Shirt Wear – Guidelines for Corporate Creativity

Shirt

You know…the business shirt is quite an amazing source of innovation and creativity and has a unique and strategic place in the corporate office. However, many wearers do not recognise this fact, or its importance. So let’s explore this grand piece of clothing a little bit further.

The key shirt characteristics that define your shirt wearing creativity are:
• The colour
• The buttons
• The in/out tuck

Colour:
Most shirt wearers in your typical conservative corporate organisation tend to wear the stock standard white shirt. Need we say anymore, except, this probably explains why these companies are quite boring and lacking innovation!
When colour is introduced; now we are talking! These colourful shirt wearers tend to have that increased level of flamboyance and “oomph” that supports the generation of new ideas. Other areas for creative differentiation are the optional stripe or pattern.

Buttons:
The typical business shirt has seven buttons in the main frontal section, and a smaller button on the sleeves (assuming that this is a cufflink shirt).
My extensive research (based on extensive individual research I might add), is that the number of buttons done-up greatly influences the shirt wearers level of freedom which I assert has a direct correlation with creativity.
The optimum level of thought freedom appears to be attained with no buttons done up….yep that hairy chested high air-flow look! When all the buttons are done-up, “theory” states that creativity is proportionally reduced. Owing to HR T&Cs of acceptable dress in the corporate office, I would suggest the top two buttons being undone, if not completely removed to ensure that happy creative compromise with the official corporate guidelines.
Another option is to undo the small buttons on the shirtsleeves and roll your sleeves up, once again, a certain freedom of corporate constraint seems to prevail as a consequence.

In/Out Tuck:
This is indeed a very personal choice. Some people like to have their shirt tucked in, others like it out. However, when wearing a suit, having the shirt out does tend to make you look rather uncouth hedging towards that bogun looking classification. However, if it improves your ability to think with your shirt flapping around your bottom, well, each to their own!

Now, I haven’t explored the choice of hooks and eyes, or zips, as an alternative to buttons, but would welcome any constructive feedback from any readers of this blog post that might be beneficial to the argument being proposed above (which of course is all tongue in cheek!).

In conclusion, may I suggest that you view your business shirt as a key factor in the development of a culture of innovation in the corporate office.

You Took a RISK….Fantastic!!

TAKE RISKS

In one of my previous blog posts you will recall my recent attempt at roller skating (https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2014/03/28/office-roller-skating-instructors/)

As I look back on that memory, I can vividly recall the difference in skating standard between myself (a hesitant, stumbling, novice) and that of my instructor (graceful, impressive, stunning…and yes…that rather magnificent short flappy skirt, not that I really noticed, well, maybe just a little….)

Both of us had the same type of roller skates, we were on the same skating rink, the same skating ambition not to fall over, but our skating performance skills were noticeably different! Why…well, it’s called experience. My skating experience was one lesson, her experience was extensive and it showed. But, her skating prowess didn’t happen quickly, it took many years of practice, learning, taking risks, and being prepared to occasionally fail and have that embarrassing moment of falling over and landing on her bottom.

In the corporate office, the prospect of failure isn’t really encouraged. The environment is very risk adverse, in fact, most of us are too scared to explore new ideas, particularly our managers, just in case they don’t work. It’s no wonder that innovation and creativity is stifled, or on the verge of becoming non-existent!

However, to build a corporate risk-taking environment that is effective, it needs to start at the top. A culture must develop that says…”it’s ok to fail..in fact, it’s ok to fail quite a few times…just keep working your innovative idea and eventually you will succeed and more importantly…learn”. Of course there are many caveats and T&Cs associated with this comment, but wouldn’t it be wonderful to work in an organization that encouraged you to take risks and stuff up occasionally along the way!?

Why doesn’t the CEO of your organization share with you some of their personal failures, and their learnings from those experiences? If they haven’t had any failures, does that mean they were too scared to take any risks, or did the organization not let them do so? If that’s the case, I suspect you might be working in rather a boring and conservative company so it might be time to get out before you also becoming branded with the concept that innovation lethargy is the norm and acceptable behavior!

Most companies have a corporate newsletter that is circulated internally to all employees highlighting various business successes that have occurred over the last few weeks or months. Why not include a section that highlights people in the business that had the courage to try something new, something innovative, and if it failed, get them to explain their learnings from the process. These people need to be encouraged and to be given public recognition. By doing this, others will also see that it’s ok to try something new and bold.

Why not add an innovation component into your employee’s performance goals for the year? Now this would create a vastly different mindset in the management structure as I suspect that most managers wouldn’t know where to start in this process? One option could be to provide all managers and employees with an “Innovation 101” type course that provides the basics in brainstorming and creativity techniques to make people think that little bit differently (PS: If you need a hand in doing this, let me know!)

The corporate office should be fun, exciting and have a culture that promotes innovation. Afterall, we spend most of our lives at work…so make it a place that you want to be at and more importantly….enjoy!

Colleagues….I want that coconut!

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Looking up at the coconut which appears quite strongly adhered to the lofty heights of the palm tree, my mind starts to actively permeate thoughts of how I could knock the little bugger off the branch and get it!

The options available to me are:
1. To climb up the tree and cut it off?
2. Throw a large projectile with maximum force?
3. Bribe someone to make the required climbing effort for me?
4. Sit here and wait for the coconut to naturally fall off in its own good time?

As I’m an impatient man, I decided to use option 5 and just cut the tree down thereby gaining easy access to the long anticipated item.

Now that I have attained this coconut prize, what should I do with it? The choices and decisions seem to never end!

This coconut analogy is quite similar to how we generate and develop new ideas in the corporate office.
Just like the process of attaining the coconut, we have many options available to us. We can use group discussions, brainstorming, team meetings, quiet walks, or sit in solitude hoping for that gem of an idea to come forward and materialise!

Once we have the idea (the coconut) what do we then do with it? How do we develop it into a commercially successful opportunity that generates income for the corporate business? Or do we just “settle”, and accumulate our ideas (or coconuts) for a day in the future when they may be required?

The choice is yours, but whilst I sit here looking up at that sneaky little and illusive coconut, I will always want to get it and develop thoughts of what that coconut may initiate!

Coloured Ideas of Sex

Omphaloskepsis...

There is a saying that innovation occurs when ideas have sex. This might be fine for those free thinking happy go lucky ideas, but it is not acceptable behaviour in the corporate office! You will find quite a few policies and a vast array of T&Cs of employment covering this issue. It is just not the done thing!

But what if there was a way that the ideas of employees could actually interact with each other and ‘have sex’ in a non-physical way that kept the HR policy enforcers content?

So just how could this be achieved?

Just imagine if ideas could be linked to a set of corresponding colours? Employees could then generate a large number of thoughts which would initiate an array of colours that could be captured electronically.

The next step would be to provide a ‘comfortable and relaxed’ meeting place for these ideas to ‘get to know each other’, similar to a date. This might be achieved via the use of a shared public directory on the corporate intranet?

After some interaction, where the respective ideas would get to ‘know each other a little better’, some of the more progressive and risk adverse ideas might establish a mutual attraction which may encourage a closer and more intimate colourful relationship to develop?

With time, these electronic coloured ideas might just combine together to achieve a new and innovative thought creation?

Other ideas that may be a tad bashful or reserved, may observe the progressive nature and associated benefits of those less risk adverse ideas and just let their inhibitions go and strive for new heights in idea colour combination!

The electronic idea colours could also allow for global interaction between business divisions where traditional cultural and social differences may tend to limit interaction?

Taking the concept further, older ideas from previous employees could be mixed with new and current ideas to achieve the benefits derived from previous learnings and experiences.

Yes, it is just a colourful idea concept and I’m not saying that it has any real prospect in developing into corporate reality, but hopefully it has got you thinking that little but differently! The key is to let different ideas mix and combine with others to form something quite innovative and new in the corporate office.

That Rather Noticeable Tattoo

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This morning whilst lazing around the beachside pool, my gaze was momentarily disturbed from thoughts of slumber as I glanced a rather attractive tall woman slowly pulling herself out of the water. What caught my eye, besides her long straight auburn hair, was her unique and quite enchanting full length back tattoo that weaved from the middle of her waist up to her right shoulder. Once out of the pool, she steadied herself, gave me a smile, then plunged back into the pool with an artistic dive leaving a minimal splash and swam underwater for a few metres and then resurfaced.

Now this tattoo got me thinking…no, not about that particular woman in the pool, but about how people create their own individual traits that make them different and unique.

Being ‘different’ is not really promoted in the corporate office, rather, everyone is actually encouraged to look and act the same. We all wear the same corporate uniform comprising ties, suits, or tailored skirts. You just don’t see someone rolling into the office with their face painted, in surfing board shorts and bare chested, or a strapless dress showing off their impressive back tattoo!

This lack of dress code diversity I think really impacts and stifles creativity. What is the first thing you typically do when you get home from work? If you are like me…the suit, shirt, shoes and tie are immediately discarded and something more ‘comfortable’ is worn (or not worn)…and immediately my thought is more relaxed and free!

Many corporate organisations have free dress days on Fridays. Typically office morale appears to improve as a consequence. So, what about having random free dress days throughout the working week which alternates between various work teams, that way, a constant mix of corporate dress conservatism and creative free dress will permeate continually amongst employees. Why not try the concept in your corporate office, I would be interested in the feedback!

Now as a side thought, you may be asking..what happens with corporate creativity in nudist colonies where no clothing restrictions apply? Well, I’m leaving that topic well alone!!

That Aurafication Advantage

Businesswoman consulting a partner

I’m sure that many of you have walked into a room full of people that you don’t know and can immediately sense the atmosphere that is prevalent, whether that be positive or negative. Sometimes it can be seen in their body language, or their tone of voice, or just the way they stare at you when you interrupt the mood with that look of bewilderment, or relief that someone new and interesting has joined the group. Either way, it doesn’t take you long to know whether you should continue to walk in, or just back out graciously and say with that sincere and genuine voice, “sorry for the interruption, I think I may have the wrong room” as you lie most professionally through your teeth!

Let’s call this room atmosphere the ‘meeting aura’ or just ‘aura’ for short.
You can also experience this aura when you visit a city for the first time. I’m based in Melbourne and many visitors state that there is a unique ‘Mel-aura’ that is quickly identifiable as you traverse the city streets, similarly Sydney has its own ‘Syd-aura’, as do many other cities around the world.

Many corporate organisations have their own brand that is quite distinctive and readily noticeable when you enter their head office, or meet an employee that is a true believer of their business culture. So, what is it that creates this aura, or ‘corporate aurafication’ that is so illusive to many organisations!

To me, the key to successful ‘aurafication’ is being prepared to be different, but different in a positive and constructive way that encourages employees to want to be linked to the organisation. If their participation in the business is beneficial to them personally, then the process of ‘aurafication’ is well and truly on the way. If there is no prospect for personal growth, then the chance of a successful ‘aurafication’ will be quickly nullified and the business will become yet another one of those boring, and unimpressive companies of which there are far too many!

So in order for your company to have that well sought after aura that many employees strive to obtain, focus on creating your own unique corporate culture and thereby obtain that optimum ‘aurafication’! It might just be the start of that competitive advantage that your business is looking for at the moment?

Office Stress Elimination

woman darkness

There is a dark room in the corporate office that is buried deep down in the depths of the building foundations. In this room sits a quiet unassuming gentle natured woman who has a perpetual smile continually permeating from her face.

Her body is an illuminated random visual blur of different coloured lights that are reflecting the constantly changing computer screen displays that cover every inch of her office walls. Her eyes dart from each computer screen on the look out for that bright red warning light to flash indicating that she needs to move into the appropriate corrective action routine that is stipulated for her to follow when prompted.

So what exactly does she do? Well, let me enlighten you.

Did you know that underneath each of your computer keyboards in the corporate office there is a microscopic sensor? This sensor has been finely calibrated to measure the finger force that you apply when using your computer. When you are stressed, or agitated, the sensor measures the corresponding minute change in your finger pressure from your usual benchmark ‘non-stressed value’ that has been determined over many hours of computer typing activity.

For those of you that are a tad stressed for a long duration whilst residing at your computer, this triggers a red flashing warning light on the woman’s console.

I will now explain this woman’s role in the corporate office. She is the Senior Director of Stress Elimination and reports directly to the Vice President of HR.

The flashing red light now prompts the well established smile on her face to quickly widen as she prepares the required corrective action to alleviate the user stress now identified on her computer console. She is now in her element and initiates all her years of stress reduction training.

She now types in the secretive stress reduction codes into her computer. Once the ‘enter’ key has been hit, a chain reaction of electrical interference is now implemented.

The stressed person sitting at their computer will suddenly be plunged into an eery silence . All the phones and computers of their surrounding work colleagues will be immediately shutdown. However, their computer will continue to operate without any hindrance. The stressed worker will now hear a loud flurry of annoyed and angry colleagues sitting next to them and they will consider that they are quite lucky in that they can still work without any interruption! Their sense of stress will now change to a feeling happiness!

I can now hear you ask about how the Senior Director of Stress Elimination now handles the commotion that she has now generated? Well, the answer is quite simple, she has a coffee break and leaves it to the corporate IT Help Desk to sort out!

Fifteen minutes later, when everything has now settled down, she returns quietly to her desk and awaits for her next stress relieving opportunity to assist a fellow work colleague….