Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Truth about Your Business

Listen carefully to people around you. It is not always easy to hear the truth, especially when it seems like the obvious is obscured by a prevailing rhetoric in the organization.

Once upon a time there lived a vain Emperor whose only worry in life was to dress in elegant clothes. He changed clothes almost every hour and loved to show them off to his people. Word of the Emperor's refined habits spread over his kingdom and beyond. Two scoundrels who had heard of the Emperor's vanity decided to take advantage of it. They introduced themselves at the gates of the palace with a scheme in mind. "We are two very good tailors and after many years of research we have invented an extraordinary method to weave a cloth so light and fine that it looks invisible. As a matter of fact it is invisible to anyone who is too stupid and incompetent to appreciate its quality."

The story of The Emperor's New Clothes by Hans Christian Anderson goes on until the tailors' con is exposed by a child who blurts out the truth of things. The Emperor has no clothes! We should all be on the lookout for those situations where absurdity seems to thrive perhaps due to a miscalculation, a flawed premise, a bad strategy, poor planning or a some other presumed truth. The Emperor's New Clothes is a Danish fairy tale which was first published in 1837 but offers an enduring lesson: It reminds us to look at the world through the eyes of a child.

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