Again, thanks to all for submitting ideas for cartoons. The best will be “cartoonized” by me, “stylized” by my artistic partner, John Jonson and featured periodically in this blog.
A reader asked whether my search for organizational absurdities was really a case of SCS (severe cynicism syndrome.) Great question.
In my early years, I clearly had a case of near-terminal cynicism on every subject—unless it was my idea. I’m guessing that it was my insecurity, badly disguised as the expert on every subject, i.e., that won’t work, we tried that once.
But now? Of course, such a question makes me stop and think. Am I still super cynical? Is it cynicism to feel concern when a company vehemently promote its values and code of ethics while prominently violating one or all at the same time? Or, is it just an observation of a gigantic contradiction—the oxymoronic words and deeds so common in the corporate world?
I don’t think so, but the truth is, it doesn’t matter. Serious contradictions abound in organizations and getting more moronic by the minute. My goal here is to use humor to highlight them and maybe, in the process, encourage those in charge to rethink whether they are leading by example or MISleading by obvious—and often insulting–contradictions.
How about the boss who claims that his/her managers all feel totally free to give feedback?
Know how I came up with this one? The boss in the cartoon is me! I was so excited about a new concept that I couldn’t wait to share it with my team. After I presented it, starting with, “I woke up with a brilliant idea…,” one of my more effective and courageous team members said to me later: “You realize, don’t you, that it’s very hard for anyone to criticize when you’ve already labeled the idea as ‘brilliant’?”
Hadn’t dawned on me. But the minute she said it, I realized that what I thought was my enthusiasm was a complete DISincentive to respond truthfully—and I thanked her for her helpful feedback.
Of course, I also got the picture when my team told me what a brilliant idea it was, but too late—that day, anyway. In the future, I worked very hard to keep all of my words and actions open to candid criticism—and I got it. By incorporating those suggestions, the idea truly did become brilliant. Equally important, when the team’s input was incorporated, it belonged to them. Once they owned it, they made sure it happened.