January 10, 2008

The Law of Jante

In the last 2 blog posts, I’ve been writing about companies who do things in new ways – and are successful doing it.

Doing things differently is, however, not just a walk in the park. As a matter of fact, it can certainly be uphill. One of the reasons why it’s a real challenge to do things differently is not least, I believe, because many people resist change. "You know what you have. You don’t know what you get."

If you’re interested in knowing some more about why people resist change, have a look at this blog post.

When doing things differently, the Law of Jante often comes onto the scene – at least in some cultures. The Law of Jante, or "Janteloven" as it is called in Danish, consists of the following 10 "rules":

1. You shall not think that you are special.
2. You shall not think that you are of the same standing as us.
3. You shall not think that you are wiser than us.
4. Don't fancy yourself as being better than us.
5. You shall not think that you know more than us.
6. You shall not think that you are more important than us.
7. You shall not think that you are good at anything.
8. You shall not laugh at us.
9. You shall not think that anyone cares about you.
10. You shall not think that you can teach us anything.

I’d like to ask you, if you - in the culture (for example company-/department-/project- and/or national culture) you’re a part of - recognize some of what you have read about the Law of Jante above? If yes, please feel free to say what you think about the Law of Jante. Is it, in your opinion, a positive or a negative phenomenon – or both?
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