Ask The Fool, Be The Fool

These days I find myself digging through my Organizational Development Toolbox.  So many great tools that I have used successfully in the past and will again.   One group of tools involve creativity.   It is very human to be creative.  All leaders need a level of creativity.  It is one of the items that separates a leader from someone who just manages people.

Leaders need to execute on the plan.  Yet at times when the plan is not working, the leader must develop a new plan … something new … with a touch of creativity … that leads to amazing results.

Leaders need to see the unseen and create.

One of these tools, The Creative Whack Pack, has been around since the early 1990’s and is as fresh today as the day the pack of cards hit the market.  That is right, it is a deck of cards with each card representing a different element of creativity.   The creator is Roger Von Oech.

Indeed, these cards serve as a “whack to the head” to loosen-up creative thinking.  Over time I will speak to different cards in the deck.  I invite you to explore the deck of cards yourself.   Of course 20 years later there is an app for your iPhone – a modern look for a great, classic tool.

Today I will look closer at one of the classic cards in the deck, Ask A Fool.  You know the fool or in renaissance times, the Court Jester.  Do you know the role of the Court Jester?  It goes beyond entertaining the court.  The “Fool” had license to parody any proposal under discussion to make it seem fresh and light.  The king was surrounded typically by yes men.  The fool allowed for fresh thinking and breaking away from groupthink.

You tell me … do we have yes men (and women) within modern organizations?  Do we spend any time on counter thinking?  Is anyone safe, truly safe, to be the fool today?

The fool’s candid jokes and offbeat observations put the issue in a fresh light and forced the king to re-examine his assumptions.  By listening to the fool, the king improved his judgment, enhanced his creativity, and projected himself from groupthink. 

Leaders, ask a fool, and yes, be a fool.  Don’t worry.  King of the fools here moving forward with you.  We Move Together.

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