Business & Management Lessons from Humour

Businesses (and people) over time develop habits and patterns of working. Sometimes these lead to success. However often they stop management from seeing reality – especially when the business environment changes. Competitive intelligence can identify these business blindspots – both in the company itself, and in its competitors. Taking advantage of competitor blindspots is a major way that a company can beat its competitors, so it is crucial to understand one’s own blindspots so as to protect oneself from possible attack.

Business problems can be shown through humour. Humour allows businesses to take a step back and see a problem applied to a situation that appears different to their own. One can also sometimes see similar behaviour in one’s own organisation – thus highlighting a possible blindspot. Humour is just one technique for showing blindspots. Others include the use of drama workshops and story-telling, or war-gaming where the business environment is modelled and management try and take an external look at their and their competitor situations.

The following “stories” and office “theories” are taken from our humour database – with a random selection shown. Refresh the page for further examples.

Famous People - Next Job Interviews

Julius Caesar - My last job involved a lot of office politics and back stabbing. I'd like to get away from all that.
Jesse James - I can list among my experience and skills:
  extensive travel
  logistical organization
  intimate understanding of firearms
  a knowledge of security measures at numerous banks.
Lucretia Borgia - My greatest accomplishment? After I took over the department, our competition just seemed to drop out of sight one by one.
Pandora - I can bring a lot to your company. I like discovering new things.
Genghis Khan - My primary talent is downsizing. On my last job, I downsized my staff, my organization, and the populations of several countries.
Macbeth - Would I go after my boss's job? Do I look like the kind of guy who would knock off his boss for a promotion?
Lady Godiva - What do mean this isn't business casual?
Elvis - My last boss and I... say, are you going to eat those fries?

Just because the Resume / CV looks good does not mean it wasn't embellished. And even if the interview went well, the candidate could have lied. Rather than take the risk, take up the references!

Rules of Work

Messy Desks
Senior management can get away with clean desks. For anybody else it looks as if you are not working hard enough. Build huge piles of documents around your workspace. To the casual observer, last year's work looks the same as today's work. It's the volume that counts. So pile the papers high and spread them wide.
Even better, put lots of books on the floor to make it look like you are working on something major. Thick computer manuals are one possibility.
If you know somebody is going to visit your desk, bury the document you need halfway down an existing stack and rummage through it with purpose when he/she arrives.

Based on ideas from BBC Television's The Office.

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