Leadership Goals: Using Humor to Reinforce Inventiveness
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Humor Mark Zuckerberg

(Image: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg)

Many successful people don’t start with grand ambitions of world domination but a joke. When Mark Zuckerberg, created Facebook, he wasn’t trying to build a global company worth $245 billion, he was wrapped up deep in seditious humor. Of course, many think he did it for the money. In reality, Facebook was developed in his Harvard dormitory as a web platform for fellow students to rate people’s attractiveness from a choice of photos. Within 24 hours, “The Facebook,” as it was originally known; became so popular that it crashed the university’s servers, but not before it caused enough outrage to get banned from college.

Did you know that many of Andy Warhol’s paintings started out as a joke? His artwork, ‘One Dollar Bill (Silver Certificate),’ which has a series of dollar bills immortalized in rows and columns, started as a sardonic joke about the value of art. In July 2015, the monumental masterpiece fetched $32.8 million USD.

Humor helps us produce the unexpected and see things from an entirely fresh perspective. Leadership today, is more about leaders indulged in feeling anxious, busy, and worrying over productivity at work. One of the greatest challenges in that frame of mind is getting new and valuable ideas, create innovative solutions, and develop brilliant breakthroughs.

Although, it hardly helps when you’re having fun because the society believes that you’re never going to get the job done. But then again, why would you drown yourself in such mindset.

Steve Jobs had given Hovey-Kelly, a young design group their big break, a job that could have established their reputation. The design group, led by David Kelley and his colleagues, all grown men, had produced a mouse that looked like a wood-work created by a bunch of five-year-olds. It was assorted scraps, a chunk of a refrigerator, a ball from a roll-on deodorant, and bits of a gearstick, all held together by rubber bands and tape. Apple had established its global reputation for elegant design when it gave the big project to Hovey-Kelly. And yet, the design group had presented to Steve Jobs something that resembled a playschool artwork.

Creating a product in the 80’s meant one had to formally design in detailed drawings and then assemble those specifications. Kelly didn’t want to wait for so long for such a lengthy process and restrictive process. Instead, he presented to Jobs a prototype made of whatever materials he could get his hands on. To others, it was a crude creation, to Jobs it was a revolutionary mouse with accessible pieces (freely rolling ball). Today, Hovey-Kelley has transformed into the global design powerhouse known as IDEO.

So, don’t think about other people not taking you seriously. Being playful enables us to get rid of inhibition and play around with ideas. A lot of leaders fall behind competitors, and it’s usually because they are fearful of what others will think, or what if they’ll get it wrong.

Humor is a primitive form of expression that gives us a raw, innocent approach to things. It is the key to the unfettered mindset that unlocks subversive thinking. If you have reached a dead end and are stuck with a giant problem, humor can lead you to a fresh perspective and unrestrained energy and inventiveness.

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