Neck Attire, Post COVID-19

Errol Flyn

That gleeful time is fast approaching when we will all be allowed to return to the corporate office, albeit subject to the ongoing COVID-19 rules of social distancing. However, I for one, will be pleased to look my fellow co-workers directly in their computer weary eyes, rather than via an impersonal electronic screen. I am so over the repetitive hourly ritual of video conference calls!

Yes, for the past couple of months, we have all been judiciously working from home, but it’s now time to joyfully open up your clothes wardrobe and to rediscover your forgotten corporate business attire. Do you remember those crisply ironed business shirts, ties, suits, cuff-links and polished leather shoes?

But let’s reflect on your appearance, one that I suspect has slowly morphed from that of a snappy, fashionable, stylish dresser, to that of a casual, rather haphazard, creature of home comfort. It is also likely that the concept of enclosing your unhindered neck with a business tie is furthest from your current Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, in fact, you may have forgotten that well-practiced past art of manoeuvring the slender sewn fabric into a knot that miraculously resembled the legendary half, or full Windsor.

However, relax, as a fashionable alternative to the business tie is available to those that are authentic seekers of true neck freedom that accommodates the continued yearning for casualness following weeks of home incarceration.

The answer is the cravat.

This clever piece of clothing is ready and willing to fill the void on any business shirt wearer’s neck, be they male, or female. Besides looking decidedly eye-catching to any sophisticated observer, the cravat can be loosely tied, thereby giving the wearer that wanted feeling of lasting comfort.

The cravat has been in existence since the 16th century, and will undoubtedly continue for many more, which is not surprising considering its remarkable ability to complement the attire of any astute wearer.

So, as you prepare for your return to the corporate office, quickly go online, or into any clothing store of good repute, and purchase at least one cravat, and with time, you will quickly be a convert, and one that is deemed by your fellow workers to have impeccable fashion taste.

The Cohabitation Code of Bear Conduct

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I understand that you adults now need to spend time working from home, but let’s get things straight, there needs to be rules. For many years, we Teddy Bears have lived in peace and quiet whilst you grown-ups have gone to work and had a human life. Well, if we are going to spend more days together, or potentially weeks in close proximity, things need to change.

As such, we, your Teddy Bears have banded together and have developed a Cohabitation Code of Bear Conduct. If you don’t obey it, we will be leaving your household as we are immune to any virus, so the loser in this relationship will be you, not us!

Video Conferencing
There is no need to shout. From our comfortable abode of sitting centrally on your bed in between the pillows, we can hear everything you say, even with our paws covering our ears. So please use a normal indoor voice. Yes, the microphone on your computer is working.

Clothing
Pyjamas were designed as night time wear, not for use during the day. And for those of you that think that you are clever by wearing a business shirt on your top half, with a pyjama bottom under the desk, everyone knows what you are doing so the only fool in the room is you.

Teddy Bear Attire
Yes, we bears typically wear no clothes. We are comfortable in our nudity, particularly as we have “no private parts” to interfere with any gender identity. However, you humans need to think twice about copying our lack of clothing standards. What is acceptable in the corporate office must apply during the work day hours. We don’t care what you do in the evenings as is portrayed by the continual glazed look of neutral non-interest that we have carefully mastered after years of human behavioural observation.

Sneezing and Coughing
Teddy Bears don’t like baths, particularly soap. As such, we do not like being sneezed or coughed upon and request that you keep a handkerchief in close proximity at all times when you are working.

Throwing
We don’t mind sitting next to your work desk, in fact, we enjoy the social interaction, but please don’t throw us when we are accidentally seen by your computer camera during a video conference call. Everyone has a Teddy Bear, so relax, it’s OK for us to be seen, and we promise not to say anything that might undermine your professional standing with your colleagues.

So, if you want a happy life whilst working at home, the answer is indeed simple. Just follow these five Cohabitation Code of Bear Conduct rules and you and your Teddy Bear will get along just fine. We might even let you give us a hug, even if you break one of them by mistake, so everyone is a winner!

The Corporate Cubby House

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Should you be the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) of a large corporate organisation that has been tasked with the development of an innovation culture that is truly unique, and one that actually works, then just sit back in your comfortable, expensive leather desk chair as you already know the answer.

The solution is indeed simple. Just go back in time to when you were an adventurous, carefree and potentially naive eight year old who made a decision with your closest friends to build a cubby house.

In case the number of years from when you were eight has become slightly diminished with age, time, and tad too much requisite social sobriety, let me summarize the process that you may have followed.

The Plan
No, you did not have sufficient pocket money to engage a global consultancy organisation to make a vast array of recommendations for you, there were definitely no Powerpoint presentations, nor large committees, you and your mates just decided to do it.

The Selection Criteria
You looked upwards and identified the best tree that could provide you with sufficient height that your dog, little sister or brother, parents, and enemies could not physically assail without personal difficulty.  In CIO speak, these individuals could be classified as the competition.

Resources
This was your initial demonstration of innovation. At first glance, you had nothing, but with a bit of foraging through your parent’s workshops, gardens and potentially those of your neighbors (the term stealing never came into your vocabulary when you were eight), you had all that you required.

Construction
Yes, there was risk, there was failure, and some cuts and bruises, but with persistence you managed to build a structure way up high in the branches that met your immediate needs.

Evolution
As the cubby house fell apart with the passing of days, or as your group of trusted compatriots expanded in number, you found yourselves continually experimenting with new ideas, some driven by necessity (as the rain poured through an unsealed roof). However, the key is to remember how your innovation and creativity could never be extinguished, nor limited in any way, as there was always a solution to any problem.

Status Quo
Once the Cubby House had been in operation for a prescribed period of time (normally dictated by the end of the school holidays), you didn’t rest on your laurels, but you and your mates sought out other new and exciting challenges. You utilized your experience to build bigger and better structures, after all, you were eight, going on nine, and you had many ideas, and much mischief to make!
Now back to you, the CIO.

The solution: Just release those long standing corporate shackles of conservatism and visualize you at the age of eight, and all the innovation that you, and your organisation will ever need will be revealed.

Grey is Great

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For many a year now, many a woman, and some men, have deliberately disguised their prominent locks of grey with a variety of colours considered by society to be more youthful. These hairs may be located on their head, or on other parts of the body that are deemed public, or carefully concealed from a potentially judgemental view.

But for all those that habitually eradicate the grey, it’s time to break the habit and to let your years of follicular experience freely permeate into its grand, and long overdue fullness.

Grey has the mistaken perception of being neutral, boring and lacking colour and vigour. However, this is indeed a palate of naivety and ignorance. In fact, grey embellishes all the trials, tribulations and success associated with a lifetime of true innovation.

Consider the colour blue which has relished the joy of being linked to unhindered thought. Yes, blue provides a perception of boundless insights, but is it the common colour of hair choice in the corporate office? The answer being a resounding no.

Those employees with red hair are uniquely labelled as having certain distinctive personality traits that demonstrate vitality, fun and a willingness to try new experiences. If you have ever worked with a red head in your team, it will be a truly memorable experience and one that will be missed when absent.

The blonde (or yellow) haired co-worker has a range of attributes that exudes a range of desirable qualities which makes their presence a popular choice, so much so that they are synonymous with the term “blondes have more fun”.

Yes, the colours blue, red and yellow have all individually had their place for those that seek the attainment of creativity, as is seen by many an employee dabbling with a hair dye colour application that reflects this desire of follicle ownership.

But what happens if you combine all the knowledge contained within these three colours in equal proportions? The result is the colour grey. Yes, grey.

Grey hair is the colour that should be applauded as it signifies that this person readily portrays an accumulated knowledge base that would benefit any credible organisation.

So, should you be wanting to identify the innovative employees in your company, look for those that have the grey coloured hairs as they possess exactly what you are seeking.

Yes, Grey is Great.

 

Forget the Clean Desk Policy, Go Messy!

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For many years, employees in the corporate office have been told to have a clean desk at the end of their working day. However, for those numerous recalcitrants of unhindered mess that have deliberately not heeded the instruction, relax, as you are indeed the wise ones!

Yes, according to a soon to be prestigious university, in the not too distant future, some ground-breaking research will be remarkably discovered under copious reams of randomly scattered papers deeply buried on the Professor’s desk.

Although the handwriting will be a tad illegible, the key findings will be indisputable.

Finding 1: Dementia
A messy desk requires the owner to have a phenomenal memory in knowing exactly in which pile that unique piece of paper scribble written more than 6 months ago had been placed. A clean desk provides no such opportunity to test and improve your mental memory faculties.

Finding 2: Thinking Time
If you add up all the time that an employee wastes in tidying up their desk at the end of each day, you would immediately rescind the instruction. Messy employees are blessed with having additional time for strategic thinking by not wasting their valuable intellect in work distracting activities such as cleanliness.

Finding 3: The Purge
Those with a messy desk are not presented with the potential threat of discarding an important document on a daily basis. They have a more cunning and clever methodology where their entire desktop is typically purged on an annual basis. Afterall, if a paper hasn’t been touched once during that time period, then by default it can be deemed not important and can be happily placed in the recycle bin without any hesitation or doubt.

Finding 4: Security
Now this is the mistaken crux of the clean desk policy, that being, that an unwanted intruder won’t be tempted to steal a document that cannot be seen. But this is where the messy desk has a distinct advantage in that the patience of the industrial spy will be tested to the point of severe frustration as they willingly give up searching for that prized paper gem, owing to the severe lack of order and ingeniously unfathomable filing system.

Now when you add all these four masterly findings together, the true source of the research is disclosed, that being innovation. Yes, if you want to promote an innovation mindset in your corporate office, you should actively encourage mess.

Yes, mess is indeed the best.

 

For Seekers of Sleep

Tired lady napping on airplane.

For those that have recently travelled on a long-haul flight in what is dis-affectionately known as “Regrettable Class” (RC), or more commonly classified as “Economy”, you will vividly appreciate the nerve-wrecking perils associated with the simple act of trying to go to sleep.

Unlike those First or Business Class passengers snuggly residing in their seats of decadence where they can nonchalantly stretch out to quickly achieve a state of blissful slumber, the hapless RC traveller enjoys has no such luxury.

These sleep disadvantaged people who make of the bulk of the passengers, reside well at the back of the plane, strategically out of sight of those with the larger and more comfortable seats. Those with the RC allocated Boarding Pass must endure hours of slumber torment before they can eventually stagger off the aircraft in their unwelcome zombie state.

Now should you be the CEO of a large international airline fleet, I would suggest you take notice as the following comments may alleviate an array of potential lawsuits that may soon be coming your way. In the world of equal human rights, the plane may indeed be the last bastion of inhumane class demarcation, particularly when it comes to the parity of sleep.

The RC Seat
Should you be a contortionist, the painfully narrow RC seats provided will ensure your complete satisfaction. However, if you reside in the other 99.99% of the world’s population, you will be greatly disappointed. To put it bluntly, after being reluctantly strapped into these seats for 17+ hours, a jagged boulder is decidedly more enticing to your gluteus maximus and will provide a far greater opportunity for restful slumber.
To make matters worse, the seats are not evenly balanced, so one bottom cheek is never in vertical harmony with the other which can lead to other potential problems, particularly after consuming a tad too many meals.
Following many thousands of years of practical research, mankind seems to agree that the best method for attaining a successful sleep is to lay down in the horizontal position which might explain the phenomenal design success of the bed. But, for some strange reason, airlines like to awkwardly strap the RC passenger into a slender fitting seat with the economic knowledge that they just know better.

The Snorer
Now should the RC passenger actually manage to beat the extremely one-sided odds positioned against them and do mysteriously achieve an unexpected hour of exhaustion induced sleep, there is always the loud snorer who abruptly ends the long-awaited erratic experience.
Yes, it’s time for those that snore to be placed into an isolated soundproof section of the plane where they can expel those noisy audible tones in reckless cacophony. As a suggestion, this could be near the lavatories where they could compete with the explosive air gust vacuum thud of the onboard toilet flush.

The Solution?
If you have ever travelled in a submarine, the answer is obvious, that being, the bunk. Just think about the advantages, the most obvious one being the horizontal aspect which happily facilitates and encourages sleep.
A sleeping RC passenger will also require less food, mainly because they are contently unconscious.
Bunks would also assist with space optimisation, complete with the added benefit of providing greater social interaction for those who like to engage with other like minded passengers in an array of mutually agreeable activities.

So, should you be an RC passenger reading this blog post, may I suggest that you participate in your preferred choice of social media and ask your habitually flown airline to consider the above suggestions (in my instance, Qantas). And who knows, maybe one day in the not too distant future, RC class will no longer be the trepidation of any sleep seeking traveller?

Sweet dreams.

 

It just feels so Good!

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It just feels so good! Yes, it’s that glorious sensation you experience when eagerly opening that pristine door for the very first time as your nose is gleefully engulfed with those joyous automotive wofts associated with that new car interior. The exciting mood continues as you place your eagerly awaiting bottom into that virgin seat with the knowledge that you are indeed the first. You run your hands in a circular motion, anticlockwise, then clockwise, as you gingerly grip the steering wheel with each of your probing fingers where you slowly discover every notch and groove. Out on the road, you smile with snug satisfaction as all parts of the car work in harmonious unison as you carefully navigate the surrounding traffic with a self-imposed mode of cautious stealth. The feeling lasts for an unmeasured while, and then without notice, unfortunately, stops. You have now reached the stage of habitual blaséness where that initial feeling of excitement has regrettably diminished into nothingness. It’s now just a car.

Many an innovative organisation initially commence their operations with that “new car feeling”, but alas, over time, and particularly with success, that blasé nonchalant state gradually permeates throughout the structure leading to creative stagnation. So, what’s the solution?

Think of that car again, but this time focus on all the scheduled, and the occasional unplanned maintenance that is required to keep it humming in a state of perpetual driving bliss. This can take the form of mechanical, structural or aesthetic adjustments, all are required, and need ongoing investment, otherwise it ends up doomed on the scrap heap soon to be forgotten.

Innovation needs ongoing investment to stimulate and maintain the creative machinations of the business. All departments working in the organisation need to finely tuned, continually aligned, and supplemented with that combustible spark of ideation, otherwise it will slowly come to a resistant state of undesirable lethargy. However, sometimes an organisation needs to trade in the old ways of doing business and upgrade to a newer and more inspirational model. If so, don’t be scared to let your employees experience that wonderful new car smell, particularly as some of the newer ones may have never savoured that joy, and those longer serving ones, well, they may need a strong nasal refresher!

So if you want to maintain that ongoing pleasant innovation woft in your business, make sure you keep it well maintained and stimulated, otherwise, you might as well get a horse and get used to a slower, and rather more odorous form of reduced creativity.

Is there Bacon on your Fork of Innovation?

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A chicken or a pig, which animal best aligns with your business culture of innovation?

Yes, I’m sure you have all heard the metaphor about the making of an egg and bacon breakfast where it is said that “the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed”.

Many organisations are brilliant at cracking an egg or two, and then conjuring up many visually innovative dishes that at first glance look most appealing to their employees, be they “scrambled, poached, boiled, fried, or an omelette”. But after a while, these “eggy” dishes all become a little bit blasé, boring and lacking substance, and eventually their staff lose interest and seek something more fulfilling.

But what your employees are really hungry for is an innovation culture that requires something more to chew on, one that adds greater taste variety and longer-term nutrient sustainability.

Enter the pig.

The pig is a key ingredient in the making of this traditional breakfast meal, but to obtain the bacon, this animal is well and truly committed to the innovation cause as there is no turning back once the decision has been made to proceed.

Many businesses like to dabble in the development of an innovation culture and are masters of a variety of egg dishes where the cost of involvement is not deemed too great, nor demanding, and one that can be readily communicated, just like the glossy breakfast images found in a cooking magazine.

But innovation is hard work, takes true commitment, and is not just an eggy breakfast meal, but one that is much more substantial and complex.

Ongoing business innovation needs a variety of ingredients that are tailored to the changing tastes of the organisation, be they bacon, mushrooms, fried tomatoes, or even sourdough toast smeared with lashings of vegemite. The key is to continually try new flavours, even add a spice or two to maintain a vibrancy in the palate of your staff so they are constantly longing for additional innovation nourishment, and a fulfilling eating experience to ensure that they want to sit at the corporate breakfast table again, and again. However, some of these ingredients may initially taste slightly bitter, or too salty, and the breakfast meal may require many preparation steps, but the innovation journey demands time, work and a willingness to experiment in order to be successful.

So should the innovation culture in your organisation be aligned too much with the chicken, then it’s time to put some bacon on your corporate fork and be truly committed to the longer term.

 

PS: For those of the vegan persuasion, apologies! If you know of a similar metaphor based not on animals, I would welcome the feedback.

The Aqua Suit

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For those currently experiencing the intense summer heat here in Australia you will understand that once all your clothes have been removed, there is no additional possibility of any extra cooling. Once you are naked, you are indeed naked.

The only remaining temperature survival option available to you is to place yourself in a chilly pre-prepared air-conditioned room, or fully immerse yourself in the nearest available pool, river or ocean.

However, should you be the wise owner of an Aqua Suit, you will be impervious to the heat, humidity, and any hot climatic air currents that may permeate your vicinity.

The Aqua Suit is unlike any conventional suit that you have ever worn. Its uniqueness lies in the 10-centimetre water layer that is cleverly entrapped between the inner impervious fabric that is comfortably touching your skin, and the outer protective coating. To keep the water cooled, there is a nifty thermostat discretely positioned in the stylish waist belt that can be set to your desired temperature comfort. An inbuilt turbine quietly pumps the cooling water solution around every part of your body to ensure full thermal satisfaction.

No need to worry about embarrassing leaks when in public as the Aqua Suit is made from a tough flexible fabric that can be purchased in an array of fashionable cloth like appearances, so you will confidently look the part at any social engagement.

Is there any noise? Not really, only a small sloshing sound that could quite easily be assumed as your stomach gurgling post an impressive eating or drinking session.

Will I look a tad chubby in the Aqua Suit? Put it this way, once you have explained the cooling benefits you are experiencing, you will immediately be the envy of all your friends so any thoughts of overweight negativity will be quickly dispersed.

Where can you buy one? Any reputable swimming pool shop should be able to assist you with your enquiry. However, if by some strange reason they haven’t heard of the Aqua Suit, or if they give you a raised eyebrow look of surprise, then you can contact the author of this blog post who, for a small fee, will happily lead you in the appropriate direction of cooling fulfilment.

So don’t be hot this summer, just get your body into an Aqua Suit and, feel the cool.

The CEO’s New Clothes

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It was day one of the new CEO’s appointment. A rather traditional dark grey suit, pristine white shirt, black medium length socks, complete with matching leather polished shoes were carefully selected by the incumbent for the momentous occasion. He looked resplendent as he beamingly sat behind his large impressive desk in a voluminous office that just oozed with status and authority. Yes, he was indeed the man!

As the week progressed, all of his direct reports, collectively, and individually, sat opposite him in business attire that directly mirrored his conservative fashion prowess, complete with continual nods of unquestionable beaming loyal approvals.

In a similar manner, their subordinates also quickly followed suit and continued the same fashion replication to the point where each employee now looked like a cloned version of their manager.

Now, the CEO was no fool, in fact, far from it, and a cunning plan of innovation was carefully hatched. From that day forth, he decided to wear the exact same clothes for a month. No item of clothing would be changed, apart from those that respectively should not be mentioned.

Over the days and weeks, a certain grubbiness came to gradually prevail over his attire, complete with an ensuing woft of persona that slowly increased with intensity.

He noticed with a somewhat predictable consternation a look of increasing shabbiness now starting to prevail throughout the entire organisation. Those pristine white shirts of his executive team were now witness to numerous blotches of large brown coffee stains, there were accumulated smears from too many self-indulgent lunches and dinners, and the severely wrinkled corporate flannel was now more noticeably beige in colour than white.

At the end of the month, the CEO thankfully wore a fresh set of clothes, and a quiet shout of thankful glee was heard rippling throughout the entire organisation, also from their customers, whose numbers had correspondingly dwindled over the weeks due to a severe lack of attention on their business.

Packaged in the sweet fresh smell of his new clothing attire, the crafty CEO now strategically pondered the learnings from the last four weeks from a perspective of corporate innovation:

  1. An organisation that has a workforce of clones is doomed to fail.
  2. Never mask any prevailing wofts, be they good or bad, that quickly permeate throughout the business as they are a clue that something is indeed amiss.
  3. Never wear the same clothes each day as personal creativity is the source of true innovation.
  4. Surround yourself with loud vocal thinkers, not those that quietly nod in constant agreement.

The following month, a brief memo from the CEO was quickly distributed advising that “a large number of the executive team had unanimously decided to pursue other career interests and that they had now left the building”.

From that day forth a plethora of brightly coloured paisley shirts, bespoke tailored suits, and even the occasional pair of spiffy shorts, were commonly seen thereby ensuring the ongoing innovation success of this particular company.

So should you be a CEO reading this blog post, do take note as the key to innovation does indeed lie within your wardrobe, and that of your employees.