Sandals – Free your toes, and those ideas!







Yes, why don’t you put your weary corporate feet up on your desk and have a well-deserved rest. If you have done this, you will undoubtedly be experiencing that gleeful moment of soothing and calming bliss. And, should none of your work colleagues be looking, nor in close sensory proximity, surreptitiously remove your socks, or stockings, and free your corporately constrained toes. Once done, you will now be in a state of happy “pedibus” pleasure.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could maintain this toey enjoyment on a habitual basis, not one when you are made to feel like a foot rebel of non-corporate compliance?

You will be pleased to know that there is indeed a solution, one that is practical, is pleasing to the eye of those deemed to be astute, and meets the self-actualisation needs that your toes have been yearning for throughout your office working career.

The answer is called the “Sandal”.

Alas, many people walking the corridors of the corporate office do not have the courage to adorn this innovative fashion statement upon their feet for fear of unwarranted embarrassment or perceived ridicule. My response, how ridiculous! If you are a leader, you need to step up and put one bare toed foot in front of the other and claim your sandal wearing freedom.

Sandals are also the perfect foundation to support a culture of creativity and innovation. The spiffy sandal owner can wear a plethora of different coloured socks (even white), paint their toenails with voluminous vibrancy and choose from a range of chic sandal styles.

Those progressive corporate organisations that readily adopt this welcome addition to their corporate office wear will already be thinking about where to install the requisite foot podiatric self-cleansing units to maintain those basic psychological needs, that being an acceptable nice smelling working environment, in, and around, the employee’s desk.

Sandals are also the perfect complement to those wearing a stylish suit (perhaps safari), business shorts, paisley skirt, or even a kilt. Long or short socks are a choice left to the individual, but most instances, the naked foot is considered the optimum.

Think of the great leaders of yesteryear, many of which gladly wore and encouraged the wearing of sandals. I will admit that there are some impressive individuals that publicly didn’t, but when they got home, rumour has it that the first item of clothing to be immediately discarded were their uncomfortable shoes, quickly replaced with a soothing sandal.

Now for all those that have thoughts of achieving an innovative mindset, the answer is simple. You need to free your toes. Let them wiggle in harmony with all those ideas that have been bound and closeted in your mind for far too long. The choice is up to you, but do recognise that the wearing of the sandal provides the ideal catalyst, and one that you can quickly place upon your feet for everyone to see and appreciate.  

Master of Bagpipes Application (MBA)








This intellectually demanding MBA degree was initially only offered at those most discerning of business management schools, like Edinburgh and Glasgow, but now other prestigious universities of professional note have quickly puffed their cheeks and offer it to those who are hoping to be worthy.

Historically, the student had to be of Scottish origin to fully appreciate the requisite harmonic contribution, but today anyone who has the individual desire to uniquely stand out and to be unmistakably heard in the business crowd is clamouring to be enrolled in this course knowing of the phenomenal personal benefit.  

Yet, the Master of Bagpipes Application (MBA) is not for the faint hearted as one needs large lungs to muster the voluminous air requirements to achieve the desired highly audible standard.

The MBA takes three full years to complete and following graduation the highly sought and fortunate individual will have attained all the necessary life skills required to be a recognised leader in any business field they may happen to choose.  

Year 1: Playing the Pipes
Yes, all students do actually learn to play the bagpipes and are encouraged to practice when at the corporate office, preferably during lunchtime (if studying part-time), or at home late in the evenings when most of your family and neighbours are tucked up in their beds trying to sleep. The objective with this module is eliminate the student’s self-consciousness and to build personal resilience to any potential negative comments. After all, as a business leader, sometimes your staff may not like what they hear, so this is perfect opportunity for them to start getting used to it.

Year 2: Clothing
Corporate office wear can be quite sexist with various traditional suit and dress stereotypes that typically prevail for all employees regardless of their age, experience or physical stature. This is where the kilt comes into the foray as the perfect clothing standard of equal opportunity for all those in the corporate office. In this module, all students are taught the correct and fashionable ways of wearing a kilt, complete with the appropriate tartan that complements and embellishes their individual personality.

Year 3: Building your Persona
Graduates of the MBA will never need to be introduced by their peers when entering a meeting or a conference room for the first time. They will also have no requirement to waste precious environmental paper resources in getting those old fashioned business cards printed for the customary hand-to-hand distribution. One short puff of the bagpipes will quickly announce their presence and they are assured never be forgotten.
In this module, students role-play marching up and down office corridors whilst playing the bagpipes, fully adorned in their kilt in order to perfect the optimum visual and audible entrance.  

So should you want to have a successful business career, together with one entwined in musical Scottish harmony, may I suggest you enquire at the business school nearest you to see if they have an MBA that is worthy of your time and money.

Tapadh leibh 

Rediscovering your Office Post COVID-19







When that momentous day finally arrives and you are allowed to legally reacquaint yourself with your long forgotten COVID-19 free office of old, will you be prepared for the emotional experience?

You, and many of your colleagues, may become teary, or not cope with the prospect of actually leaving that safe and hygienic home fortress of your private abode that has protected you from the pandemic onslaught for the past few months.

Now before you step into your car, or on to your preferred mode of public transport, here are some helpful tips to support you on your office journey.

Office Amnesia
Many of you may have forgotten where you actually work and have no idea on how to get there? Relax, as this common condition is known as “Office Amnesia” and you are not alone with this conflicting malady. The prescribed solution is to find one of your old business cards, one that has your name on it, and not one of the many Uber Eats promotional cards that you have accumulated over your weeks of home captivity. Now find your work address, enter the location into Google Maps, and be prepared to follow it without any creative deviation.  

Buttons
Once you have arrived at work, some of you may need to locate a vertically moving metal cubicle to reach the lofty heights of your office. With time, the word “Elevator” will indeed re-emerge into your vocabulary. I’m conscious that the majority of you will have been confined to a single or double story house, or apartment, but don’t be too perturbed about having to travel into the upper regions, you used to do it all the time and experienced no ill altitude related physical effects, in fact, some of you used to actually fly on business! (Note: you do need to press the illuminated numbers on the elevator wall in order to commence your ascension)

Desk
On arrival at your desk, you may still need to wear your face mask. Not due to COVID-19, but owing to the large accumulation of office dust and other residual muck that could be a potential health hazard. This visually annoying dust build up will be more discernible for those of you that partake in the “clean desk policy”, however, for those employees that adhere to the “mess is best” methodology, you will be none the wiser.

Coffee
As you will no longer have the option of disguising your lack of work productivity via the use of Zoom, Webex or Teams video-conferencing where you could speedily turn your camera off or on, complete with a background of visual stimulation, you will now need to muster a cleverly crafted facial look of concentration from at least 8:30 AM to 5 PM. To accomplish this forgotten feat, you will strategically need to locate the coffee machine with military precision, or a nearby café that is not full to the brim with those needing a welcome retreat from the tiring corporate environment.  

Home Time
Although you couldn’t wait to get back to the corporate office, once 5 PM arrives, you will be busting with fatigue to make it home so you can rapidly disrobe in private and re-familiarise yourself with those comfy trackie pants that you have lived in for months (Note: unlike trackie pants, a suit or skirt does need to be hung on a coat hanger in order to avoid creasing).

So, my corporate office colleagues, by closely adhering to these tips, you will be prepared for your first day back in the office. However, don’t forget that you need to do this for 5 days (Monday to Friday). It is not a once off random event, but your job!

Cohabitation Code of Conduct – Your Human Performance Review

ted-2-buzz

As with all Cohabitation Codes of Conduct that involve teddy bear-human relationships, a performance review discussion is indeed worth the time allocated, and this one is long overdue let me assure you! As they say, no time is better than the present, so as your teddy-bear, may I ask you to sit down, carefully move those unwieldly and messy food stained cushions away, and let’s get on with your appraisal.

In order to avoid any personal teddy-bear bias, I have surreptitiously done a 360 feedback on you and have diligently summarised the anonymous responses from all the other stuffed animals that have had to cohabitate with you whilst you have been “working” from home. Your score is rated out of three (3), as teddy bears for some strange reason only have three fingers on each paw. You will also be pleased to know that the lowest possible rating is zero (0), which should put your human mind at ease.  So how did you go?

Cleanliness
As with most typical performance appraisals, the modus operandi is to provide positive encouragement for those activities that need improvement, so as to not demoralise the recipient. After some careful consideration, which resulted in many commonly used human expletives quickly permeating my innocent teddy-bear mind, I have decided to immediately reject this approach and have elected to go straight to the jugular. Your rating is zero (0), you are the messiest individual this household has ever known. You think you are disguising this poor personal trait by choosing an orderly, fictitious video conference background, but we teddy bears know the truth. Be warned, we have taken incriminating photos showing you in your real-time slothful state, and will publish them on social media should there be no immediate noticeable improvement!

Clothing
When you first started working from home, you dressed in a smart, casual manner. Clothes were ironed, clean and colour coordinated. So much so that we, your adoring teddy-bears, looked forward to seeing you each morning with eager anticipation as we excitedly wondered what fashion clothing foray would be presented to us, and to your virtual work colleagues. However, as the weeks and months have progressed, all we now see is the repetition of trackie pants and a creased t-shirt, no shoes or socks, and embarrassingly sometimes, even less. As such, your performance rating is one (1), thankfully, you were wearing clothes.

Teddy-bear Interaction
You used to speak to us all the time. We would have a prime sitting position, strategically placed on the edge of your work desk, just out of sight from your video camera, but we felt part of your team, we had your respect. But now, we are habitually flung face down into the intolerable depths of your couch, or even worse, your cupboard. We no longer feel the love. It is for this reason that we have all agreed that your rating is a solid zero (0).

In summary, your standards have dropped. You have not abided by the Cohabitation Code of Conduct, and it is for this reason that your teddy-bear cohorts respectfully request that your return to your corporate office and cease working from home. Enough is enough!

Life as we know it

Musk5-e1489187460760

“Life as we know it” has certainly changed with COVID-19, but will it change for ever?

What if no vaccine is found and humankind gradually morphs into a COVID-19 tolerant version of ourselves as postulated in Darwin’s Theory of Evolution? What would we, and the corporate workplace look like in the future?

Governments all around the world have decreed that face-masks need to be worn at all times when in public, and even in the office. Studies have indicated that when one of mankind’s senses is destroyed, or not used, another sense is increased to maintain the sensory balance.

The wearing of a facemask impinges our ability to smell, to get sun on our faces. Will this lead to our nostrils becoming larger in order to absorb more odours, our skin becoming more bleached with less exposure to the sun’s rays, and the days of men needing to shave ceasing owing to minimal facial hair follicle stimulation? Will our noses and ears become more pointed to assist with holding a face-mask firmly in place?

Many of us are now working from home. Will we need an office in the future? Will cities be replaced with a sprawl of suburbia where we all comingle electronically rather than in person? Will a computer keyboard be required for the typing of communications? If not, will our fingers become less nimble and take on a short, stumpy appearance?

Relax, and take no heed, nor concern to the above, as innovation will indeed find the requisite solution. According to Newton’s third law, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Mankind is creative, and whilst a facemask is dulling some of our facial senses, be assured that the corresponding thought senses associated with innovation have been given a boost of creativity and are working to the maximum.

A welcome solution to COVID-19 will indeed be found and “Life as we know it” will continue, albeit with a temporary hiccup in time. Our faces will be the same, men will continue to shave, and the corporate office will still exist, but maybe with some efficiency tweaks of improvement from a positive outcome from working from home.

So what do we need to do in this time of COVID-19 crisis…..Innovate!

Trackie Pants in the Office?

The-Gentlemen-Coach-Track-Suit

An item of clothing that was once regarded in the casual, semi-slothful classification has slowly permeated its way into the corporate approved list, all as a result of COVID-19.

It never makes any visual appearance in a video conference call, but is happily and comfortably worn by many an employee who has been reluctantly forced to work from home, all under the requirement of strict self-isolation.

It is commonly known by all employee classes in the corporate office as the trackie pant and comes in a variety of fashionable colours, fittings and price tags.

In days gone past, the trackie pant served as a stress relaxation catalyst that quickly assisted the employee’s mindset change from work, to home mode. The process was simple, corporate clothes off, trackie pants on, where a feeling of individual freedom and minimal restriction was instantaneously achieved. All this was done in their private abode, where no discerning eyes of any critical observation were ever to be found.

Historically, the trackie pant was never worn to the office, even on a Casual Friday, as dictated by the well-established rules of corporate dress code.  But like all traditions, when subjected to a massive paradigm shift outside the individual’s control, even the most ardent corporate customs slowly yield to change, all due to the prevailing clothing environment.

But once the world has overcome the dreaded impact of COVID-19, whenever that day may be, and all corporate employees are allowed to yet again return to their beloved offices, will the trackie pant come with them? Will it be allowed to embellish their bodies as they sit at their desks, or be publicly portrayed as they casually walk the corridors? Time will tell, and I am not one to judge, nor should I comment in the positive, nor the negative.

New dress rules will surely apply, as some employees will undoubtedly test the boundaries of track suit pant decency.

However, I can see a positive influence on corporate innovation. For those of you who have read the Cardigan Effect, there is an obvious correlation with the trackie pant, so with some trepidation, I am indeed a supporter! Anything that influences creativity should definitely be given a go, regardless of any visual consequences.

But, will this slowly mean the demise of the suit? I hope not, but you never know…..

The Cohabitation Code of Bear Conduct

7E04C9BE-D936-4F7A-91BC-F02D355E8429.jpeg.fa88e020fb0a76a78fba10d0d6cfb0d7

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!

Who killed innovation in your office?

Ckuedo

The mystery needs to be solved. Who killed innovation in your office?

The answer to this question has been baffling those in the know for years, but thankfully the game called Cluedo (aka as Clue in North America) provides any worthy innovation sleuth with the requisite key to solving this corporate whodunit.

For those who have played Cluedo, you will immediately recall that it involves the solving of a murder via the careful and repetitive questioning of your five fellow players, in the ten rooms they may have occupied, armed with the six weapons potentially used by the killer.

The killer is known to you, you just need to utilise the clues provided to identify them.

The Players (6):

  • Miss Scarlett (a person known for their cunningness, aka Sales)
  • Reverend Green (a person of the people, aka HR)
  • Colonel Mustard (a dapper individual, aka Marketing)
  • Professor Plum (known as the thinker, aka Technology)
  • Mrs Peacock (a person with dignity, aka Production)
  • Mrs White (known to be easily frazzled, aka Quality)

The Rooms (10):

  • Kitchen (a place where many sharp implements are located and hidden)
  • Elevator (a place of employee containment)
  • Bathroom (an unlimited source of water, paper and locked cubicles)
  • Office (a desk with many sharp corners)
  • Stationery Cabinet (a source of tape and other sticky items)
  • Meeting Room (contains projectors with high intensity lights and microphones ideal for interrogation)
  • Foyer (marbles floors on which any blood spills can be easily wiped)
  • Reception (individual security checks and photo identification)
  • CEO office (vast stocks of exotic beverages and other hidden stimulants)
  • Ideation Room (many soft beanbags and colourful crayons)

The Weapons (6):

  • Pen (an easily concealed pointy item)
  • Mug (contains hot liquid)
  • Biscuits (can stimulate excessive self pudgification)
  • Powerpoint Clicker (can be hurtled with high velocity)
  • Computer (can be short circuited to initiate the blue screen of doom)
  • Boring employee (can talk you to death)

The game now begins. You ask questions. Your work colleagues respond with the truth, or perhaps a white lie, but with dogmatic persistence, you all eventually come to the logical conclusion as to the identity of the innovation killer.

The room used by the killer may change, also the weapon and their identify from game to game. But, there is one constant variable that typifies all murderers of innovation. That variable is fear. Yes, fear to try different experiences, meet new people, or to fail when experimenting with a new concept. Should you encounter fear in your organisation, then confront it, call in your Innovation Audit Team to root it out before it contaminates and slowly kills any spark of creativity. Cluedo is indeed just a game, however, don’t let the character portrayed as fear loose in any part of your organisation as morbidity and decay will eventually prevail, and nobody wants that, do they?

 

The Corporate Cubby House

foster-partners-trailer-video-tpl-cc-us-20190213_16x9

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.

Overcoming The Law of Pudgification

Punch cartoon: Circumference - fat man at a tailor's shop

The Law of Pudgification states, that for every food excess consumed by the eater, regardless of how many attempts are made to lose the weight from your corporately embellished stomach, the consumer’s physical body form will never completely return back to its previous slim state. The extent of this stomach deviation is called the “Residual Pudge”.

Now for those of you that have reluctantly bitten off more than you can chew over the holiday festivities, you may be experiencing the unwanted influence of this Law. If that is you, a word of advice for your planned first day of work return, that being, don’t try and wear your normal business attire because you are doomed to experience massive wardrobe failure. Yes, buttons will pop, zippers will bulge, and fabric seams will be tested to their extreme limit. The unavoidable result will be catastrophic clothing malfunction combined with severe personal embarrassment.

As you nervously approach this first day back in the office, you do have at least three options to carefully ponder:

Option 1: Fast continually for a week and hope that the “Residual Pudge” quickly alleviates. But let’s be realistic, this is never going to happen!

Option 2: Defer your scheduled first day back in the office by at least a month so your voluminous body has an opportunity to naturally deflate.

Option 3: Purchase an “Expando-Suit”.

Yes, for those of you that can’t accommodate Options 1 and 2, Option 3 is an efficient route to pudgification ownership correction.

What? You haven’t heard of the “Expando-Suit”? Well, it has successfully encapsulated the exterior of numerous well-fed corporate individuals for many a decade. No, it is not advertised, but is readily available via word of a full mouth from those that are in corresponding need of depudgification.

The “Expando-Suit” looks like any fashionable business suit so the innocent onlooker would never be the wiser. It can be purchased in a variety of the latest stylish trends, or for those more conservative, in solid grey, blue or black colours (perfect for any lawyers or politicians that may be reading who have partaken of one piece of plum pudding too many), and meticulously meets the clothing needs of both the corporate woman or man. But it has one unique point of difference, that being the fabric that happily stretches around any over pudgified body part with minimal visual cling. Yes, the wearer will look fashionably suave and sophisticated and not like a plastic cling-wrapped piece of produce.

However, a word of caution. The “Expando-Suit” will feel so comfortable to wear that you may forget the reason why you purchased one in the first place. Yes, you need to lose pudge. To assist in this endeavour, the cotton used in the fabric seams (patent pending) will disintegrate in exactly four weeks of continual office wear. So, in order to avoid breaking any HR laws of personal exposure in your office, you have been officially warned!

Yes, the “Expando-Suit” is indeed an option, but let’s be honest with ourselves, the preferred choice when eating is to be conscious of The Law of Pudgification and to minimise any potential side effects that may be looming from overindulgence.