Mythopoetic leadership: Mary Kay & smoke

What’s Missing in Leadership Today? One answer, as suggested by Chip Jarnagin (of LatticeWorks Consulting) and Professor John Slocum Jr. (of the Southern Methodist University, Cox School of Business in Dallas Texas)  is : Mythopoetics.

“Mythopoetic Leadership is a framework for developing robust corporate cultures based on myths.” explained the faculty research blog at SMU. The blog was highlighting the two authors’ academic paper on the subject : Creating Corporate Cultures Through Mythopoetic Leadership (published in the journal Organizational Dynamics, Volume 36, Issue 3, 2007). Which cites as one of its many mythopoetic management manifestations the work of Mary Kay Ash (late founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics) who developed a unique approach to leadership as exemplified by her award ceremonies for top-earning sales reps :

“During the ceremony, when Mary Kay was introduced, she would levitate on billows of smoke to the stage. The illusion of her rising and being kept in the air with little physical support symbolized how women could rise up and enrich their lives. During the ceremonies, bumblebee-shaped diamond pins are given to women who have reached certain sales levels. The pin presents the myth that bumblebees should not be able to fly because of their aerodynamics. However, with their will power and self-determination, they can fly.“

The full paper can be found here

Note: The aerodynamics of bumblebee flight are no longer considered inexplicable.

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