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Overview of CAN I BE A FOOL FOR YOU?

Can I be a fool for you talks of the importance of the jester or fool role in an organisation.

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Bryce wearing his jesters cap and bells and holding his marotte (sceptre)

Ray Charles and “I’m a fool for you”.

Legendary musician, Ray Charles, performs at the piano during the taping of "Ray Charles: 50 Years in Music, uh-huh," a benefit musical gala for Starlight/Starbright Foundation in Pasadena, California, Sept. 20, 1991. (AP Photo)

Back in 1955 Ray Charles wrote and performed the song “A Fool for You". It became his second number-one R&B hit. It has been performed by Harry Belafonte, Tina Turner, Van Morrison, Otis Redding, Michael Jackson, and others. If you would like to listen to the original click on the YouTube link below:

Ray Charles performing "A Fool for You" (

The Role of the Jester or Fool

The Court Jester (

The jester played an important role in several cultures through history. An equivalent role to that of the jester was found in Aztec, Chinese, and Roman cultures. The role probably reached its most advanced form in Tudor times. In general, the jester was free to mock people – including the king – without being punished. It was a fine line though. King James VI of Scotland employed a jester called Archibald Armstrong. He was eventually fired by the King when he went a jest too far and insulted too many influential people.

As an acknowledgement of their right to mock people, court jesters had symbols denoting their status and protection under the law: the cap and bells and the marotte, mirroring the crown and sceptre  of the monarch. (Information drawn from

The Corporate Fool

Cover of The Corporate Fool (

In more modern times David Firth and Alan Leigh – in their book “The Corporate Fool” have argued the merits of the role of someone “Doing the Undoable, Thinking the Unthinkable, Saying the Unsayable and Driving Your Sensible Organisation Mad with Creative Folly”.

In the book they quote Charles Handy from his book “The Age of Unreason” who says “… discontinuous change requires discontinuous, upside-down thinking to deal with it, even if both thinkers and thought appear absurd at first sight.”

Career-limiting decisions


In many organisations a permanent employee playing the role of jester or fool may be playing with their career. Or put another way, the things they do or say might be significant career-limiting decisions.

So, how to get the benefit of the role when it’s needed? Perhaps you can contract it in.

Gallup StrengthsFinder Profile

Bryce strengths according to Gallup StrengthsFinder

Moral of the Story

If you would like to explore the possibility of me playing the serious role of Jester or Fool for you and you team, assisting you in taking your organisation forward give me a no obligation call. We can use the frameworks and tools recently developed by Martin Johnson and I – Wicked Challenges, Pivot Now!, and Six-Its. Or if you prefer, we can use tools of your choosing. Jesters or Fools are flexible!