Laugh, laugh…and laugh some more.

On a hot day last Summer, the Badger stood in the drinks aisle of a local supermarket contemplating cold beer and became aware of a highly recognisable Liverpudlian voice. It was the UK comedian John Bishop chatting on his phone while was pushing a trolley and selecting beer from adjacent shelves. He grinned, nodded to the Badger, put some bottles in his trolley and moved on. He’d probably ‘escaped’ from the stringency of a local health spa often used by TV people for rest and recuperation. The Badger was struck that John Bishop, wearing a polo shirt, khaki shorts, trainers and sporting significantly grey longer hair, was just a normal guy in his early fifties going about daily life.

Then the Badger saw him recently on a live TV show. He was smartly dressed, funny as always, but his hair was all brown! The extensive grey locks from last Summer had disappeared! The Badger laughed, laughed again, and then some more. Why? Because it was a reminder of when a former work colleague had short grey hair one day but arrived the next day sporting brown hair whilst saying nothing to his bemused colleagues. The Badger is aware that lighting, colour and makeup are important in TV, but dying your hair John? Really? Isn’t dying hair to remove grey just a sign of insecurity? Apologies if you hadn’t, by the way. Either way, your natural comedy skills seem unaffected.

Laughter’s important. It boosts your immune system, lowers stress, and triggers chemicals that make you feel good. The Badger’s laughter outburst triggered some reflections on the human dynamics of the many company leadership conferences the Badger attended during his career. Such events are standard corporate fare with company execs telling attendees about business performance, strategic objectives, market trends, organisational tuning, improvement programmes, and so on. They’re all about aligning people with the corporate agenda – an imperative for success. The events themselves are often formulaic and somewhat limited in the laughter stakes. Presenters rarely have a natural comedy streak and things can be a bit dull for the audience.

The Badger impishly concluded two things. Firstly, that business is a serious affair but all execs and leaders presenting at such internal corporate events should lighten up! People absorb messages better if the characters conveying them can engage naturally with their audience to generate laughter. Secondly, if you attend such events and you are also an investor then watch out for company executives that dye their hair to remove grey. It might suggest that insecurity and vanity abound, and that challenging times may lie ahead for the company. It might be time to sell…just remember to laugh when you do so!

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