These Feet are on My Beach!

Miina

Old speedos and my faded blue seersucker shirt were not the appropriate choice of clothing for my daily 5 AM walk along the beach this morning. I was feeling decidedly cold, windblown and wet, but I wouldn’t have changed it for all the money in the world (well, maybe for $2M I could be swayed?). These magical moments alone on the beach were my time for quiet solitude where I could consider life, the universe, and those things really important to me (like what to have for breakfast?). However, this particular morning, I was not alone!

Yes, my private thoughtful beach sojourn had been violated by the presence of another person’s feet. I could see the evidence of their self-righteous, pompous, egocentric footprints in the sand! How dare they, I thought, this was my beach! After a few minutes my annoyance began to decline (mainly because I was freezing) and my mind started to ponder the identity of this mysterious and cheeky individual.

On looking at their footprints, I could determine that it was a slender foot, most likely that of an adult, but I couldn’t tell their age, sex, nor whether they might be an interesting person to engage with in a constructive dialogue. But, I needed to know why they were on my beach, at my sacred time in the morning, so I decided to follow the footprints and track them down. I was in luck as the waves had not erased the foot trail of evidence. I was on a mission now and my walking speed increased, particularly as I could just make out a figure in the distance wearing a red bathing costume and a bright matching red beanie. I started to run as I was now nearing the owner of those feet. However, as I was drawing significantly nearer, I immediately stopped as I thought I may have the appearance of a depraved minimalist fashion beach stalker and could be a tad frightening for those you didn’t know me. I was so close, yet so far from the origin of those footprints!

But then, the owner of the feet turned around, paused, sighted my beach attire and walked straight to me! I froze and the next thing I heard was “Good morning, great morning for a walk. Do you come here often? My name is Susan by the way.” For the next 30 minutes we got to know each other as we shared our common like for the beach and other topics of mutual interest (including breakfast).

I was so pleased that I had explored those footprints and not just blankly looked at them as I focused on my private walk of thought that morning. Unfortunately, we are often too absorbed in our own personal affairs to take the time to explore new events and unknown people around us. Sometimes, it takes effort, persistence and a lot of work to seek out these new experiences, but it will most definitively benefit you, and the other owners of the footprints you encounter.

Go on, give the exploration of “new feet” a go!

Business Basics: Beach, Balls, Bats and Bathers

A family plays beach cricket at Byron Bay

As you stroll along many Australian seaside beaches in summer you are bound to come across a group of people playing cricket on the sand. The official name for this game is “Beach Cricket”.

The customary uniform for Beach Cricket is typically minimal and encompasses a range of different coloured and sized speedos, bikinis, hats, sunglasses and the frequent application of sunblock. The rules will vary depending on beach locality and the skill set of the players, but for that optimum scoring opportunity, a large hit by the batsman into the sea normally provides the best result!

There is usually no participant exclusion to the game as with more people, the easier it is to play, particularly when fielding the ball on the soft hot sand in your bare feet. Those wanting to play do not need a formal invitation. The accepted custom is to simply walk up and ask “Can I join in and play?” The response is unquestionably “Yep, sure thing, just take a fielding position out in the sand, or sea”. I personally like the sea, as it provides the maximum opportunity for extreme laziness, body cooling and water flotation!

The game may last for hours, or until the ball is absconded by a passing dog frolicking on the sand, but the result is a great time for all.

If we look at the game of Beach Cricket from a corporate office perspective there are some important strategic learnings.

In Beach Cricket there are no exclusions, cliques or private groups that filter member participation. Each new player is welcomed regardless of whether their skill set is minimal or vastly experienced. So why not have this same employee involvement philosophy in business? Is it that we are too self conscious to join in, or too scared that we may “drop the ball”, or are we a little too selective about having the “right” people” in our work team?

As with Beach Cricket, when people feel welcome and valued regardless of their ability, they tend to enjoy the team spirit, the sense of belonging and throw themselves into the required objective (which occurs quite literally when fielding the ball on the sand and in the water) with an unrestricted level of enthusiasm. Many of the team participants may discover some hidden talents when provided with the opportunity “to play”, others may watch and learn from the more experienced and skilled members of the team, either way, the result is beneficial to all.

So next time your office work team starts to have that all too familiar “dysfunctional look”, may I suggest you grab a ball, a cricket bat and head for the beach! If your team is located in the cooler climates, you are allowed to swap the swimming bathers for some more suitable and warmer clothing attire, and if the ball is hit deliberately into the cold ocean water, may I suggest the cheeky batsman be ruled as out and they be asked to field the ball themselves!

The Holiday Room

Swim

“I really need a holiday, but I’m too busy to have one!”

I’m sure that you have all heard this phrase in your places of work. Many people are tired, stressed and in need of a break from work to unwind and relax. The problem is finding the time to get away.

The solution is the establishment of a “Holiday Room” in the office.

In the winter months, this room would contain bright lights, sand, ocean music, a small bathing pool and beach umbrellas. Employees dressed out in bathing suits, sunglasses and beach towels, would be able to book the “Holiday Room” for a private or communal sharing session in hourly time blocks to “get away from it all”.

In the summer months, the “Holiday Room” could be refrigerated with snow, an ice-cold bubbling water pool complete with plastic penguins floating on the surface and a variable speed wind machine.

Of course, there are many options available for the “Holiday Room” depending on the variety of tastes and cultures of the employees.

I’m sure that an experience in the “Holiday Room”, although not quite the real thing, would assist with employee relaxation and lead to a happier and more production work environment!

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