I can’t even remember which one it was, which is good, but it’s a bit late now so we can find it. And so I ordered it and put it on my reading list for the podcast. So here we are, a little bit later than I expected to be reading it, but actually very, very welcoming at this time, as you will have heard from previous podcast and potentially the videos. I have had a bit of a tough time recently with my brother’s death. But I hope that I haven’t lost my sense of humour, and I hope the sense of humour does come across in the podcast, maybe not so much on the videos five minutes long, so it’s a little bit tougher to put that in. Because it’s something that’s really important for me, and it’s something that’s really important to me at work as well. Certainly when I’m giving classes and try to include humour and when I’m working in a team I do as well. And in fact, one of the great things about working with vision Daffy day has been that it has just been such a fun time that we’ve had between us was doing something really serious and getting it done really efficiently to the highest quality possible. But we’ve just had so much fun doing it that so much fun afterwards in the evenings in Switzerland when we were able to kind of relax a little bit and chat over dinner. And actually one of the things that Davide said to me, and I don’t think it was all my doing, by the way, I think it’s the combination of the three of us. He said, Oh, it’s so lovely having you on the team you bring so much joy. And I think that has been one of the best compliments that anyone has ever paid me. And I would love to think that I can bring joy. So I’ve gone off on a bit of a tangent there, which those of you that have listened to my creative book club things before we’ll know that this is part of a deal. I’m not trying to do a full book review here. I’m kind of doing it a little bit like a word association. So I tell you a little bit about what’s in the book. And then I also tell you a bit about what that’s made me think about. So this book is a really complete guide to
humour at work, work being in general, but specifically thinking about management and leadership roles,
rather than when you’re on a production line or something like that. And it looks first of all about what holds us back about humour. So when we say you need to be more humorous at work, or we should all try and be a bit lighter in our approach. Sometimes we get a real big kick back on that. And that’s to do with several different things. First of all, we tend to think that we need to be professional at work, and that that’s the main thing and of course we need to get our job done and we need to be professional in the sense of being as efficient as possible at what we do. But if we do that we’re missing out on the human side. There’s a quote in the book that says we don’t need more professionalism in our workplaces. Instead, we need more of ourselves and more human connection. And it’s interesting actually, because work is obviously quite often thought of as very, very serious. And if you look at a survey that was done by Gallup on a massive number of people, I think 1.4 million respondents in this in 166 countries. It basically shows that human plummets from about the age 23 once everyone’s at work, and it just seems to get worse and worse. This is This is done by measuring the frequency at which we laugh or smile every day. And obviously when you’re younger then it’s much higher and then it just really tails off, which is pretty sad thing, all things told. So, one of the big myths that they talked about in the book is this serious business myth that humour has no place amid serious work. And, and yet when we ask what characteristics inspire trust in a leader at the top of the list, knowing the obstacles they overcame speaks like a regular person, aspirational but flawed. So humour is a really powerful leadership strategy to humanise oneself in front of employees to break down barriers to balance the authority with approachability. And essentially what they end up saying is that a culture that balances work with leveraging play can actually improve team performance. Even President Eisenhower and this is cited in the book said a sense of humour is a part of leadership of getting along with people and getting things done. So that’s the first myth that we don’t actually need to be serious the whole time in order to get serious business done. And any of you that have worked in a team to really push through something last minute and a team that’s been able to work together and have a love while doing that will know that this is the case. That actually things work better if you’re able to sort of have some fun alongside it. And you also feel more like staying and finishing the job and not just trying to do it as quickly as possible. One of the other things that seems to hold people back is the myth of failure as they call it here. This is the idea that humour will fail or may fail that he wrote and then will be sort of ostracised or something like that. And there’s been some research done at Harvard and Wharton on how humour impacts the perceptions of status, competence and confidence and especially the impact of failed humour on each. So basically, this was done using a job interview setup, where candidates were asked Where do you see yourself in five years typical question, and they would either give a comedy response or not so the candidates were the researchers and the people interviewing or receiving these worthy test subjects. And what they found was that the most important determinant of whether the interview was viewed positively or negatively, was whether the response was considered appropriate or not, whether you are more funny, or whether you have the gumption to tell the joke, or whether the joke is appropriate to the context. So generally, it’s quite difficult for humour to fail if you’re being careful and they come back to this at the end of the book, talking about the grey areas talking about what not to make jokes about how close to something you need to be in order to make those jokes. There’s something to do with being appropriate and trying to be as careful as possible given the situation or they call it not being an asshole. And there’s also something about not being worried about loss of status. The next myth they talk about is the being funny myth. And this is the idea that in order to use humour and levity in the workplace, you have to be funny. What they found was that just the fact of signalling a sense of humour is enough to make a big difference. So managers with a sense of humour, regardless of whether they were Sunny, were rated 23% more respected and 25% more pleasant to work with 17% friendlier, so the easiest way to have more humour at work isn’t to try and be funny, but to look for moments to laugh. That’s what Dick castellers the former Twitter CEO said that it’s all about finding those moments to laugh, not trying to be funny itself. And then the fourth one is a little bit connected. Which is the born with it myth. The idea that you can’t you can’t learn humour. It’s something that you either have it or you don’t have it. And we can challenge that by adopting a growth mindset the same way the same way that we adopt a growth mindset for creativity. They talk about humour styles. Now, this is kind of typical business school thing where you come across a matrix. Lovely. And what they’ve put on the matrix is on the horizontal axis, they’ve got affiliative, too. Aggressive, and then on the vertical axis circle to expressive. What we understand for those is that affiliative is someone who likes sort of wholesome, uplifting humour, aggressive would be humour that is no holds barred, maybe even a little bit dark, subtle humour will be understated, premeditated, full of nuance, whereas expresses, whereas expressive is spirited, spontaneous spotlights.
So you can map this out. And essentially, when you map those out, you get four different types of humour, which would be magnet standard, sweetheart and sniper, this is taking it to the next level and you can actually go online if you go to www dot humour seriously.com You will find a questionnaire that you can do and it will just tell you where you’ve cut out on this matrix, but you can pretty much map it out anyway. Like any other matrix.
Oh my god. 46% Stand up style. For me. That’s not a particularly big surprise. So I was definitely putting myself more towards the expressive side. And I guess not really aggressive, but definitely over the line towards the middle there. That just reminds me that maybe I should do a course on stand up not to become a stand up but just to actually hone my skills a little bit more. Anyway, one thing that’s important that they say in this is that remember that the bar for human business is extremely low. The goal is not to elicit Walker’s rolling on the floor laughter It’s simply to create a moment of connection. Often All it takes is a mindset of levity. To transform a relationship or a moment. I really liked this idea that it’s not about trying to be funny. It’s not about making yourself the centre of attention or trying to be cool or whatever. It’s just about injecting a little bit of levity into the situation. This is something that I’ve really come to appreciate in all of the difficult situations I’ve been through more on the personal side, probably than the business side. But just when you’re dealing with death, and you’re dealing with disease, and you’re dealing with stuff that you can’t change, and you can’t really make any difference to it’s amazing to be able to still have a laugh, and still move on with things. And in the death of both of my brothers, I remember moments of being able to have a laugh, even them when they’re in their last few weeks. of life. Being able to see something that really changes the moment my brother Marcus, in the end, he couldn’t eat or drink. And so he had to inject whatever he was eating, drinking straight into his stomach. He found that if you have some of those pre mixed drinks, like a gin and tonic or whiskey and coke or whatever, but comes in a can. He could inject that in and he’d actually get the taste of it because of the bubbles. And so he instigated a bar opening time. And so just remember us having quite a serious conversation and everyone being quite depressed, and him just coming out with and again, he didn’t speak at the time, so we had to like write it down. Really big is the bar open. That doesn’t sound very funny at the moment and we’ll come back to that when we’re talking a little bit more about what makes something funny. At the time, it was hilarious because it was a complete contrast with what we were dealing with. So this connects back to the idea that you don’t have to be a comedy genius, in order to inject this levity into a situation and there’s a really nice idea here that there’s a difference between levity, humour and comedy, and it’s a little bit between movement, exercise and sport, and levity is a mindset. It’s an inherent state of receptiveness to joy and also the act of seeking of that joy, whereas humorous, more intentional, it’s channelling levity, like exercise channels movement towards a specific goal. And comedy is the practice of humour, like a kind of structured discipline, something that you will get better at because you’ll practice the different ways in which it might work. And this would be more akin to sport. So all we’re doing here is looking for reasons to be delighted than trying to make this a habit in our teams. That sounds a whole lot easier than trying to be funny, right? In Chapter Two they start looking at your brain on humour. So in case you weren’t already convinced that this is a good thing, let’s look at what actually happens in your brain when you have humour and when you have a laugh, and essentially it can increase perception of status quick in the part of meaningful connection, or not creativity and innovation boosts resilience, there’s a whole load of things. And what the authors do is for each of them, they go through and give you some nice information on some specific experiments that have been done. For example, if we look at status, it’s a study by nats bitterly Morris Schweitzer and Alison wood, and the participants were recruited to write and present testimonials for visit Switzerland, which was a fictional travel company. The first two were research assistants and some of the testimonials were serious and others were funny. And the funny ones weren’t that funny. So the example that they give is, the mountains were good for skiing and hiking, and the flag was big plus, people, participants racked presenters on a handful of qualities and those presenting the humorous testimonials were perceived as 5% more competent 11% more confident and 37% higher in status. So aside from status, it can also help you to appear more intelligent help you to achieve your goals easily or particularly in negotiation, and also help you to get remembered. In this part. The authors are using quite a few nice examples, little stories, but basically from research so the research around this is actually quite amusing in itself. That involves things like drawing funny animal depictions or offering to sell painting with a free pet frog is kind of colourful, in terms of helping us to be remembered the author’s switch to rely on research from hormones, and to more remember that parently happens
because when we laugh, several different segments, one of which is which is near transmits, allows us to get deep enough attention and they just say, well, just think about what you remember from television show, particularly political satire or something like that compared with how much you remember from the news. I definitely find that that I might remember more from watching you. I got news for you. That actually continuing with the idea of four minutes to talk about oxytocin, which is also generated in laughter and that’s the love trust hormone that helps to build bridges and to accelerate the trust between people since we laugh together, we’re more able to build something together, and also that there’s a sense of camaraderie that goes beyond that first laughing. Nurse a nice examples here, sort of stories of the White House when George W. Bush was there and saw the games that they played between them was doing some pretty serious stuff, and nothing kind of scary just mostly about wearing beige socks. Obviously, creativity is a big thing that is increased by humans. And here they will in here here, son, he was the head of Apple’s Creative Design Studio. And one of the quotes that stands out for me from him is fear is the biggest killer of creativity. Humour is the most effective tool I’ve found for insulating cultures from fear. So this guy basically took it upon himself to ensure that any kind of meeting of all of the people in the company was around kind of large element of humour, like he would create videos where he was running away from people and they have different people in the company dressed up as the Blue Man Group, live ducks, all sorts of things that were designed to make the people in the audience laugh together. So he comes up on a number of occasions throughout the book, and tells us more about how important creating that culture of levity has been for his time at our design studio. Also, we took a mental agility candle and the box is stuck as candle problem. You might have come across this before. All you have to do is to figure out a way to be held without tape. And this problem was extended by psychologist Alice. Bass. Basically the idea of this is to assess functional fixedness overcome it. And this is basically a cognitive bias that makes it hard for people to see how an object can be used in a different way. In this case, the object that gets used in a different way is the box for the pin. So the pins come in a box and the solution to it is to put the candle in the box Use appears to be in the box. The box supports the candle essentially this is a standard psychological experiments, which has been used for lots of different things. And in this case, one set of participants watched a funny video before having to solve this problem. And one set of participants watched a neutral video and twice as many people watched the funny videos. So the problem what is suggesting is that a connection with humour allows you to overcome this cognitive bias a little bit better, and therefore have more mental agility, which connects with the idea of thinking outside of the box. And there’s another experiment that they cite here, which is basically quite weird because essentially, the participants were inside an MRI machine and they’re asked to come up with captions for New Yorker cartoon, either funny or serious. And what you could see is that when they’re trying to come up with the funny captions, the error of the brain that is directly associated with creativity was all lit up. So we’re suggesting that there’s a connection there between comedy to creativity. And let’s see what it’s all about in this section about the brain on humour is psychological safety. And this is interesting psychological safety is something that Amy Edmondson has done a lot of work on, and it’s the belief that we won’t be punished or ridiculed. When do we make a mistake? That makes us more open minded, resilient, motivated persistence, then the link between humour and psychological safety noise basically in laughter, even the anticipation
of laughter has been shown to reduce cortisol levels which is stressful. And epinephrine levels which is the fight or flight by 39 and 70%, respectively. A triangle is this idea of resilience, which I think that is connected with this idea of stress as well. And also with what I was talking about earlier about getting over difficult situations. Here. The author cites the example of a West Point Military Academy after 911. They were obviously a bit stressed out, the whole world is looking like they’re on the verge of war, and that they’re going to be the ones that are going to go out to it. And so one of the guys there created a satirical newsletter. And it was technically not possible to do this. But essentially, the bosses turned a blind eye to it because they’d saw how good it was for morale. It was getting people to laugh at some of the very things that were causing them so much stress and helping them to cope with this new, pretty harrowing reality that they were dealing with. So we’ve got a whole lot of reasons why humour is a good thing to have in your life. The next chapter looks at what it is to be funny what makes something funny, and really the basic thing that they say and if you think about this, you’ll know it’s true, is that it’s the truth. That is funny. So, all humour starts with the truth. And essentially we start them by observing and being more present, just noticing more. And if you’re open to noticing more, other than the fact that this is actually a really good exercise to do anyway, for mental health. You’ll also notice some things that might be a little bit absurd in reality, and they might be things that you could pick up on if you wanted to elicit some laughs They also look at individually what makes people laugh. What are some of the techniques that comedians use in order to make people laugh? And they say things like exaggeration specifics. analogies, series of three incongruity strong emotions and delight, using some examples of some jokes. For example, in terms of specifics, this is the example of a Jimmy Fallon joke. British researchers are warning that 1/5 of the world’s plant species are at risk. Of his extension. Even worse, kale is expected to survive. So what they say is that making a joke about kale is funny than making it about vegetables more generic. This connects with what we talked about the storytelling as well using specifics makes things more funny. more pleasurable to hear. Otherwise, anyone could be telling the story. It might be true, it might not be true. Specifics really help it to work better, and it helps the jokes to work better as well. Terms of analogies, as a nice Turk is a Jim Gaffigan joke. Big Families like waterbed storms they used to be everywhere now they’re just collisions. So here’s an analogy that works but it’s also weird in itself makes it quite funny. To lie on the floor. with laughter. They are just well observed things. strong emotions and heightening can really help as well. So you just exaggerate what might happen. You know, this one here. I hate parties. Larry David tweeted, then to have to go to after party are you kidding me? So, but it won’t go into too much detail yet makes funny funny. I’ll leave you to read the book. This was quite nice. And it’s it’s interesting to see it dissected like that. I knew some of them I haven’t sort of separated them and written them down would be probably the better way of thinking about it. The next thing they talk about his writing, you’re funny to work. So this is simple strategies to help you to use your humour more. And the first thing I mentioned is communication in general, and especially online communication is in many applications are only doing half the job of conveying the information and failing to create a human connection.
That’s what we’re trying to do with human more than anything else. We’re trying to create this human connection. That’s one of the things that I find really interesting and one of the reasons why I wanted to talk about this book is that because it’s all to do with humanising business, and that’s essentially what I’m really interested in with using the arts or using leadership tools, it’s all about trying to make business more human. And if we can laugh together, it can be more human. They talk a lot about the example of Deloitte to developed this system. of identifying the bullshit in emails and going through and taking out that jargon. So what they did was very clever. They created a contest to identify jargon and create this dictionary of jargon of the most offensive buzzwords leverage bandwidth, touch base, all of these kinds of things. And what the programme did was scan the communication and give all index like how jargon ated your email is, and then suggestions on how to cut that as well as a funny comment on you know, your level of bullshit in your email. And it went totally viral. They got it downloaded about 400,000 times according to the book all over the world. And that was externally outside to inside. Obviously, it was being used as well, just as a way of trying to make the company more human trying to get people to communicate in a way that they actually understood each other rather than we’re trying to hide behind this jargon. So that would be the first thing that they mentioned cutting the jargon and we always go on about that in my communication workshops in the workshops that I’ve done with Vishal and Davide, we’re always talking about get rid of the buzzwords Oh, they’re so annoying. And we all use them a little bit but just taking some moments to go through and go okay, is that buzz word? Just get rid of that. The author is also talking about using humour in emails and how that can be used as a way to connect. We often use emails as a sort of very straightforward Heger usually information, nothing particular that we can use to connect with someone. But you can use different techniques in order to connect and that might be referring back to something that you know about that client, a little joke or something. It might be adding a lighter PS to the message, even simply naming something that’s true for you, which they say oh, yes, it’s called in San Francisco. And that might give the other person just something to work with. The authors also speak about adding a little bit of levity to your bio your CV and you have to be very careful with this. The example that they give is a guy who’s got a pretty amazing bio and then right at the end he ends saying that his podcast officially described by my wife and two daughters as utterly devoid of substance. So this here is signalling, sweetie that he’s humble and the resource so confidence, it gives the hiring manager some things to talk about. So we need to be very careful with self depreciation probably already know this, that if we’re trying to sell ourselves and put ourselves forward for a job, we need to make sure that we’re not self depreciating on things that are really important for the job. In his case, having this slightly obscure podcast is just something extra that he does not something that’s the main part of the job. They talk about using humour to acknowledge mistakes or defuse tensions. One woman was called out by a client for being very long winded, and she basically closed the follow up, email, very clear, concise follow up email, say in the future brevity, rather than sincerely. And that forged a connection with the client. Just making something that’s a little bit different. It’s really connected with a shared experience that you’ve already had. Again, not rolling on the snow laughing. That lead leading with humour. So it’s all very well to have humour when you’re part of a team but how does that work when you’re an actual leader, and you want people to respect you and to do what you want them to do in order to get the job done or the objective met? And what they highlight, first of all, is that it’s really powerful strategy, a number of itself and they then highlight again that today’s employees, the leaders who are less mysteriously brilliant, and more authentic and reliable,
needs to be understood and not revered. Again, it’s hard to trust a company or a person that takes itself too seriously. If leaders are able to laugh at themselves a little bit, then that endears them to teams and allows them to get closer to those teams and industry achieve what they need to achieve. So one of the quotes noted in the book is my leadership expert, Dan built Asher and she says laughter serves leaders not in spite of it, but because of the vulnerability to exposes is the straight path from there to trusting a team. So it’s all about acknowledging mistakes and being able to laugh at oneself. And being able to live our lives through a comic lens can have an impact on our psychology as well. And they said this in the book that there’s emerging research from Stanford, suggesting that people who interpret stories from their lives, both positive and negative as comedies as opposed to tragedies and dramas report feeling less stressed, more energetic, challenged and fulfilled. So this would connect with the idea of the leader feeling comfortable with themselves in order to in order to let that filter down into their teams. There’s an interesting thing about hierarchy. And just really the bottom line on this is that the higher you are in the organisation, the more self depreciating your human needs to be. And the more willing you need to be to be the butt of the joke. The idea is that you’re always pitching the humour upwards. So if you’re laughing at someone else’s expense that needs to be someone who is more senior than you, and when you’re the leader of the whole organisation, there isn’t anyone else who’s more senior than you. So therefore, you need to be laughing at yourself. And we should all be laughing at ourselves a little bit along the way. That’s how we show that vulnerability as well. Again, being very careful with this self depreciating idea, because it can make us not quite look as good as we wanted to where we need to the second to last chapter talks about creating culture of levity, and this is kind of similar to some of the stuff we talked about in Messy about creating a culture for creativity. It’s how you will encourage teams to thrive, transform your own culture, but in small, meaningful ways. One of the things that they say is the importance of leading by example, so they’re the boss, even if they are not comedy genius, being the one that is opening themselves up for humour that’s supporting it. And that is allowing for these moments of humour to solidify relationships, making it easier for people to work together in hard times, which is something that Ed Catmull who’s president of Pixar is cited for saying in the book as well. So you need to set the tone from the top being funny yourself or encouraging others to love playing alone. This idea of yes, that we’ve talked about before that comes from improv. Yes. And we agree with the premise to have something new to it. Being one of those kind of those co creative people is also there. To establish this culture. They talk about three different categories of people that you might want to get them in your organisation. Anyone who’s done any change management, like I have, know that this typical thing and change management, which is about identifying different groups of people within your organisation in order to help you to put that change through. So essentially, this is the same kind of thing but the categories are slightly different. So your categories here instigators culture carriers, and hidden gems, and culture carriers are those natural leaders who are the rising stars, top of the organisation, but also he was a natural strength, hidden gems of probably lower down in the organisation. They diligently work but they provide unexpected opportunities of levity, and instigators are what they call rabble rousers Rule Breakers who do things differently? And what capital suggests is that you identify who these people are within your organisation and then you give them the tools or the space in order to express that levity in that humour, because that will end up getting more people involved. The other thing that they talked about, which I think is really interesting is about curating moments of levity, so institutionalising it and one of the examples of this is the x which is something that comes from Google X. And the idea here is to honour those ideas and projects which have died, which have had to be killed off because whatever reason they didn’t work, they weren’t gonna make enough money or whatever the other reasons are for killing off the projects, and essentially learn from those ideas and create the space. So what people do there is they create an altar to the idea to the work that they’ve done with this and they read a eulogy to that work. And if it sounds silly, think about what we always say about learning from your mistakes and not being afraid to make mistakes, and how important it might be to just sit down and write this eulogy of what I’ve learned from this and why it’s important. And that doesn’t necessarily sound like it’s very funny, but apparently, this is something that people have a lot of fun with. And it’s something that they spend some time every year doing in order to memorialise all of these different projects that haven’t made it out. The authors also speak about celebrating peaks and ends, which is that people over time remember the most emotional peaks and endings to experiences so adding humour to them can positively colour colleague’s recollections. What they suggest is that when you write your leaving email and you say, oh, you know, today’s my last day in the company and it’s been a great learning experience and blah, blah blah. It’s nice to have some kind of humour in that, which helps people to remember you, but also gives it a little bit of a lighter, different tone. And just this idea of turning, there’s another idea as well of turning accidents into folklore. And here it’s kind of creating this tradition out of moments of delight, which were just organic moments as an example afford. An engineer that once remarked that some problems are harder than putting socks on a chicken. And everyone being amused by the metaphor, started presenting new hires and visited with weird chicken themed socks, which parody is still in case today.
So it’s kind of a tradition it’s, it’s a bit weird. It’s a it’s an organic thing that is part of the story of the company. The final chapter in this book is all about navigating the grey areas of humour. This is the differences in humour and appropriateness. What happens when humour sales and what to do if you accidentally cross a nine plus the author’s ad. Don’t be an asshole. So, essentially here it’s a reminder that humour is a little bit more of a daring route to take the normal because you need to be very careful about being appropriate, inappropriate and sensitive. They give some pretty good guidelines on telling jokes, and if your job crosses the line, how you might need to remedy that whenever essentially it’s a three step process. Of recognise, diagnose, make it right. I guess that kind of explains itself recognise that you’ve done it go into Okay, right. I’m gonna recognise that right now that really didn’t work. diagnose why did it fail? What did you get wrong? Was it the appropriateness was it that you’re of a higher status and you’re laughing at someone who is of a lower status, in this case, the mistakes in the company, what was going on? Name it to them, and then make it right, as an example of making it right of a leader who decided to say some nice things about colleagues by spraying it on the sidewalk of their houses. And this was obviously quite a funny, quirky thing to do, but not for those employees who lived in rental apartments. And they were quite worried about it. And essentially her making it right involved getting some people to go out and clean the streets that same day, and making sure that everything was back to normal as well as obviously apologising. So this is pretty much the way that the book is set out. There’s one last final chapter. It’s a very short one, so they call it 7.5. And it just links this back to the fact that it’s not just about business. Humour isn’t important just for business is important in life as well. And they connect this to the biggest Regrets of the Dying they come out as lacking boldness, authenticity, presence, joy, and love. And according to the authors, all of those can be found by having a sense of humour, and by trying to get more levity in your life. So this is an interesting book. It goes into quite a lot of detail. It’s a relatively library despite all the research is funny. It has a lot of jokes in it. Some of the jokes are not like, oh, that serve funny. They’re just giving it a go. And I like that about it. I like the idea that humour is important in business is something that I found is important in many things. But it is important in business even though we think it might not be an in leadership, it’s definitely something that can quick circuit to a deeper connection with employees. So I would recommend that you read the book, and if you don’t read the book, I’d recommend that you just try and get a little bit more levity and humour into your life at work and see what happens because the chances are, you’re not going to lose your job by just being a little bit more joyful every day. Thanks for listening. See you next week.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
We publish every week on Tuesdays at 9 am CET.