Vanilla Flavoured Diversity

My Primary Workhorse

Signed……Steven Cramer. The black ink that had just permeated from my treasured fountain pen was almost dry on my new employment contract. I gleefully looked once again at the document, and then with an eager and expectant smile on my face, I carefully folded the paper, placed it in the reply-paid envelope and put it aside ready to be posted to my new employer.

All of us have at some stage in our working careers have experienced the excitement associated with starting a job with a new corporate organization, or a new role within your existing company. Prior to us starting this new role, we have many ideas and thoughts on how and what we are going to achieve, we do not impose any limitations, nor do we expect the organization or our fellow colleagues to hamper any progress on the attainment of these objectives.

Unfortunately, many of us after a few years working for the same organization lose this positive and creative persona and slowly morph into a common and accepted form of corporate behaviour where any diversity of thought is progressively extinguished. The result is a “vanilla flavoured” corporate culture that is prevalent in many corporate company’s today.

But does this need to be the case?

A thought.
Why do we not ask all new employees to write down their career aspirations on what they would like to achieve prior to the first day of their employment? This untainted document could then be stored for a period of time (say 3-5 years) following which it is then opened and reread by the employee and discussed with a senior member of the management team. It would be interesting for the employee to see how their enthusiasm has been maintained or even increased over the time period, or has it been severely hindered? If the latter, then what has caused this negativity and how could the corporate culture be improved to encourage and foster a greater diversity of thought?

Many companies talk about the concept of diversity, but are quite content to operate in the “vanilla flavoured” business environment. When a new employee starts, they may be flavoured “strawberry, blueberry, or even have lumps of chocolate” diffusing through their personality. But after a period of time, this creative flavour may have been slowly purged and replaced with the approved corporate taste. If an organization truly values diversity, why focus on the attainment of the “vanilla”?

There are many great benefits to a company if their employees do think that little bit differently, particularly with respect to innovation which could be utilised in a variety of different areas such as new product development, improvements in service offering or potential business expansions outside the traditional norm? If all employees think the same way (“vanilla”), then opportunities for innovation and creativity will be severely restricted.

So next time you are about to start a new role, may I suggest that you capture your thoughts and aspirations and revisit them later in your working career. The rereading might be quite enlightening, particularly for you, and your organization?

The Innovation Index

2 stars

When seeking out an exciting restaurant to savour and appreciate some fine gourmet delights, the dining patron has the ability to select an appropriate eating establishment via an internationally recognised rating system characterised by the number of “Michelin Stars”. The higher the number of “stars”, the greater the eating experience!

Wouldn’t it be great to have a rating system along the lines of the “Michelin Stars” for a corporate organization’s culture of innovation? (As a suggestion, these ratings could be called the “Innovation Index”, or some other creative innovative name..)

“Innovation Index”:
1 = Boring and very conservative workplace
2 = The workplace is innovative now and then
3 = There are times of brilliance, but not consistent
4 = Wow!!!

The “Innovation Index” could be promoted in the organization’s internal and external communications, websites and could even be stencilled under the company name in their registered offices.

Job seekers could use the “Innovation Index” to identify potential employers of choice, and those to keep well away from?

How would your company rate on the “Innovation Index”?

An improved CV

Caught in the Cube

I don’t think that the traditional Curriculum Vitae (CV) does justice for the person it is trying to represent, I believe that it is time for an improved version that I will call the “Creative Visualization”. So what is this new “CV” you may ask?

This “CV” would be interactive and would provide the following key attributes:

– A 3D representation of the person. The reader could see their face, facial expressions, head, body and how they would look in various clothing (eg suit, work uniform, etc)

– Conversation. The reader could ask a limited range of questions and get answers on the person’s work experience and other qualifications. Similarly, the person could ask the reader a selection of basic questions about their organisation and management style so see how this would suit their work style.

– References. These would be visual testimonials from other employers or key people that would provide real situational examples to support the person’s work style and experience.

– Next steps. There would be links to both the reader and the person’s diaries to lock in a meeting date which could be done via Skype, FaceTime, or in person.

Now this to me is a much better “CV”!