Greetings. Our middle daughter Carly, who is currently in the ninth grade, has a new favorite joke that she loves to tell to family and friends. It goes like this:
There were two muffins in the oven. The first one turns to the other and says "It sure is getting hot in here." To which the second responds (with a sense of astonishment) "Look, it's a talking muffin!"
Now I know it's not the deepest or most sophisticated joke you've ever heard. But it is a joke you can tell to anyone…unless they have a clear aversion to muffins or to talking muffins in particular. More importantly, it becomes even funnier as Carly tells it, because this simple joke causes her to crack up with each new telling.
Which causes me to think about this joke in a whole new light…or maybe a couple of new lights. First, there's something wonderfully contagious about laughter and we probably don't have enough of it in our companies and organizations.
Laughter that breaks the ice in challenging situations.
Laughter that connects people and helps to build teamwork and collaboration.
Laughter that energizes us to stretch and think in new and more compelling ways.
Laughter that demonstrates our shared humanity in good and difficult times.
Laughter that is simple, honest, positive, a bit goofy and only offends the relatives of talking muffins.
Second, we need to continually surround ourselves with people who are quick to spot the "obvious" that most of us fail to notice. People who are less concerned with the essential challenges we face and way more focused on the unique talents we might have for solving them. People who can readily recognize and encourage the remarkable abilities or their co-workers and our organization. People who, by their nature, can quickly spot something different and unexpected that also happens to be meaningful.
We win in business and in life when we take a totally different look at something that seems obvious. And when we use that unique vantage point to create a world of new possibilities.