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Claudia Imhoff

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About the author >

A thought leader, visionary, and practitioner, Claudia Imhoff, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized expert on analytics, business intelligence, and the architectures to support these initiatives. Dr. Imhoff has co-authored five books on these subjects and writes articles (totaling more than 150) for technical and business magazines.

She is also the Founder of the Boulder BI Brain Trust, a consortium of independent analysts and consultants (www.BBBT.us). You can follow them on Twitter at #BBBT

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More articles and resources are available in Claudia's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Every now and then, I read or hear about decisions made by COOs, CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, etc., that just buffalo me. I scratch my head in wonderment, questioning why no one said anything to these people? It is then that I realize that perhaps these underlings were too afraid for their jobs, their future with the company, or maybe their lives? Or maybe they just didn't care enough to say anything.

That's when I realize that what these executives need is a jokester to keep them grounded -- a Mis-Chief Officer, if you will, similar to the court jester of old...

You know what I am talking about? Every King in days of yore had a jester to make fun of him. The jester pointed out the things that were obvious, that would otherwise get a King's advisors' heads cut off. Done with humor, the jester could get away with pointing out that the King was only human after all, that he was fallible and was capable of making a bad decision. The key to this arrangement, of course, was that the jester could do this with impunity! Many a foible was nipped in the bud by having such a person around to point out faulty thinking.

OK -- on to modern day corporate executives. I believe that much of the fraud and disreputable business practices that occur in our enterprises stems from the fact that corporate executives have not had a jester, a conscience to poke fun at their obvious errors in judgement, someone to point out that the corporate king is making a dreadful mistake.

Therefore, I propose that every CEO in Global 2000 companies today hire their own personal jesters and give them the same role of former jesters. They can even have a mandate that the jesters must wear costumes with pointy hats with bells on them if they like. However, the CEO must also sign a contract stating that the jester can do what ever he or she likes -- that nothing is sacred -- as long as it is done with tasteful humor...

Sounds like a great idea to me. I may even apply for the job. Can't wait to read your comments on this idea.

Yours in Mis-Chief Officer success,

Claudia


Posted May 10, 2005 1:46 PM
Permalink | 2 Comments |

2 Comments

Ahh... if the corporate world only worked this way. Part of the problem is the King knows he doesn't have any clothes on, and the last thing he wants is someone telling him so. Especially someone INSIDE the company. Unfortunately, I think the jester would just be the next in the long and ever-growing line of messengers to be shot...

Well, Chris -- you are probably right. It takes a big CEO to admit that he or she is fallible. I still think I will apply for the job of CEO jester though. Somebody's gotta do it!

Thanks for your comment.

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