Circus clowns are most famous for willfully inflicting harm upon their fellow clowns. The easiest way to get a big laugh is with a pair of pliers, it appears. If you can’t find pliers, a bottle of seltzer will have to do.

Why is it so unusual to find a company where the boss cares for his employees? Why is it even more unusual still to find a workforce where teamwork just naturally overcomes selfishness? Why do we focus on hostile takeover wars, high-profile firings, and attack-dog politics instead of the gradual, inexorable progress that happens when people with a shared goal work together to accomplish it?

If clownhood is our natural state (and I think it must be), then the alternative must be the anti-clown. Success lies in rejecting your inner clown and adopting a long-range view of the world (even if it’s just five minutes longer than your peers’).

I think we ought to issue little red foam-rubber noses to everyone who reads this blog. They compress easily, so you can keep one in your wallet. Then, whenever you are in a meeting and someone starts acting like a real clown, silently whip out the nose and put it on.

Imagine the impact of 5 or 10 incompetent board members confronting a CEO with rubber red noses firmly in place. Imagine 20 parliamentarians fighting against the findings of a credible corruption report all wearing their red noses.

What would the famous clown do? Figure out the behavior of a real clown and do the opposite.

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