Tom Fishburne gave a TedTalk titled The power of laughing at ourselves at work.

“It made me wonder why some organizations are more prolific than others. And after spending time with them my hypothesis is that it has nothing to do with how funny or creative the people are who work there.”

“I think it has everything to do with the culture of the organization. How comfortable people feel being open with each other, sharing ideas, talking about what’s really going on.”

“And I think that what gets in the way is fear. And I think it’s exactly the same fear that keeps us from trying new things, keeps us stuck in the status quo, holds us back from doing our best work. ”

“I think a sense of humor is one of the most important but completely overlooked tools in business. And if we really want to overcome that fear we have to learn to laugh at ourselves.”

“Laughing at ourselves is powerful…  It gives a sense of belonging…  It’s disarming. It lets us talk about things that are otherwise hard to talk about.”

“Fear kills creativity and humor is our most powerful tool to drive fear out of the system.”

“The very thing that makes us feel like we can’t laugh at ourselves is the very thing that gets evaporated when we do laugh at ourselves.”

“And that creates a special environment where we feel like we belong, we can say it like it is, and we can be our true selves.”

Tom also cites the benign violation theory that comes out of Peter McGraw’s Humor Research Lab (HuRL).

 

 

 

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