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.

 

The Skill of Counter Jerkification Innovation

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When I say the word “Jerk”, I’m sure you immediately visualise the face of one of your annoying colleagues in the corporate office. Although they don’t have the letters J E R K branded on their forehead, we all know them by their offensive manner, cruel personality and detrimental influence on you, your colleagues and the organisation.

Even though they are indeed the full embodiment of the “Jerk” classification, there is one positive aspect that you, and your colleagues, will have learnt whilst you have been forced to engage with this unpleasant individual. This is the talent called “Counter Jerkification Innovation” (or CJI for those that like acronyms).

Many of you may have already developed this prized CJI talent from your days at school, employment at other organisations, or when dealing with various politicians (especially if you are a Trump advisor). Your CJI talent may have been dormant for many years, but fret not, as it is readily reactivated once you put your mind to it!

There are two parts to a successful CJI implementation corporate office program, that being; Reactive and Proactive CJI.

(1) Reactive CJI:
This is the creativity that you and co-workers develop as a defensive mechanism to counteract the impact of the “Jerk” in your work environment. Here you are continually trying to lessen the impact of the “Jerk” through an innovative avoidance strategy to minimise your “Jerk” interactions, thereby reducing the “Jerk’s” negative influence.

After a prolonged period of Reactive CJI, you will quickly develop a cunning, and most devious mindset, utilising the skills of guerrilla office warfare that will be rapidly recognised and appreciated by your fellow co-workers also trying to avoid the “Jerk”.

(2) Proactive CJI:
Once your Reactive CJI skillset has been mastered, you will naturally progress to the creative self-actualization attainment level of Proactive CJI where you will instinctively decide to utilise your crafty mindset skills to initiate, and implement, a targeted “Jerk” retaliation campaign. If properly implemented, your “Jerk” will quickly change their modus operandi, or will seek a rapid organisational exit strategy.

Yes, you will have now neutralized the “Jerk”, and will be deemed a prized CJI hero within your business. Any residual “Jerks” still left in your organisation will also seek a departure strategy, as they too will have realised that their days of “Jerk” tolerance are indeed numbered.

However, a word of caution for those that do successfully achieve the mental state of Proactive CJI. It is important that you continually seek 360 degree feedback from your work colleagues to ensure that you do not take on those hated “Jerk” personality traits, just in case you obtain too much personal pleasure from the CJI process!

The Friday Free Job Day

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According to a fictitious survey in the Australian Financial Review, I work for one of the most innovative companies in Australia, and I know why!

One of the activities that differentiates my company from our competition, is a highly anticipated employee event that occurs without fail on the last Friday of the month. No, it’s not allowing staff to wear casual clothes (which happens weekly anyway – see rules below), it’s our Friday Free Job Day (FFJD).

So what is this FFJD and how does it work you may ask?

Well, it’s surprisingly simple, and the process has produced some remarkable process improvements, but more importantly, a truly dynamic and progressive culture of innovation within our company.

At precisely 6 PM on the last Thursday night of the working month, each employee is sent an SMS that advises them what job they will be doing the following day so they can dress, and mentally prepare accordingly. For instance, I might be advised that I will be the CEO, the CFO, the Marketing Director, the Head of HR, or the Office Manager, just to name a few. When I arrive at my allocated office on the Friday morning, the actual person fulfilling that job has vacated their office and has left me a list outlining the 5 biggest challenges hindering them in their role. My task for that day is to explore ideas that address, and potentially solve the 5 outlined issues. At the conclusion of the day, I leave my ideas of solution on their desk for them to review, consider and to explore further when they arrive at work on Monday morning.

Through the use of a fresh set of eyes, the results have been staggering, but more importantly, the positive impact on employee morale has been phenomenal.

Another derived benefit of the FFJD process is that each employee gains a greater insight into how the business operates, and how their role impacts those around them.

So for those companies that think Casual Friday is a sign of your corporate innovation brilliance, think bigger, try the Friday Free Job Day once a month and the results achieved will happily surprise you.

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Commandments for Casual Friday Attire:
https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/commandments-for-casual-friday-attire/

Hat Induced Creativity

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As the days get colder, the highly calibrated temperature sensor on the top of your head signals that some personal thermal protection may indeed be required. Now depending upon the hairocity concentration of your free flowing follicles, some individuals may not be the slightest bit concerned about the impending climatic cold change, whilst others with a large abundance of heat radiating skin will rapidly adopt the adornment of a suitable item of frabrical barrier resistance.

But with closer inspection, the observer will notice that head thermal fortification is chosen by all people, regardless of their follicular ability, age or sex. Yes, it seems that everyone wants to wear a hat. At first consideration, the process of selecting the right hat for your head would appear to be linked to fashion, warmth, or perhaps comfort, but no, this is surprisingly not the case.

In an obscure study recently published in the latest edition of Vogue magazine by some rather curious PhD students at a rather fashionable university in Melbourne, a theory has been proposed that has sent shockwaves through the millinery community. Apparently, the choice of one’s hat has a direct correlation with the creativity of the individual wearer, with some hats signalling extreme innovation tendencies.

Now, for any HR Managers reading this blog post, this hat theory provides a unique opportunity for you to effortlessly improve the innovation tendencies of those working within your corporate office with the simple placement of a hat upon your employee’s heads. But wait, not just any hat will suffice!

Those curious PhD students reported that the following hats provided the greatest innovation benefit:

The Beret: This remarkable hat has been providing creative inspiration to the wearer for centuries*, just consider the vast array of famous actors, painters and other wise individuals, so QED on this one!

The Beanie: For extreme cold environments, this hat reportedly provides the optimum thermal protection. The wearer also has numerous opportunities for creative personalisation via the selection of many colours, and the bigger the pompom on top, the more innovative the individual.

The Corner Tied Handkerchief: For some strange reason this hat has greatest favour with the English, particularly in the summer months. But should you meet someone attired with a white decorative hankie on their head in winter, well, these people will be extremely different and unique, so much so that some caution may be required prior to any interaction.

Yes, there are many other hat choices, but to foster a culture of innovation in your business that is foolproof, the beret and beanie are proven catalysts of creativity. So what are you waiting for? Go out and place a hat on your head! You will be warmer, stylish, wiser and many thoughts will start to quickly permeate, well, so says the theory developed by those curious PhD students, and I believe them!

 

*https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2015/08/16/its-the-stalk/

The Office Busyness Indicator (OBI)

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It is now a frequent occurrence to see numerous health conscious corporate office cohorts trekking the surrounding streets as they brandish a vibrant assortment of “Thought Creation Leadership Sticks”. Thankfully, gone are the days where lunchtime consists of habitually sitting in front of your computer, whilst quickly munching on a bland vegemite and cheese sandwich, accompanied by yet another cup of coffee. No, lunchtime now signals the start of many a “walk of thought” where employees leave their computer monitors behind, whack on some runners, a stylish hat, and do some exercise to stimulate their thought processes in gleeful and creative conversation.

Many corporate offices measure their “walk of thought” prowess through the competitive use of a “Workweek Hustle” FITBIT competition. Here a leader scoreboard tallies each walker’s steps, or lack there of, each Monday through to Friday, concluding at precisely midnight. For those of you that are familiar with this activity, it is a common practice to see many participants walking late into the Friday evening in an attempt to add those additional precious steps that might just provide them with the highly sought after FITBIT badge of victory!

However, in a recent research study, at a yet to be famous university, the findings indicate that there is a direct causal link between the average weekly FITBIT count of all active “walk of thoughters”, and their office busyness. This link is called the Office Busyness Indicator (OBI). If one views the average team steps on a weekly basis, a busyness trend becomes all too apparent. When the corporate office is experiencing a high workload, or is stressed, the average step count is low. But when the employees are feeling creative, vibrant and in need of some thoughtful collaboration, the number of steps rises significantly as they engage in happy, walk-full dialog.

So, should you be a Human Resources Manager reading this blog post, the answer is clear. Just encourage all your employees to become “walk of thoughters”, equip them with a FITBIT, chart their weekly OBI result, and you will have a real-time scientific insight into the mood of your organization. Simple.

The Lazy Creative

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It can happen via a deliberate wrist glance, a nonchalant button press, or the frequent refreshing of a specifically purchased iPhone App. You have all observed it in action. Yes, it’s the now quite common hourly habit of the corporate office FITBIT wearer as they compete with their fellow fanatical walkers for the esteemed victor of the Workweek Hustle.

But in a recent study, at a soon to be prestigious Australian Institute of Sport, a rather unusual finding has been discovered that has found a direct correlation with a person’s aptitude for innovation, and their FITBIT daily step count. Contrary to what you may think, the lower the FITBIT number, the higher the innovation intellect.

The majority of the corporate office population view those in their working ranks with a very Low FITBIT Step Count (LFSC) as being rather lazy. However, the study results found this to be remarkably furthest from the truth.

Those of your colleagues with a LFSC typically commenced their innovation training early in their youth as a teenager. A visual clue to their future LFSC creative talent would be their clothes, towels and food plates being strategically placed on the floor in their bedrooms. As the days of litter and odour progressed unhindered, a frustrated parent would finally succumb to the mess and tidy their room, with no stepping activity required at all from the clever child.

For teenagers that mastered this skill, their LFSC innovative prowess continued into their working life where the role of the parent was replaced by a fellow work colleague. Here they would sit comfortably at their desk, with their ears and eyes seeking out a potential parental worker surrogate to ensure that their need for physical exertion was significantly minimized. If you are not familiar with their innovative FITBIT step reduction techniques, take note of the following behavioural clues:

  1. The Coffee Run: They will hear the murmurings of colleagues thinking of making a dash to the nearest café for a coffee. Using their creative talent, they will feign extreme busyness and will ask you to get them a coffee on their behalf. If they are masterly at their LFSC craft, you will also be paying for them, with no hope or expectation of a reciprocal arrangement.
  1. The Carpark: In the office carpark, the innovative LFSC colleague will park in the closest position next to the elevator thereby ensuring the least number of walking steps. Some may even place a “Reserved” sign to guarantee this requirement.
  1. The Video Conference: Rather than having to walk to a meeting, the LFSC colleague will cunningly schedule a video conference, even if the colleagues invited sit only a few desks away.

So next time you have a FITBIT Workweek Hustle and you power your way on a daily basis to stepping superiority, may I suggest that you have a look at the work colleague that always comes last. Yes, they are the truly innovative people in your corporate office as it takes creative ingenuity to be that lazy!

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