“An error does not become truth by reason of multiplied propagation, nor does truth become error because nobody sees it.” - Mahatma Gandhi
The Emperor Has No Clothes, by US Senator Robert Byrd - Senate Floor Remarks October 17, 2003 (with analogy to some work situations in parentheses)
“In 1837, Danish author, Hans Christian Andersen, wrote a wonderful fairy tale which he titled 'The Emperor's New Clothes'. It may be the very first example of the power of political correctness. It is the story of the Ruler (the boss) of a distant land (big organization) who was so enamored of his appearance and his clothing that he had a different suit (new program) for every hour of the day.
One day two rogues arrived in town, claiming to be gifted weavers (transformation experts). They convinced the Emperor that they could weave the most wonderful cloth (best program in the world), which had a magical property. The clothes were only visible to those who were completely pure in heart and spirit (only open minded employees).
The Emperor was impressed and ordered the weavers to begin work immediately. The rogues, who had a deep understanding of human nature, began to feign work on empty looms.
Minister (manager) after minister (manager) went to view the new clothes and all came back exhorting the beauty of the cloth on the looms even though none of them could see a thing.
Finally a grand procession (big conference) was planned for the Emperor to display his new finery. The Emperor went to view his clothes and was shocked to see absolutely nothing, but he pretended to admire the fabulous cloth, inspect the clothes with awe, and, after disrobing, go through the motions of carefully putting on a suit of the new garments.
Under a royal canopy the Emperor appeared to the admiring throng of his people - all of whom cheered and clapped because they all knew the rogue weavers' tale and did not want to be seen as less than pure of heart (they all knew to follow the party line and did not want to be classified as closed minded nor forward looking).
But, the bubble burst when an innocent child (honest employee) loudly exclaimed, for the whole kingdom to hear, that the Emperor had nothing on at all. He had no clothes (the program of the month was a hoax).
That tale seems to me very like the way this nation was led to war.” (organizations and employees are led into unnecessary and nonproductive activities)
Reflection: After above text, Senator Byrd went to describe many examples from the current wars; a subject that is off limits for Friday Reflections. But as the rest of the original story goes: The Emperor cringes, suspecting the child’s (employee’s) assertion is true, but still holds himself up proudly and continues the procession.