That Rather Noticeable Tattoo

20140406-170424.jpg
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!!

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!