Neck Naked Innovation

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It’s 6 am in the morning and many woman of all ages (and some lucky men) with long locks of hair all over the world are having to make a strategic decision that will impact not only themselves, but also their work colleagues, family and friends.

That key decision is, should my hair be up or down? Now before you scoff at this important question, please understand that this key piece of personal grooming will influence their mood throughout the day, and potentially into the evening!

As I’m follicley challenged, I’m not that familiar with this mood influence, but according to “extensive personal research”, I’m now convinced of the data validity and the direct behavioural correlation. So for those of you looking for a worthwhile topic for an elaborate and complex government funded research project, look no further, this one will keep you mentally, and financially equipped, for years!

According to the “extensive data”, it’s not actually the length of the hair, but the feeling of the hair on the individual’s neck. The presence of neck hair apparently provides a feeling of protection from the surrounding environment, whereas no neck hair (the technical term known as “neck nakedness”) yields a sensation of freedom and potential optimism for the acceptance of new challenges! (yes, it’s all seen in the “analysis data”).

So, should you be planning to introduce a culture of innovation in your corporate office, may I suggest that an internal memorandum, issued by your HR Director, be quickly distributed instructing all employees to wear their hair up to ensure the best chance of success!

Now I can all hear you asking about those with a bald head. Well, the “data” suggests that these highly valued employees are the obvious candidates for the esteemed position of “Innovation Champions” as they have no creative inhibitions!

So next time you look at yourself in the mirror as you prepare yourself for your day of work, remember, the hairbrush is your key to corporate innovation!

Oh, what a feeling!

Jockey Underwear

“Now these do feel a bit different”, I thought to myself. Yes, the colour was rather flamboyant, not particularly subtle, quite tight and rather a snug, all encapsulating, body hugging fit. However, they did feel fantastic, so I purchased three pairs and I looked forward to wearing one pair under my suit trousers to work the following morning. Yes, in case they are what you are thinking, you are correct, they were some spiffy new underpants!

As I’m quite shy and reserved, although some of you who know me better may beg to differ, I am not showing you a photo, nor am I providing any additional information on the style of underpants. So those of you who were wondering if they were Y-front, low-cut hipsters, G-string or whether I’ve gone with the famous “commando”, you will never know!

So what has this got to do with the corporate office you may be asking? The answer is actually very relevant. No, I am not proposing that you promote an underwear parade at your place of employment where employees, both male and female, model the latest in underwear fashions. However, the concept would be rather unique and may lead to a new revolution in team bonding, but somehow I suspect that the HR team will find some harassment rule that may be applicable?

It does however lead to the question, are you a creature of habit? If I was to continue with the theme of underpants, do you wear the same style and coloured underpants each day? Are you set in your ways, and are you reluctant to change and explore new fashions and ideas that may better meet your underwear requirements?

The key is to explore new experiences in your work life that may lead to exciting and stimulating innovations of thought that you may have only dreamed about. If we stay in the same job and don’t challenge ourselves to test new frontiers, you will quickly fall into a rut and corporate boredom will prevail. This applies to the organization as a whole, not just the individual.

So if your business has that stayed underwear feel about it where corporate life is becoming a little bit faded, shabby and a tad loose fitting, may I strongly encourage you to introduce some creativity into your work routine as the resultant feeling, with something a little bit different, may just provide that required motivational step you are looking for in your career and place of employment.

Go on, give it a go!

Not just any tête-à-tête!

2010-violin_MG_0227 - Version 2

Without any hesitation, or consultation, she picked up the red pen and scribbled some notes down in the margin of the musical score. She looked at her colleague seated next to her and nodded with a look of a “question mark” on her face, and was immediately greeted with an emphatic and resounding “yes” from his eyes. This intimate interaction continued throughout the remainder of the orchestral practice.

However, this little tête-à-tête was not just limited to this couple, it occurred with couples sitting next to them, behind them, in fact, all around them. There were trios, foursomes and even larger groups spontaneously erupting all over the stage!

Violinists, were talking to other violinists, trumpeters were waving to their friends in the double-bass section who responded with an immediate “thumbs up”! If you hadn’t had been watching, any one would have thought that there was an undisciplined, commotional, musical rabble in full force. However, what was occurring was the natural and evolving formation of sub-groups in the larger orchestra. The musicians were sharing their thoughts and ideas freely, there was no malice, withholding of information, and it appeared to be done most harmoniously and constructive.

The conductor then tapped his baton and immediately there was silence and all eyes and instruments were focussed on him. The orchestra then commenced playing with all their communal learning and experiences and the outcome was truly awe-inspiring.

I had just witnessed the final rehearsal of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO) playing Mahler’s Symphony Number 2. But I’m sure that this famous and world-renowned orchestra would go through the same motions at all of their rehearsals.

So why can’t business learn from this orchestra? Why can’t they quickly form fully functioning sub-teams when required to focus on a work problem as a matter of normal practice? Businesses tend to only do this when in a time of crisis, or when a significant change is occurring?

The key is typically the prevailing culture of the organisation and it originates directly from the top. The conductor (or CEO) may be rather spiffy at waving his baton in a rather flamboyant and glamorous manner, but if the orchestra (or managers) aren’t following in “tune”, then the result will be utter chaos.

The right business culture takes time to develop. Work teams need to feel empowered and confident that their input into the larger business issue is significant and will make a difference. For instance, if the percussionists in the MSO didn’t play in time with the rest of the orchestra, regardless of how impressive the rest of the musicians played, the result would be rather discordant.

Another requirement is a willingness to listen to your colleagues in an open and unhindered manner. The conductor of the MSO listened and accepted feedback and suggestions for improvement from the various musicians, each of them a brilliant instrumentalist in their own right (just like a technical or functional expert in the corporate office). If your CEO doesn’t do this, well, is your CEO the right person for your business?

When a business has the right culture in play, the performance is “music to your ears, your employees, and to your customers”.

Macabre Murderer of Marketing


The senior manager sat down exhausted in his large corporate black leather desk chair. The worn fabric felt so cool and relaxing as it snugged his body in a welcoming and inviting manner as it had done for the past thirty-five years.

He wiped the sweat from his forehead with his ragged company monogrammed handkerchief and looked at his hands now shaking with fear, thankfully he had achieved his objective before any “damage” had been done.

He carefully took out the black bound book that had lived in solitude and secrecy in his top desk draw and entered another name under the vast array of other recalcitrant employees that he had quietly “murdered” from a career perspective.

Yes, that was a close one he thought. If he hadn’t have acted, that employee might actually have changed the corporate status quo and may have injected some marketing creativity and innovation into the business. We can’t have that! But it was getting harder and harder to stop these employees infiltrating the company. He was also wondering what would happen when he retired at the end of the year. He was now despondent as he couldn’t find other younger employees that had the same unique business insight as him, nor his perceived flair of maintaining the existing corporate culture.

Mmmm, you might be thinking to yourself, as you may have already allocated a name to this senior manager in your business? If so, may I suggest that you publicly ‘call the behaviour” of these archaic and sorry individuals and lobby support amongst your colleagues to raise up a corporate mutiny for the long term betterment of your company! Don’t let this negative and destructive behaviour go unchallenged to avoid anymore creative casualties!

Sounds rather melodramatic doesn’t it? However, without creativity, innovation and marketing, it is the organisation as a whole that is suffocated as it loses the requisite lifeblood to ensure its longer term success and survival. May I suggest you don’t let this happen to yours, and if you see the signs of this occurring, try and quickly nip this potential “murder” in the corporate bud before it takes hold.

Just a thought to make you think that little bit differently.

Jockey Office Thoughts


The jockey adorned in an impressive satin quartered racing silk raised her white covered jodhpur pantalooned bottom above her mighty steed; her black crop was poised as she awaited the start of the race.

The masses that had come to see the great event cheered and shouted with such volume that the roar permeated throughout the racing track and the surrounding suburbs. It was so loud that those with hearing aids had to reduce the receptivity for fear of blowing the last remaining remnants of their fragile eardrums! The charming ladies looked absolutely gorgeous in their fashionable dresses and fancy stylish array of hats. The gentlemen all dressed in suits and bright ties complemented the occasion and looked quite spiffy. It was going to be a grand day out!

Once the race started, the booming announcer’s voice kept those punters informed on the status of their various Castillo boot cladded jockey as they competitively galloped in a rather uncomfortable looking postured position up high on their horses towards the winning post. For the winning jockey, the crowd would go wild, a voluminous frenzy would erupt and it was party time!

According to a “prominent blog writer”, a question now needs to be asked, and that is; “Why do such grand occasions not occur in the corporate office”? Why is it that when a new innovation is being developed, those employees working on it tend to sulk around the office in a mode of stealth. Is it for fear of failure, or perhaps that new innovations are not that exciting and interfere with the normal day-to-day business activities?

A “prominent blog writer” postulates that innovation should be greatly publicised within the corporate office. It should have the same sense of occasion and festivity associated with an important horse race. Those working on the innovation should be given a high profile and their progress broadcasted throughout the organization so all employees can feel part of the process of creativity and celebrate that winning feeling once the product/service is commercialised. So how do we do this? The key is communication and a function that lends itself nicely to those within your Corporate Affairs and Marketing teams. A “buzz of excitement” needs to be created and maintained along the innovation journey.

By the way, in case you are wondering, that “prominent blog writer” does not suggest that those members of the innovation teams should wear white jodhpur pants and silk shirts (OK, maybe the shirts, but definitely not the jodhpurs!), but it would make them a lot more visible within the organization?

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