Chief Humor Officer and The CKO

Why do you find some comedians funny and others.. well, not so funny?

DBWe see the humor through a common and relatable experience.  When a story is told to us and if we can relate to it, once we learn it our empathy neurons fire up, we experience the story and we laugh. “Laughter is the physiological respo­nse to humor. Laughter consists of two parts — a set of gestures and the production of a sound.”

Humor <—Storytelling

It doesn’t matter who you are or what walk of life you come from, being human means laughter matters.  I have been all around the world and have seen people in tears from relatable sorts of humor.

Humor Management..

Engineering Humor
 I have met people from a cross-cut of cultures and countries and they share the same common understanding of the value and the importance of knowledge management, knowledge transfer, knowledge continuity, personal knowledge management and enterprise knowledge management.  They share similar fears and hopes when it comes to the formalization and rationalization of practice and process to focus on knowledge and information flow relative to their business.  There isn’t one business on this planet that operates without knowledge yet most large organizations don’t appear overly concerned from a leadership perspective about KM.
I have heard “I eat, sleep, and breathe KM” but in the same breath any business strategy to address KM would be trivial and uneventful aka not worth their time.  Somewhere between the business value of the wisdom, knowledge, experience and information ecosystem of an organization and the return on investment or operational resiliency of the business something seems lost.   Knowledge Management for most organizations happens in the background and goes unaddressed until something big happens to bring up the level of awareness.
The facilitation and management of knowledge in context is part of our humanity.  Just as most of us laugh on average of 17 times a day, we need to work with information in context, it is what we do.   We need to laugh and companies spend countless dollars on humor without even knowing it.  There is no (CHO) Chief Humor Officer but I haven’t been to one office on the planet where someone in the office doesn’t have some office comedian or something funny on their desks.  People do what they need to do.  <— Point here.
Here is where humor and knowledge management split.  Unless you are in the humor business, you don’t need to be funny to maintain and grow your organization.  Generally, if you leave your employees to manage their own humor, they will do an outstanding job.   That isn’t the case with knowledge management.
ASIDE—>If you are interested here is a link to “Secrets of Effective Office Humor” It is a Wall Street Journal article.
When organizations treat knowledge management like something that happens naturally, they can still find success but it may take longer and cost more.   The reason why is simple.
Won’t Listen

Unless the level of awareness is raised and there is trust from both the bottom up and the top down, generally people don’t listen.

<– made with (Here are some others I was looking at while blogging)

Humor doesn’t require trust, it requires comprehension.

Blind –> Aware

Potable Water
U.S. Geological Survey that gives us a more accurate view of how much drinking water we have to work with on the Blue Planet. Note that the big bubble is all water on Earth, salt and freshwater, and the tiny bubble of blue represents all fresh water. The tiny spec you can hardly see? That’s the amount of drinking water available to us.

The Truth.

The clarity of my point here is that leadership will ignore the truth.   There may also be some truth in humor.   The truth is that all workers are “knowledge workers” the value of what people as individual performers do is underestimated.   The understanding of how much it costs and how much is lost in an organization goes unrealized.    The only way traditional leadership seems to respond is if they are shocked into seeing the truth.  The next question is once they know, what will they do?   The graphic above is pretty shocking, does it mean that you will change your behavior in the shower or while brushing your teeth or washing your car?

At the end of the day,  it all boils down to WIFM (What’s in it for me)..

<—Not So Funny.. 

As we look forward we need to continue to find ways to gain leadership buy-in.  Maybe we should create the role of CHO!  KMWorld came up with a “Conversation Manifesto”  maybe you can find it useful in your work.

Ten components of knowledge communication

Organizational conversational capacity involves mastering the following 10 components of knowledge communication, which may well be regarded as The Conversation Manifesto in 21st century organizations:

1. Knowing how to ask questions.

2. Willingness to ask for information and assistance.

3. Willingness to give as well as accept knowledge.

4. Expectations of sharing knowledge.

5. Promptness in sharing knowledge and expecting responses within deadlines.

6. Giving feedback on received knowledge.

7. Handling conflicting knowledge responses.

8. Acknowledging, rewarding and acting on knowledge contributions.

9. Existence of conversational capacity at multiple levels within the organization.

10. Extension of conversational capacity externally for engaging other organizations.

One thought on “Chief Humor Officer and The CKO

  1. There seems to be something missing with trust. It is a state of mind that we have to have before we can get there; and that state of mind is rest. What I mean by rest is that we are not trying to work things out or do our missions but we stop and rest to reflect and think. Today, too many people are too occupied with the mission and then get too rapped up in the processes of the mission to really understand what is really important. Trust has to come from this reflective mode of human encounters and if we don’t get to this point; which many today don’t; we create just structured KM without any lasting effects, IMO.


Comments are closed.