The Emperor's New Clothes : Epilogue
"The Emperor's New Clothes" is a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen about two weavers who promise an emperor a new suit of clothes that is invisible on those who are unfit for their positions, stupid, or incompetent.
The Emperor's ministers cannot see the clothes themselves, but pretend that they can for fear of appearing unfit for their positions and the Emperor does the same. Finally the weavers report that the suit is finished, they mime dressing him and the Emperor marches in procession before his subjects. The townsfolk play along with the pretense, not wanting to appear unfit for their positions or stupid.
Then a child in the crowd, too young to understand the desirability of keeping up the pretense, blurts out that the Emperor is wearing nothing at all and the cry is taken up by others. The Emperor suspects the assertion is true, but continues the procession."
Contrary to popular opinion, the insightful child who dares to observe the truth is not rewarded for his insight.
Instead, the Emperor's ministers and court retinue take the kid out back ... and quietly smother him.
"Unfortunately - Just not a fit", says one.
"Really not one of us", says the next.
"Such negative energy", declares another.
"Clearly not a team player", intones the third.
"mmmmf .... gkgkgkkkh ...", says the kid.
"Hey, everybody - Let's have cake!" shouts the Emperor.
... And They Lived Happily Ever After.
The 'Emperor's New Clothes' syndrome
Many organizations don't respond well to criticism. This is not surprising. What is unfortunate is that many organizations actively resent critical insight.
"I've never seen a project fail because some individual was 'not a team player'. But I've seen a few projects crash&burn because the team players all marched off the cliff in unison." -- John Vaughan
They were invariably smiling and congratulating themselves on their "positive energy".
(c) copyright John Vaughan / The Communication Studio
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