The Office Runner

Sherrin (201/365)

Equipped rather splendidly in my black sports shorts, bright fluorescent yellow T-shirt and spiffy football boots, I stand by the Australian Rules Football (AFL) coach awaiting my detailed instructions to personally deliver to the targeted players during the game. My esteemed and strategic role within the game is that of “Runner”. As the name suggests, I have the privileged position of being able to run out on to the football field during the game to motivate the players and to deliver words of encouragement and tactics that have a direct real-time influence on the outcome of the contest.

Besides demonstrating my extreme athletic prowess with which I sprint out to the players at top speed (however I must admit some less kind people have called me a “Meanderer”, rather than a “Runner”) to deliver the coaches instructions, I also need to have the skills of an actor and a mentor. Each instruction needs to be customised to meet the listening requirements of the various player recipients in order to achieve maximum receptivity and message understanding. Some players can accept a message that is bold and direct, other players need to be encouraged and wooed in order to fully absorb the details of the instructions, however some players just need a good verbal tirade of abuse.

The role of “Runner” in the corporate office got me thinking. Many businesses use a common form of communication that is designed to reach the largest number of employees as possible. This may be done via E-mails, Bulletins, Newsletters and other such mass distributions. The information take-up and understanding by the individual employee is in most cases rather poor, or rather confused. So why not have a number of cleverly trained Corporate Communication Runners (CCR) that frequent the office corridors?

The CCR would be dressed in a special corporate uniform. Many of you reading this blog post may be thinking runners, tracksuit pants and a T-shirt, but that’s a tad too boring for the CCR. Rather, I’m visualising the CCR dressed in a tight fitting bright body suit (pink, yellow or green) with the corporate logo branded on their back and a nice sounding bell attached to a belt hanging from their waist to announce their arrival as they leap through the office.

The CCR would be entrusted to take specific instructions from the CEO and then personally deliver them to the various key employees throughout the building to provide maximum message impact and acceptance.

However, there is an additional role for the CCR in that they would also convey messages, or employee mood back to the CEO so they fully understand the feeling within the organization.

Yes, these CCRs would be very busy! But the role of the CCR is a very important one within the corporate office, and one that I would suggest be considered somewhat more seriously than this blog post suggests?

Just a thought….



So as to keep the gender balance politically correct with respect to innovation in the corporate office, I thought it was appropriate to focus on a topic that was targeted more at the professional woman. So this blog post is aimed at the lady readers of my blog.

No, I’m not going to talk about skirt length, stockings, shirts, bras, lipstick, shoes or perfume, in fact, I’m not even going near it, particularly as there might be a few HR managers perusing these words, and let’s be quite honest, my knowledge in this area is somewhat limited. But, what I will talk about is hair colour!

Women have the option to change hair colour depending on what mood and image they are trying to convey. It can be long, short, wavy, curled, spiked and even shaved, and yes, people in the corporate office do notice! Hair colour appearance seems to directly influence confidence and behaviour. If you feel good about yourself, well, this permeates into how you react with your colleagues and those you come into contact with from a business and personal perspective.

This got me thinking…what if we now expanded this hair creativity not just to woman, but also to men? Just imagine the possibilities!

I am one of those men who enjoys that ‘free from head hair’ appearance. Why shouldn’t I also explore various hairstyles to generate some innovative discussion in the corporate office? Why shouldn’t I wear a variety of hairpieces of differing length and colour? One day I could be a red head, the next day a longhaired blonde, or even adorn a couple of ponytails? I’m sure that it would be noticed and would lead to some interesting dialog, potentially even a compliment or two?

Let’s just not stop at hairpieces, why not consider eyebrows, beards or moustaches! I hear you say, why not expand the hair creativity also to woman? Well, absolutely, if woman also want to try a hairpiece, fake beard or moustache, well why not! I’m all for equal opportunity in the workplace!

The key is to make people think differently and to crack open the corporate mold of conservatism. I challenge you to give it a go in your office! Why not have a ‘free hair day’ on a Friday? Go on…..I dare you!!

The Panic Button

A new Button

I’d heard about this particular corporate office, but thought the rumours just couldn’t be true, afterall, nothing could be that bad! So with a certain feeling of uncertainty, I mustered up the required courage and walked with some trepidation through the entrance of the building to my scheduled appointment.

As I walked through the automatic opening and rather imposing glass doors each of which boldly portrayed the company’s famous insignia, I heard a quiet woosh sound, and sensed that a small quota of my innovation can been surreptitiously sucked out of the pores from a skin. A slight feeling of fear started to permeate through me!

I waited in the reception area for my host to arrive and noticed that the office was devoid of colour, all employees were dressed in dark ominous tones of corporate boringness and the walls were blank canvasses of white with the occasional random poster of business repetition. A drop of sweat now slowly meandered down from my forehead…this was not looking good!

After waiting about five minutes completely immersed in silence as no one appeared to laugh, smile or have any normal facial expression that had a glimmer of hope or inspiration, my host finally appeared.

My host was the CMO. He was dressed in a traditional dark suit, white shirt, rather bland yet expensive tie, black polished shoes and reeked of that rather common aftershave.

My internal innovation meter sensed impending doom and urgently started to seek an exit from this place of potential creative tyranny. I noticed a prominent button protected by thick glass on the wall that was fully coated in dust and cobwebs which read “break in case of innovation emergency!” This was indeed such a situation! I excused myself from my host, ran to the button, smashed the glass and eagerly pressed this button of hope.

What happened next….well that is a choice that all you who are reading this blog post can make! All of us have the choice to work in a corporate environment that is bleak, or one that inspires and cultivates innovation. If it is the former, then why not implement a culture of innovation change…it could be fun and quite stimulating for all concerned!

If you are in any doubt, may I suggest you place an ‘Innovation Panic Button” on your office wall and then quietly observe just how many employees try to press it? I think that you will be surprised at the number of people who desperately seek that innovation cultural change and the associated benefits that are derived from it!

Just a thought…..?

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