The Emperors New Clothes!
Once there lived an incompetent King. Unfortunately, the only thing the new King like to do was wear new clothes and parade his smart looks.
Two crooked weavers saw an opportunity in the King's passion. They told him that they had learnt a unique way of weaving the best cloth in the world with super material, fantastic weaves, light weight & soft texture.
More importantly the cloth would help the King assess the calibre of his Ministers for the cloth would be visible only to those who had intelligence & were diligent about their work. Those who were not, could not see the cloth. The King was amazed & thus paid a lot of money to the crooked weavers to make him clothes out of this cloth. The crooked weavers thus set up a factory.
Many days later, the King sent his wise man to inspect. When he went there , the crooked weavers pretended to make him inspect the magical cloth on the loom. Though he did not see it on the loom, he pretended he liked very much what he saw. He certainly did not want to be classified as an incompetent fool by saying he could not see the cloth. He reported to the King how wonderful the cloth was !
The King later sends his trusted Minister. He too was shown the 'special cloth' on the loom. He too pretended to like what he saw. After all the wise man had liked it & if he contradicted, the King may think that he is a fool thus could not see it. Thus he too submitted a super report to the King.
The King later visited the factory. The crooked weavers showed indulgence in extra hard work & showed him magical cloth on the loom. He saw nothing. But maybe he thought he was a fool and thus not able to see. After all his wise man & his trusted minister had reported seening & liking the cloth very much.
On the appointed day the King wears his newly stitched clothes & struts around - but thinks that being a fool, he could not see it. Whoever he asked for opinion, said that it was amazingly pretty for fear that telling the truth would mean being classified as fools & incompetent particularly in light of several endorsements.
The multiplier effect was on until an innocent child who upon seeing the King asked " ...but why is the King dressed in underpants ? Where are his smart clothes?". Everyone quietly agreed with the child's observation but preferred to shut-off the child from commenting for fear that it may reveal they were incompetent or were making a fool of the King !
Cultures have to be open. Diplomatically albeit, feedback has to be given. Incompetence should be blocked. Good leadership should have strong character.
Aren't so many of our Corporate leaders like the passionately incompetent King ? Aren't most of us like the wise man or the trusted Minister ? Aren't so many of our Consultants like the crooked weavers ? Aren't so many of our 'next practices' like the weaving of this 'Magical Cloth' ? Aren't we shutting off that innocent child and not seeing real value in its observations ??