Category Archives: Humor

CYA Check Your Assumptions

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to clarify your facts before you make a decision. Reading time: 4:24

         a smilesLaughter is the best medicine, you’ve heard for years. Yet how many times do you laugh in a single day especially now that you have the added responsibilities in your leadership position?

         No wonder the most effective leaders have to work at sharpening their sense of humor. A good laugh or even a mild smile can go a long way in helping you practice your CYA– Check Your Assumptions–in your decision-making process.

   A  good laugh or two can lift a big burden of pressure off your shoulders . That’s why you deserve a break– maybe even a fracture of your funny bone or at least your tongue firmly wedged in your cheek. Hone your sense of humor today.

                Savor the following three humorous Leadership Mints. Freshen your ability  to practice your CYA.  And perhaps  refresh your leadership thinking in the process.

        1. The 13-year-old daughter was concerned. Her parents were refinancing their house again. The daughter needed clarification: “But dad haven’t you been paying on the house all these years,” Amy wondered. Yes her dad assured her.

     a bedShe looked around her bedroom like a queen looks at her throne and said with a good deal of exasperation: “Well, is MY ROOM at least paid for?”

     2. “Father, your TV is broke,” the housekeeper said to the Priest. The Priest corrected his housekeeper: “That’s our TV, not mine. It is the entire Church’s TV. I have taken an oath of poverty. I can’t own anything.” The house keeper understood but must have forgotten because a few weeks later she announced to the Priest “Your DVR is not working.”  CYA- Check Your Assumptions. Continue reading

SEASON Your Staff Meetings With Humor

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

 Here’s an idea to help spice your public speaking with humor. Reading time: 7:28

Jay Leno

Jay Leno

      SEASON your next meeting with humor. SEASON is an acrostic for 6 ways to sprinkle your prepared remarks with a comic’s flair.

 S for Substituting

         When you substitute, you bait and switch.

             You bait your audience with a straight line (the setup) then exchange it unexpectedly with another related concept –(the punchline) .

  •            Jay Leno, commenting on the nomination of John Kerry as Secretary of State says that John Kerry’s face “is longer than mine. He looks more like Secretariat of State.”
  •          Citing the wedding night of 86-year-old Hugh Hefner to a 26-year-old Leno says: “She wore Channel No. 5. He wore Fabreze.”
  •          And in the movie Duck Soup, in an era long before I-tunes and IPods, Groucho Marx says: “You haven’t stopped talking since I got here. You must have been vaccinated with a phonograph needle.”

 E for Exaggerating

              When you exaggerate, you stretch a point of view.

David Letterman

David Letterman

  •              Observing the longevity of Regis Philbin still hosting a TV talk show at 80,  David Letterman exaggerated:  “I don’t want to say that Regis is old but his first co-host was Eve.”
  •            Reacting to wintry weather in New York City, Letterman said: ” It was so cold today driving to work (in New York City), the navigation lady in my car directed me to Saudi Arabia.
  •         Mark Russell observed that A trillion is a number so high that if you stood on the payment book you’d experience weightlessness.”
  •          And comedian Rodney Dangerfield noted:  “The plumbing in my apartment is so bad that if I want to take a bath on Sunday I have to start running the water on Wednesday.”


      Continue reading

Attitude: E-Quip Yourself With Humor

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to sharpen your ability to maintain control of a situation with humor.    Reading time: 3:14.

        When First Lady Nancy Reagan was criticized for her taste in expensive china and designer clothes, the wife of the President of the United States told reporters that she was not acting like a queen. “After all a tiara would surely muss my hair,” she grinned with her tongue firmly in her cheek.

First Lady Nancy Reagan (left) and Great Britain’s Margaret Thatcher walking together while President Ronald Reagan trails behind.

       In the 1858 senate race in Illinois, Stephen Douglas called Abe Lincoln a “two-faced man.” Lincoln calmly responded: “If I had another face, do you think I would wear this one?”

     And when Mohandas Gandhi was asked if he was embarrassed to visit the King of England dressed only in a loin cloth, Gandhi replied “Oh no, the King has on quite enough for both of us.”

       Ah, the art of the quip–a powerful leadership tool –that can turn potentially embarrassing situations into amusing distractions and help a leader maintain control more with a hearty laugh than a hardened hand.

     To help you sharpen your own wits and enhance your leadership thinking, here are a few quips  I’ve collected over the years that leaders have used to humor their audiences in stressful circumstances.

  •      A college professor walked into to a lecture hall and found that his students had moved out all the chairs. The professor put down his notes, looked up and said triumphantly: Thank you for that standing ovation, amazing there’s so much interest in my talk tonight that every seat in the house is taken.” Continue reading

Cat’s Eyes: Reflecting Long-Term Objectives vs. Short-Term Benefits

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to stay focused on your long-term goals. Reading time: 2:13.

        When you are trying to catch your train of thought, it’s too tempting to simply reach out and latch on to whatever you can.

        It’s too easy to  focus only on what  HAPPENS next.  Sequentially.

        It’s more demanding  to step back–thoughtfully, strategically and collectively–to carefully consider – what NEXT could happen. Consequentially.

       Yet sometimes short-term benefits overshadow long-term objectives.

        That’s why I applaud  leaders who contain their short-term focus like one of my clients, the first woman to be named CEO of the organization.  She pointed to a large framed photo of a cat and told me an allegory I will never forget on the significance of leaders thinking long-term.

        Continue reading

Smiling & Thriving on the FUNdamentals of Leadership

By Peter Jeff
The Leadership Mints Guy

Here’s an idea to sharpen your sense of humor to increase your performance . Reading time: 3:12

        The bite of the flu bug left me writhing in pain and moaning in bed one early morning. “Oh, God. Oh, God!” I moaned. And moaned. My wife, laying next to me,  sized up the situation quickly. She knew I was looking more for sympathy than for survival. “Oh, God. Oh God!” I moaned again.

      “Yes?” deadpanned my wife right on cue. “How can I help you?”

       I laughed. The more I laughed the more I hurt. Oh, my aching ribs. But I didn’t care.  It was funny. And I laughed — at the hurt.

      My wife’s sense of humor taught me a lesson in what I have come to understand as the FUNdamentals of Leadership. That’s the uncanny ability of leaders to use comic relief in real or perceived tense situations to  renew, revive and rekindle the heart and soul of others.

FUNdamental Leadership Breaks Down Barriers

      After all, the FUNdamental Leadership breaks down barriers. Consider the way George H. Bush, then sitting president of the United States, tapped into his sense of self-deprecating humor to make a stronger connection to his audience in Chicago. Continue reading