Seek the Buzz

29-298049_honey-bee-beehive-clip-art-honey-bee-clipart-png

It is said that the taste of success is sweet, but it is the culmination of a great deal of tireless organizational movement, just like that found in a beehive. In fact, business can learn a great deal from the sticky activities of the humble bee.

The CEO, or “Queen Bee” establishes the colony and sets the direction and longevity for its future. However, if the Queen Bee gets a tad tired and lacks the support of the total bee population, the hive will swarm and the the life of the CEO bee will indeed become short lived.

Some General Managers are like “Drones” where they happily lounge about in a state of privilege where others do their work and continually feed them with inspiration. However, their prestigious life is short lived because once they have done the “deed” with the Queen and are no longer required, they are quickly made redundant and their functions are absorbed into the food chain of the colony as a legacy for its long term sustenance.

The majority of employees are the “Worker Bees” of the business who keep the financial entity fully buzzing in a state of harmonious order, and with a continual influx of much needed inspiration from the outside market.

Occasionally “The Board” comes along and smokes out the business via regular inspections to ensure the hive is operating effectively. Any areas of concern are swiftly removed awaiting the required correction, which may be a new Queen Bee.

The output from the business is deemed “honey” which can be sold to the market for cash where it is used as a core ingredient to drive recipes of innovation in a range of applications.

Occasionally pests and other undesirable vermin may try and infiltrate the hive. Should they be successful, they are like a virus that is difficult to eliminate. Hence the need for a trusty IT guard at the hive entrance to keep those classified as unwelcome well and truly away.

So to achieve a meaningful buzz in your corporate office, it is important to make sure that every employee knows their strategic role in the honeycomb structure. And should one bee, regardless of their stature hierarchy, flap their wings out of the requisite corporate vibration, they will quickly encounter a rather unsavoury end to their corporate career. For others, life will be blissfully delicious.

 

The “Proof Level”

ac

What do alcohol and innovation have in common? The “Proof Level”.

Those connoisseurs of the occasional, or even the frequent, alcoholic beverage would be familiar with the concept of %-proof which indicates the alcohol content by volume. For example, 100-proof whisky contains 50% alcohol. The higher the alcoholic content, the more “oomph” in the beverage.

Just like a good whisky, a culture of innovation can be determined in the corporate office by measuring its proof level, which is known by many leading behavioural psychologists as the “IPL” (aka Innovation Proof Level).

For those companies that have a dynamic and highly stimulating innovation culture, they would be nearing the 100-IPL mark where at least 50% of their employees are deemed as being creative. A business that scores a 50-IPL, only a quarter of their staff have what it takes to drive and support their culture of innovation. For those with 0-IPL, alas, we are typically talking about the public service.

So what are the pros and cons associated with a high IPL organisation?

  • The employees are found to be very friendly and seem to happily interact, albeit some may occasionally step over the line with respect to the acceptable HR behavioural guidelines
  • New concepts are readily accepted with minimal resistance, although some may be regretted the following day
  • Corporate dress standards may become a tad shabby, particularly near 5 PM
  • Some employees may seek opportunities for quiet slumber at their desk, or discretely under it, complete with a corporate logo emblazoned pillow, blanket and bright light filtering face-mask

Similarly, for those working in an antiquated establishment where a 0-IPL commonly prevails?

  • An inability to pick up the phone until at least the 20th ring
  • A slurring of words ensuring that the customer gives up with feeling of frustration
  • A late start in the morning, complete with an early finish owing to a constant headache
  • A monotone speech pattern with a large lack of enthusiasm

So for those of you thirsting for innovation, the remedy is to have a large corporate glass filled to the brim with a refreshing 100-IPL content beverage.  However, make sure that you consume it slowly in order to avoid unwanted creative side effects that may linger long into the following morning.

Cheers!

Those Pesky Weeds of Innovation

ht-dwp-5-tips-control-weeds-lead

As CEO of a large, conservative company that has been in operation for over a century with little or no business growth, how do you know if you have those pesky weeds of innovation in your business? The following are some clues to help you quickly identify them before they can take root and grow.

Ideas: Should you hear an employee uttering the blasphemous words “I have an idea”, then they need to be dismissed immediately before that frightening innovation virus can contaminate your workforce.

Fashion: Luckily these recalcitrant employees are easily identifiable by their annoying clothes, colourful shirts, bow-ties and the occasional hat. Just ask HR to quietly usher them to the exit with minimal fuss.

Laughter: Fun in the office should definitely not be tolerated and should result in the employee being speedily placed on disciplinary action with the threat of instantaneous termination for a repeat offence.

Unauthorised Fonts: Yes, there are strict corporate guidelines that must be followed. Any employee daring to use any other font rather than the long standing and approved black Times New Roman needs to be quickly educated on the 100 year old corporate values that have served the company well, and are based on tradition.

Customers: Any customer having the nerve to complain about our products not meeting their requirements do not deserve the privilege of being supplied by us, after all, we know what’s best for their business. How dare they tell us otherwise!

Career: Any employee seeking clarification on their future within our business obviously does not appreciate the honour of working for us (or should I say for me).

My fellow CEOs, hopefully the above insights have provided you with sufficient information to nippily identify any annoying employees that might be creative, or have mad ambitions of creating a culture of innovation in your company. The key is to act swiftly before their offensive ideas can take hold and spread. God forbid!

Quod Erat Demonstrandum

 

A Dog’s Tail of Innovation

Dog-Irish_Terrier-The_characteristic_wiry,_blonde_beard_of_an_Irish_Terrier

My name is Rufus and, yes, I’m a dog, to be precise, an Irish terrier. I’ve been asked by my owner to explain the basic fundamentals of innovation to you humans. Apparently, you have made such a simple concept, so complex.

My formal qualifications? None. Except, I have fully mastered the requisite innovation skills to a point where everyone looks after me, so much so, that I do indeed have a wonderful dog’s life. I have no overrated and rather superfluous human academic skills, no Doctorate or Masters degrees, I have just sniffed things out, and have learnt by experience.

So what’s my formula to achieve innovation success? Simple, just be a dog.

Now I know that you don’t have any paws, phenomenal hearing, a superb woof, nor a sophisticated sense of odour recognition, but that’s just some of the inherent negatives that you regrettably have to put up with by being human. A dog has all of these, and does one important thing that humans appear to have lost the art of doing, that being, to use all of our skills without actually having to consciously think about using them, we just naturally do it.

A dog will happily follow an adventurous smell, not knowing where it may lead us. We don’t plan the route we may follow, we just use our noses to locate the object of interest, and if further investigation is required, we dig.

When was the last time you literally followed your nose and let your unhindered dog-like inquisitive interest take control? I suspect not that often, as from my dog perspective, you all appear to live and work in a professional world where there are strict processes and protocols to be observed.

Humans seem to spend an exorbitant amount of time sitting in front of the TV, computer, phone, reading or eating. Why not come out and spend more time with me, and together, we can smell the roses, and dig some massive holes together? I assure you, it will be fun, and with time, I’m sure you will get a taste for it.

So if you want to develop an innovation culture in your corporate office, just unleash the dog in you, have a good sniff, and make sure that you woof out loudly.

 

Innovation that Works Out

shutterstock_1117032572

On doing a rather nonchalant and hopefully surreptitious visual comparison, mine was definitely the most hairy and very much the plumpest. The young woman on the machine next to me was the personification of goddess perfection, flat stomach, not a mark of perspiration, and any skerrick of anything that remotely resembled fat was just a fictitious illusion of a historical redundant memory.

We both looked around the room that was thumping to the beat of numerous high powered eardrum splitting musical chords harmoniously bumping in unison with an array of complex mechanical contraptions, all emblazoned with men and women of a diverse range of skills and ages.

Some were adorned in the latest skin tight fashion clothing that left absolutely nothing to the observer’s imagination, others, like me, were frolicking quite respectfully in loose fitting garments that provided a modicum of respectful self-integrity and decency.

We may dress differently, have a body shape that defines us most uniquely, and may not all be blessed with copious amounts of greying hairs that frequent many hidden, and some not so well disguised anatomical locations. Yet, each one of us knew that despite our outward physical appearances, we were all very much alike as we strived for our individual goals, although they may be different.

We could be mentally discouraged and thwarted in achieving our bodily objectives by looking at those that have an appearance that seemed totally unattainable to us mere normal mortals, but each of us voluntary decide to soldier on and take that additional, and sometimes painful progressive step. We elect not to give in, not to eat that extra piece of enticing chocolate, not to have that additional large bite from that glorious greasy hot Chicko Roll, but rather focus on a complex diet of proven healthy options.

If the location was that of a corporate office, and those striving for the attainment of improved fitness and well-being were the employees, then the situation would be analogous to those talented individuals that yearn for a culture of innovation.

Innovation is not reserved for a select few, it takes time, effort, sustained commitment and continued practice. Those seeking its attainment may fail the first time, but with the right mindset and support, they will indeed succeed.

Innovation needs an organisational infrastructure that provides the correct tools to hone and shape their employees creative skills via an ongoing exercise regime of mental ingenuity that challenges, and also supports the individual.

Yes, innovation is like a gym, it needs to be worked and continually applied, otherwise, the corporate office just turns to flab.

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.

Jester of The Order of the British Empire

knighthood

As I stood before Queen Elizabeth II, I was feeling particularly chuffed. Yes, I was one of the first British citizens to be awarded the honour of JBE.

Many worthy citizens have been knighted, awarded a CBE, OBE or even an MBE, but I, by Royal Decree, was about to have the esteemed privilege of being able to have the letters JBE permanently linked to my name.

For many years now, I have been promoting the use of “innovation” in the corporate office. It has been a hard and torturous journey that has met much opposition from the boring conservatives from within, but with continued perseverance, a creative revolution appears to be slowly permeating, despite the fierce resistance.

Numerous blog posts have been written, many a paisley business shirt worn, copious berets have been deliberately placed upon my hair challenged head, all with the deliberate intent in making those traditional corporates think differently.

The learning from all this calculated, and most devious methodology, is that innovation in the corporate office can only exist if there is one key activity, that being “fun”. Yes, the root of all creativity is the ability to have fun, to have an office environment where humour is the welcome catalyst that continually rejuvenates itself, and which unknowingly morphs into the personalities of all willing employees.

But fun takes skill and continual practice, and that’s where the role of the Corporate Jester comes into play. These oddly behaving individuals look at current corporate work practices through a unique analysis lens, one which must constantly challenge the status quo of the organization, but be done in a way that relies on humour so the creative concepts suggested are deemed more palatable and welcome.

Yes, as I looked at the well-worn crimson carpet at Buckingham Palace trodden with pride by other New Year Honour’s recipients, a quiet facial smirk appeared as I acknowledged that I was now a Jester of The Order of the British Empire (JBE).

But the smile became much wider as I observed the line of other JBE recipients, of which I was now a member. It was satisfying and most humbling to know that role of “fun” in the corporate office was similarly taking hold in other stayed corporate offices, and would soon yield the highly sought after smiling face in other innovatively receptive individuals. The unquestionable result being, the attainment of innovation.

Steven Cramer JBE

 

Go Forth and Roll

Bowls

To the uneducated onlooker, it’s just a smooth, flat, manicured lawn that smugly exudes with the woft of establishmentarianism.

To some, it’s a green “Bermuda Rectangle” just waiting to surreptitiously unleash a variety of random and mysterious challenges to those that don’t respect its hidden subtleties.

But, for those privileged few that are in the know, it’s a potential thought forum that continually challenges even the sharpest and most experienced mind.

Those that confidently grace its grassy surface are willing to accept the supreme contest that demands continual innovation. They are happy to relish a victory when truly deserved, and these esteemed individuals marvel at the astonishing personal learnings derived from the experience.

These sporting gladiators are equipped with an array of colourful Henselite bowls, some fortunate enough to embellish the esteemed and coveted MCC emblem. Their feet are adorned with the requisite flat soled shoes in smooth respect for the turf, and to ensure no annoying groove indentations that may upset the grassy equilibrium. In their trouser pocket, a small white towel dangles precariously awaiting just the right moment to dab the beads of stress induced perspiration from the player’s forehead, and to lovingly wipe any foreign matter from their spherical hand held implement.

In response, the cunning and mindful lawn calls on the prevailing climatic conditions to spontaneously muster up a sporting environment that contains all the random seasonal elements; wind, rain, sun, shadows, even the occasional swooping magpie, with the strategic wicked intent of annoying the player.

Even the bowls, which should have a long term and an unquestionable loyalty to their owner, typically side with the lawn, and have an unpredictable bias that continually throws the frustrated bowler off guard.

The game is called lawn bowls, and one that is relished by many insightful men and women around the world.

So, if you are looking for a sport that demands a thoughtful and ongoing mindset of continual innovation, may you seek no further, as the answer has you literally standing on the green.

Yes, just go forth and roll!

What’s on Your Corporate Clothesline?

line

How would you describe the visual appearance of your corporate clothesline?

Is it one that has that look of shabbiness, where all the lines are no longer taut, are a tad tired and fatigued with excessive service to your organisation?

Are all the clothes hanging about rather too precariously with an outlook that is faded, tattered and torn and now ready to be used as an unwelcome, and rather smelly sleeping accompaniment in the corporate watchdog’s kennel?

If so, your business desperately needs a creative clothesline refurbishment where your employee’s innovative skills can be readily hung out to dry with pride.

The solution is to realign the skills of your employees where they all hang about with the requisite corporately aligned tension that comfortably meets their individual needs. No longer will some employees feel as if they are dangling too close to the bottom of the clothesline where some competitive vermin and other nosey corporate animals can undermine their self-esteem and confidence.

For those employees not willing to move and sway with the prevailing climatic winds, just surreptitiously loosen their holding peg, and with time, any remaining fragments of residual cloth clinging to the clothesline will eventually succumb to your new corporate gravity of change.

However, do make sure all your departmental positioning pegs are regularly updated and aligned with those that operate efficiently, are colourful, not crazed, and you will retain those important employees that are deemed strategic to your long-term organisational success.

As a CEO, you want your clothesline to be viewed by any visitors to your business abode as one that readily complements your organizational culture, and that highlights the impressive garment diversity of fashion wearers that happily attach themselves to your corporate hierarchy.

No longer will you need to spend lavish sums of money on endless internal and external organizational surveys to measure the mood and innovation prowess of your employees, just have a daily glance at your corporate clothesline and all will quickly be revealed.

Yes, the answer to your innovation is literally flapping in the wind.

 

Absolutely

 

 

 

 

 

Looking for a quick and easy method to identify if your corporate office is in the gradual process of innovative decline? If so, the answer is right before your ears, just simply listen to the vocabulary being used as it is a tell-tale sign as to the creative state of your staff.

A big clue is the frequent use of some common words, the main culprit of today being the word “absolutely”. Yes, you will hear “absolutely” being used with an increasingly high verbal frequency by a huge cross-section of employees, all unknowingly mimicking each other with involuntary abandonment in an attempt to sound “absolutely impressive”. But don’t be fooled, as with each nonchalant utterance, the employee is slowly eroding their ability to think creatively as they continue to narrow their thoughtful intellect.

Apparently, there are 171,476 words currently being used in the English language, so says the 2nd edition of the Oxford English Dictionary, with 47,156 obsolete words. So, those in the corporate office have a plethora of alternative words they could wittily choose from besides that most tedious and infamous word known as ‘absolutely’. Yes, it’s time to strategically add ‘absolutely’ to the mind dumbing obsolete word list for the sake of innovation!

When next you hear someone in the office use this soon to be defunct word, offer them the use of your Thesaurus, or maybe suggest another more apt word that impresses them with your mastery of the English language. Yes, it’s time my verbally educated friends for a word revolution!

And may ‘absolutely’, soon RIP, never to be heard again.

%d bloggers like this: