After delving into the meaning of Dr. Shingo's oft-cited quote about the purpose of improvement, and pontificating about the role of transparency in leadership, I figured I'd lighten it up a bit. And what better subject and spokesmodel for lightening up the mood than Sir Richard Branson? Aside from his well-known business bona-fides, and his irreverent attitude towards accepted business standards, he's not a big fan of neckties:

I don’t know why the tie was ever invented. It’s about one of the few things that Britain has exported successfully.... I often have a pair of scissors in my top pocket to go cutting people’s ties off.

I do think that ties most likely are still inflicted on people because the bosses, they had to wear it for 40 years and when they get into positions of responsibility they’re damned if they’re going to not have the next generation suffer. So ties continue to exist. My lifelong campaign to get rid of the tie has failed miserably.

(Before you inundate me with comments about how cutting off someone's tie might not really be the pinnacle of respect -- please don't. It's a joke.) But I do think Mr. Branson is onto something in his efforts to make people comfortable at work.

I have a nearly pathological aversion to ties myself, but sadly, they tend to be de rigueur in the business world. So I'll continue to cheer Mr. Branson on in his quixotic journey to rid the world of this useless (anachronistic?) item of haberdashery.