The Source is the Sauce

As Professor of Human Behaviour at a rather obscure, yet soon to be prestigious university in Melbourne, following many years of extensive sports science research, the sauce of human creativity has finally been identified. The answer is indeed sauce, not source, so relax all those with a grammatical accuracy phobia that immediately noticed what may have been a deliberate and cunning mistake in the previous sentence.

Have you ever been to an Australian Football League game and observed the passionate spectators with their Four’n’Twenty pies happily held, and well entrenched, in their frozen wind blown hands at the mighty Melbourne Cricket Ground (aka the ‘G’)? For those of you that haven’t experienced this first hand, the art of eating a hot meat pie is one that takes immense skill so as to not burn your mouth, lips and those seated around you, as the dangerous hot filling tends to unexpectedly ooze out from the crumbling pastry.

The academic study focused not on the pie, but the creative application of the sauce, to be precise, tomato sauce (or ketchup), that accompanies the football fanatics ritualistic eating process. After observing many a pie eater, it appears that there is a direct correlation between the individual’s saucing technique and their personality.

1. The Nozzle Plunger

This pie eater is one not to be messed with and takes life and work very seriously. These eaters plunge the plastic sauce bottle nozzle deeply into the pie and squeeze out volumes of thick crimson sauce that forces the encapsulating pastry almost to the point of exploding. They also like to deliberately leave their pie pastry remnants on the bottle nozzle as a reminder to those that are next in line, that they were there before them, and that there may not be much sauce left in the bottle for their pie. As such, it is best not to follow those that nozzle plunge, if at all possible.

2. The Swirler

These pie eaters are the creative types and take great pride in forming perfect concentric sauce circles on the upper pie crust. The bigger the circles, the more artistic the individual. However, there are some sauce swirlers that go to the extreme and end up with a fully coated soggy red layer on their pie. These people aren’t creative, they just have no self control and should not be put into a position of any authority in a work or social environment as it will just end up in a total mess.

3. One Bite, One Squirt

This person is very methodical and has excellent planning skills. When eating a pie, a well defined measure of sauce is strategically squirted onto the section of pie now freshly exposed following their bite. However, a word of caution as these eaters are not very sociable as they tend to hog the sauce bottle, and not share it owing to their demanding and very selfish sauce squirting schedule.

Now for those reading this blog overseas, particularly in those countries where the hot dog dominates consumption at sporting events, and alas, no meat pies are consumed, or available, relax, as the study results do have international application. Here, the academic researcher just has to observe the eater, and see how they utilise the condiments available, be they mustard, pickles, or other gourmet delicacies. The researcher will be required to attend many sporting events, but with time and patience, the results will be validated.

Yes, the source of a person’s personality profile is most definitely found in the sauce.

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….

And This Years Winner Is…..Teamwork

That One Day in September

Last weekend here in Melbourne it was the Grand Final of Australian Rules Football competition that involved the clash between two mighty football teams – Hawthorn and Fremantle. On the big day an audience of 100,000+ supporters sat in the famous and historical MCG stadium and cheered loudly as they encouraged their team towards victory with the goal of being the 2013 Premiers. However, only one team can be victorious and this year the winner was Hawthorn.

Prior, during and after the game, it is always interesting to observe the behaviours of the two team’s supporters. Each supporter dresses up in their football team’s club colours, waves team flags and provides “verbal encouragement” to their players, the opposition and particularly the umpires. Although the supporters have allegiance to their individual teams, after the game there is minimal malice and they depart on mass with “friendly” banter amongst their own supporters and those from the opposition team. In this instance, it could be said that the real winner was “football” as the game was a spectacular ending to yet another great football season that was enjoyed by all supporters of the game.

Let’s explore this team concept further in the corporate office. Many organizations are functionally structured into discrete work groups (marketing, sales, HR, production, etc), or business divisions, or via geography (Australia, Denmark, Japan). Over time, these groups tend to develop their own work culture and ethos that crafts and encourages certain good, and some bad behaviours. Unfortunately, this may also lead to an “us” and “them” mentality where one group tries to score points off another work group, just like in the game of football.

However, the key is for these work groups to recognise that there is one larger and more strategic team, that of the total organization. Sure, there can be a work group team credo under the direction of their General Manager (“team captain”), but only if the real winner is the overall business.

In football, it is the umpires role to keep order in the game and to administer and implement the rules to ensure an equal opportunity for all players. Taking this thought further, do we need to establish a band of independent “Behavioural Umpires (BU)” that freely roam the corporate organization calling poor intergroup teamwork with a series of Red, Yellow and Green “behaviour cards” and associated penalties?

For instance, a person given a “Yellow behavioural card” could be placed into a “behavioural sin-bin” for a day where they are forced to watch DVDs of greater teamwork effectiveness? Those awarded a “Red card” may need to spend a day working in the work group they have offended to learn about that team’s ways of “goodness”? However, the “Green card” would reward positive teamwork behaviour and could result in a financial incentive and other forms of recognition. The BU would have a special uniform, complete with a corporate branded whistle, so they are easily recognisable as they wander through the various work teams.

At the end of each financial year, the BUs could get together and have a “best and fairest” award for those employees deemed to have exhibited the optimum in teamwork excellence. There could even be a corporate dinner at a prestigious hotel to celebrate the occasion with a large and impressive trophy presented to the winner by the organization’s CEO.

So may I suggest that work teams never lose sight of the larger organization to ensure that the winner is always the one team, and not the individual!

Just a thought…..

 

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