Getting the Right Corporate pH Balance

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Understanding a corporate culture is a fishy thing. Just observe any aquarium long enough and you will know exactly what I mean as it all happens in the wet area.

Should a fish habitat not be under control, besides the associated unpleasant odour, there are many other signs signalling that some urgent correction is required.

With all fish, they have the joy of utilising every part of their environment for daily living. In the water they eat, play, mate and happily swim in their own personal discharge without the slightest care for themselves, or consideration for those around them. Now left unhindered, their watery abode soon changes colour and a fine deposit of unsavoury living quickly coats the glass walls, vegetation and sandy undergrowth. In time, many fish will unfortunately perish as they yearn for a new and stimulating environment.

To avoid this disastrous occurrence, the aquarium owner has many measuring devices available to them, such as pH, in order to avoid such a regrettable calamity. For those of the HR persuasion, this is analogous to the office motivational survey that is done with unfortunate irregularity.

There are also many types of fish that correlate closely with the personality profiles of those in the corporate office. There are the bottom feeders that happily delve down to the depths of the tank where they make a comfortable living from the discarded offerings from those working diligently above them. There are the sharks that dart about in an aggressive manner looking for any opportunity to be top fish. Little fish also nimbly manoeuvre the unfrequented water corridors in search of discrete jobs that need to be accomplished with strategic gusto.

Now should a new fish enter the aquarium, you will see them quickly adopt the unusual state of motionless as the try to surreptitiously acclimatise to the foreign water temperature before swiftly swimming off to a hiding location where they can determine who’s who in the eating order.

Now the key life-giving ingredient that all aquarium species must have is oxygen, as without it, their watery home rapidly turns into an unsavoury swamp. In the corporate office, this oxygenated requirement is known as innovation.

So, for all the HR Managers reading this blog post, you now know what you need to do to ensure that your office happily bubbles with continual employee enthusiasm. Yes, you need to repeatedly measure the corporate motivational pH and make any requisite cultural adjustments in order to achieve the right balance. Innovation is also a must, as without it, your employees will become lifeless and disengaged. By following these simple methods of fish hygiene, you can then sit back and admire your watery handiwork, as it will all percolate away just swimmingly.

Personality Woofs

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Lots and lots of dogs. If you have ever frequented Central Park in New York, this will be the first thing that you will see. Regardless of the weather, there are dogs literally everywhere! And yes, what they say is indeed true, the dogs do undeniably mimic the appearance of their owner.

Now this provides a somewhat interesting clue for any HR Managers reading this blog post. Forget your expensive Myers Briggs Personality Profiles as there is now a much more cost effective and completely reliable process for classifying the temperament traits of your employees. The process? Just take your employees to a large enclosed park, add a vast array of dog breeds, then simply let the dogs go to work. All you now need to do is, watch and learn.

The Lazy Employee
Now you may think that this employee would be the most difficult one to match with a dog? But no, they are the easiest, as when they arrive in the park, they quickly plonk themselves down on the grass and swiftly fall asleep. The Newfoundland dog loves a plump human pillow and will slowly make their way over to the employee and snuggle up to the motionless slumbering body with complete lethargic satisfaction. (This is personality Match 1).

The Innovative Employee
This employee loves a challenge and will quickly traverse the park looking wisely at all the dog breeds. They will engage in a range of ball throwing and strategically selected tricks hoping to outwit the dog with their own creativity. However, after a lengthy examination period, they will ultimately bond with the Australian Shepherd, a dog of many colours and personalities. (Match 2).

The Intelligent Employee
This will be the employee that has a studious and permanently furrowed brow on their pained face as they wander up and down the concrete walkways as they take copious observation notes. After a few exhausting ambling hours, they will eventually sit on a quiet bench with their frustrated heads in their hands owing to the large number of dog choices that has completely bamboozled their intellect. Little did they know that they have now surreptitiously entered the perfect dog domain of the Border Collie who will sniff out this sense of human puzzlement and will offer an enduring personality alliance. (Match 3)

The Happy Employee
This is easy, they will quickly be engulfed with an abundant number of frolicking friendly Labradors of all colours, sizes and ages. (Match 4).

The Psychopath Employee
Their only link to the dogs will be the numerous poo bags that they carry as no dog will want to go near them. These dogs know that, once bitten, twice shy. (Match 5).

Now not all employees will be a perfect match to the 5 dog profiles listed above. But relax as that’s not a problem owing to the large number of cross-breeds that impeccably cater for every human individual.

So next time you walk in New York’s Central Park, stop and carefully look at the dogs and their owners, and all will be woofingly revealed.

Handling the Office Bully

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For those of you that have a bully in your office, now is the perfect opportunity for you to practice some innovative diversionary tactics that will quickly annoy the lifeblood out of the targeted individual.

The bully is a person that constantly seeks attention, so make sure that you give it to them, but not in the way that they are expecting to receive it. This is the beauty of having a well-practised innovative mindset that has been honed via years of experience working in the corporate office.

As with all bullies, once they feel that their psychopathic behaviour is no longer being recognised and is now being neutralised by your positive creativity, they will quickly cease their bothersome traits, or will seek employment elsewhere.

The following are some trusted and proven techniques that will get you well underway in handling any bully, regardless of their age, experience, sex, or position of stature in your organisation.

The “Bill or Jill” Technique:
Here you can call the bully any name that you like, as long as it is not their real name (note: although you may want to, expletives are not recommended). Should the bully be a man, call them “Bill” (or a woman, “Jill”), also encourage other work colleagues to follow your lead. After a while the bully will become furious owing to the lack of personal recognition.

The Sunglasses Technique:
All bullies like to see your eyes so they have a ready reckoner on the impact they are having on you, and those around you. By wearing sunglasses in the office you are depriving them of this required visual insight. It also provides you with an opportunity to fall asleep in their presence, however, make sure you don’t snore too loudly.

The Coffee Slurp Technique:
When in a meeting with the bully, make sure that you and your colleagues continually slurp your coffee in unison, or individually. This is a sure way to break the bully’s irritating concentration, particularly if they are the only one that is coffee-less.

The Foreign Language Technique:
Yep, as the name suggests, just talk in a language that the bully doesn’t understand. After an extended period, the bully will feel completely ostracised and will be in need of some urgently required therapy.

Now a word of caution with this innovative technique that you must fully understand and appreciate before you commence your diversionary strategy. With time, you may start to enjoy your newly found lease of innovative freedom where you want to be an ongoing practitioner of bullying diminishment. At this point, you must immediately cease your creative journey as you may indeed be turning into a bully yourself, something you and your fellow colleagues would not want that to ever occur, regardless of how satisfying the experience may seem!

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.

 

The Virtual Innovation Librarian

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Why is it that some people just seem to have an endless plethora of brilliant ideas, whilst others struggle to generate just one? What’s the secret to their phenomenal creative success?

According to an obscure research paper soon to be published at some fictitious Boston University, the answer to these important questions is their illusive access to the highly prestigious, and most definitely secret, Virtual Innovation Librarian (VIT).

Respected sources advise that the VIT is an artificially intelligent imaginary persona that surreptitiously captures your unconscious thoughts when you are in mental state of slumber, or equivalent corporate boredom. The key requirement being, complete and total mindlessness. For those of you working in the corporate office, just think of all that untapped potential that lethargically resides in your vast employee database!

As the name suggests, the VIT is the keeper of an almost infinite number of thoughts that are meticulously categorised and indexed via the Dewey Decimal Idea Classification System (DDICS), following which, they are then permanently registered within a 4D electronic virtual depository. The DDICS classifications cover all good, and some of the not so good, ideation sparks of human life, business and various social activities from every person that has ever lived, or is currently alive, from the very first evolutionary stage when women and men decided it was time to think.

No, you don’t need a virtual library card to make a thoughtful withdrawal, the process is indeed much simpler and works via the following ingenious method:

  1. Deeply think of the problem that you want to solve.
  2. Open your mind and allow the VIT to have unrestricted access to all your inner thoughts and desires (some people call this mindfulness, meditation or just being lazy).
  3. The VIT then forages around with gusto in your cluttered mind trying to cross-match your nominated problem with all the other thoughts accumulated in the 4D electronic virtual depository.
  4. If a match is made with your problem, and no other person is wanting to also access that particular thought, you can borrow that idea and claim it as your own.
  5. However, there is a catch. These borrowed thoughts only reside in your mind for a limited time period, so if you don’t check them out and use the idea, you quickly lose the innovative solution (just like the content of a dream when you wake up, and rapidly forget the details).

Is there a charge for using this VIT ideation service?

No, it is complimentary to those individuals that recognise that innovation is an activity that needs to be continually worked, and shared freely amongst your work colleagues, thereby ensuring that there is a constant source of fresh ideas being generated for the future needs of mankind. As that saying goes, “give ideas, that you may receive ideas”.

For those businesses that don’t value innovation, well, the cost of the VIT will be well beyond your financial reserves, so may I suggest that you don’t bother thinking longer term, and just focus on enjoying today as your future is guaranteed to be rather uncertain.

Seek the Buzz

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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”

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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

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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

 

The Culturally Fitting Cordwainer

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Looking for a corporate culture that fully supports your creative career aspirations and life travels?

If the answer is yes, then your fitted, bespoke solution is literally below you, and is one that happily accompanies you wherever your corporate desires may fleetingly wander.

Whatever your innovation need, whether it be that of a classy professional, purely social, discretely indoors or an outdoor adventure, a matching array of versatile accessories are readily available to the discerning buyer, constructed in a plethora of colours, materials, comfort levels and various purchase prices.

The origin of this personalised inspiration is your fashionable cordwainer who after years of meticulous training has mastered the requisite design skills to provide the right shoe solution that is perfect for your feet.

Now shoes are key to your creative success, but there are some exceptions to the rule:

The Naked Foot
Those who dare to walk the corridors of the corporate office with foot nakedness may attain a state of relaxed mindfulness nirvana, but this will be short lived when viewed below the business trouser, or skirt, where a certain professional visual standard is expected from the onlooking beholder. The naked foot does indeed have its rightful place, but alas, it is not yet accepted as part of the regulations for approved industry attire, despite the invigorating freedom of thought achieved by the naked foot wearer.

The Sandal
In Roman times this form of footwear was most socially acceptable, but today, corporate office feet standards have now significantly changed. However, should you be an English University Lecturer who habitually wears a dull tweed jacket, thick beige corduroy trousers and smokes a pipe with voluminous gusto, then you may continue to look the part whilst we silently smirk at your personal misfortune.

Pointy Toe
Stop! The pointy toed shoe is now classified by the FBI as a dangerous weapon, and one that has caused many employee injuries from deliberate kicking outbursts directed at that annoying colleague under the table.

The Boot
Now should you be an Australian National Party politician, then this rule does not apply because it is presumed that you wear your boots for strategic media appearances so your electorate thinks that you come from a large farming community, eventhough you have always lived in the city, and would not know the front from the back of a sheep.  For all other corporate office workers, the wearing of a boot suggests that you have not yet mastered the shoe-lace tying process which may be systematic of other analytical shortfalls in your intellect.

So should you be a CEO or HR professional reading this blog post, the answer to business innovation is delightfully simple. Just hire a Chief Cordwainer Officer (CCO) and your corporate culture will be long wearing, fully protected and continually well heeled!

 

What’s on Your Corporate Clothesline?

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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.

 

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