Even When You Laugh at Yourself, Practice Safe Humor!
Laugh at yourself and you take away everyone’s ability to laugh
at you because you beat them to the punch line. It’s still
important, however, to practice safe humor when laughing at
yourself or your own organization.
For example, Gerald Ratner, one of Britain’s most successful
entrepreneurs, made an infamous joke in 1991 to 6,000 business
people that resulted in the total collapse of his business.
After joking that his jewelry products were “total crap” and
“cheaper than a prawn sandwich because they probably won’t last
as long,” share price dropped by 90% and the value of his
business fell from 460 million pounds to 54 million pounds.
In only one year, the balance sheet went from a whopping 112
million pound profit to a dismal 122 million pound loss!
Oops. So remember, when you practice self-effacing humor make
sure you are not targeting overly sensitive topics or features
in either yourself or your company that are viewed as essential
to your success. Making jokes about your receding hairline or
as a way to recover from or admit a blooper can be invaluable
at lightening the mood, making a crack about your company’s
core product, reputation or your core competency, maybe
not so much.
Mike’s Fun at Work Tip
Create a beat-the-blahs tradition or ritual at your workplace
that you undertake when people are feeling blah ? something
after lunch or mid-afternoon that gets people up and out of
their chairs, moving and laughing. It could be a goofy dance,
passing around an imaginary energy ball, a five minute game
of cube volleyball (with wadded pieces of paper), a five-minute
hop on a pogo stick or a five minute spin with a hula hoop!
Quote of the Week
“The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in
escaping old ones.” John Maynard Keynes
It’s a Wacky World
A survey by Harris Interactive found some rather creative excuses
employees gave for not making it into work:
– Someone had their finger stuck in a bowling ball
– One employee had a bad hair transplant
– One employee phoned in sick at 5:00 p.m. the night before from
– One employee said he wasn’t feeling very clever that day
– On employee said a cow broke into their home
Copyright Michael Kerr, 2010 www.humoratwork.com
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“Mike held the full attention of our senior management team for a full FOUR hour
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Martine Rothblatt, CEO, United Therapeutics