President Trump: Please, Get Creative and Send in the Clowns!
Why doesn’t President Trump follow the tradition of leaders from the Middle Ages (for 1,000 years), and appoint a court jester as chief of staff, or at the least to his cabinet? NOTE: This is the full text of my article that was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle.
I am thinking of someone like Stephen Colbert or Jimmy Fallon. Someone who can speak the truth to power, and deliver the bad news (in a funny way) that no one else dare deliver, then live to do it again.
Melania can’t do it, because she wants to stay in the will. Jared can’t do it because he’s too busy pretending that he doesn’t speak Russian.
History tells us that for one thousand years the court jester (or, motley fool), was hired to say, “the emperor has no clothes.” The court jester was considered a leader’s most important adviser, and was someone who presented the cold-hard facts in a way that got their attention with laughs.
There is no shortage of court jesters, they are our comedians, and they fill a vital role in challenging the actions of government and business, and pointing out folly in our personal daily lives, one of them could be enlisted to Trump’s team.
“Leaders need to constantly ask themselves how do I find out what I don’t want to know? How do I know when the advice from those around me is sincere, or when it is just flattery?” — Curtis Panasuk, Creativity Instructor
The solution can be as simple as a polite, “please tell me what I don’t want to hear.”
“I teach corporate creativity, and I repeatedly see how giving permission to someone (or, everyone) on the team to speak freely, propels the organization to the highest level of creative problem solving and innovation.” — Curtis Panasuk
Here are four things that executives and leaders can start doing today!
If you get bad news, never “shoot the messenger”. Instead, thank the person for the information and acknowledge how much you appreciate that they took the effort to tell you.
At the end of a meeting with an individual or your staff, ask the question, “Is there anything else that we need to hear or talk about.” This is where you can “open the spigot” of what may be on their mind, smoldering under the surface.
When you get bad news or someone challenges you, then your first reaction should be to immediately smile because body language speaks volumes, and this sends a big OK message to the individual, and your team that you want to hear this type of information.
Finally, you can simply ask people and your team, “please tell me what I don’t want to hear.” Then, receive that information in a friendly manner (again, smile), and realize that a friend is a person who stabs you in the front.