The Scenic Desk

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You have all had that feeling, it’s 3 PM in the afternoon and your motivational levels are starting to rapidly decline. Your coffee intake is becoming dangerously high, so much so that your tastebuds have now maxed out on caffeine, and you are worried that one more cup consumed will definitely impede any potential sleeping opportunities that evening. Your eyelids are closing heavily under an unknown and dreaded forced hypnotic influence as they encourage you to place your head surreptitiously on your desk and initiate an inconspicuous state of slumber.

However, relax, you don’t need to worry about this unwanted physical eventuality, as your corporate office is equipped with the latest afternoon motivational technique, that being, the “scenic desk”.

Yes, at precisely 9 AM each morning, your desk, like all the others in your office, start their journey of scenic transition that takes exactly 8 hours to complete. The process starts with the application of a quiet, yet highly powerful high velocity air current that lifts each desk (and the matching chair) an inconspicuous 5 millimetres above the floor. By cleverly changing the angle of these air currents, each office worker’s desk can be propelled in a forward, backward or sideways trajectory. An inbuilt desk computer developed by “Google Desks” charts a unique journey that traverses the entire corporate office to ensure a different, and enthralling desk experience every day, and one that naturally avoids any possible desk collision.

Following extensive R&D testing at a soon to be prestigious Melbourne University, the speed of desk movement has been calibrated at a most comfortable 2 kilometres/hour so as to alleviate any projectile g-forces that may fling the desk occupant, or items loosely residing on the desk surface, in an uncontrollable and dangerous manner. However, for those office workers that don’t worry about the residual side effects of windblown hair, or are particularly bored at work, their desk velocity can be tweaked to much higher levels (following the requisite completion of a personal liability disclaimer issued by their HR Manager). There is also a special office “ejection option” feature that can be used for those recalcitrant employees that utilises a camouflaged sound-proof one-way exit system.

Once the desk movement activity progresses, the desk owner will be enthralled as they meander with gleeful curiosity throughout the corporate office. Any thoughts of feeling tired, or exhausted, will quickly mentally evaporate as they experience new visual aspects and encounter different work colleagues along their scenic desk journey.

Like clockwork, at precisely 5 PM, their desk will arrive back at the original office location ready for the worker’s timely departure, but with them now brandishing a totally refreshed and visually inspired mindset.

So should you experience that unwelcome sensation of mental boredom, don’t reach for another coffee, just send an E-mail to your HR Manager lobbying for your corporate office to purchase the “scenic desk” system. It will change your office environment forever!

Motivator of Woft

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It’s 3 PM in the corporate office and you are exhibiting all the classic signs of needing a work pick me up. Your eyes are getting tired and extremely bloodshot from looking at that computer screen all day, your bottom is starting to experience the occasional numb spot from sitting on your chair too long, and you are getting that grumpy and frustrated watch observation technique where the passage of time tirelessly slows as it nears 5 PM.

STOP! Don’t walk to the café to get that habitual afternoon long black coffee or soymilk latte, you need the HR approved “Motivator of Woft” (MoW). Yes, after an extensive university-testing regime on many willing (and some unwilling) employees, we are excited to announce the long anticipated market release of the MoW.

This classical motivation enhancement apparatus is fully equipped with the latest features that ensures the wearer total comfort whilst they are happily and constructively stimulated in the corporate office. No longer will your staff want to leave at 5 PM, they will be pleading with you to stay as long as possible, and may even want to make their permanent residence their work desk.

So what exactly is the MoW and how does it work?

The answer is quite simple and has its origins in the sensual excitement methodology that has tantalised many humans throughout the history of man and womankind. The key to the success of the MoW is the human nose. This remarkable facial protrusion is quite a complex and highly intricate odour (or woft) recognition apparatus.

I’m sure that many readers of this blog post will immediately relate to the pleasurable woft of a freshly brewed coffee, sizzling pan-fried bacon, or hot baked bread that has just been taken out of the oven. On smelling these odours, your mind typically awakens with immense delight and pleasure.

This is the key aspect of the MoW and is the strategic driver that ensures its remarkable success. Through the use of a fashionable and tailored facial mask, we have been able to provide the wearer with an endless supply of wofts that can be easily customised for the user. The process is simple. Just place the mask over your face when you require some corporate motivation and then select the woft odour to suit your specific need. Each facial mask comes with a selection dial of ten unique and nostril inspiring fragrances that will entice the wearer. No longer will you need to leave your work desk for that a traditional 3 PM stimulation, the MoW will provide you with all the inspiration you will ever need! And should you get bored with the standard 10 wofts, a bonus 20 woft pack is available for a small additional expense.

Yes, you know you want your own MoW. So what are you waiting for?

For all those blog post readers that respond* to the author in the next 30 minutes, we will provide you with an impressive monogramed MoW that will be the envy of all your colleagues.

Happy corporate office wofting!

*VISA, MC, AMEX and of course lots of cash are happily accepted!

Wink to the Rhythm

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Woohooo, there was only two minutes to go!

You could sense the air of anticipation as everyone was starting to psych themselves up for it! As the seconds counted down, people were trying to hurriedly conclude their phone conversations, meetings were quickly ending and there was a mass movement of excited employees all racing back their desks in order to get there in time. I was no exception as I looked down at the clock on my computer screen and saw that it was now 1:59 PM, only one more minute to wait!

Then at precisely 2:00 PM, with all the office staff now quietly seated at their allocated desk positions, it started.

The PA system crackled and the countdown began….5, 4, 3, 2, 1. On reaching the eagerly awaited number 1, the “gym workout music” loudly blurted out throughout the building with a rhythm of exactly 150 beats per minute.

As my desk was situated to the extreme left of the building, it was my allocated task to start the “Mexican Wave of Wink”. I turned my head to Melissa (the colleague on my right) and winked my right eye and smiled. Immediately, Melissa winked her left eye in time to the beat, then quickly turned her head to face Jules (seated on her right) and winked her right eye with perfect musical synergy, together with a the requisite beaming smile. This process continued in time to the beat until all 153 employees had winked and smiled. On reaching Peter, who was seated at the extreme right of the building, his timely wink initiated the “wink rebound” back along the “wink-chain” until I was able to receive the wink with my opposite eye. Gleeful and spontaneous laughter prevailed, as it was a unique sight to behold and a great opener to the daily 2:00 PM ritual.

My next task was to pass the “K-card”, once again in time to the beat, to Melissa, who handed it to Jules, and the process again continued. At the same time, Peter spun around once in his desk chair and stood up, thereby signalling to Angus (sitting on his left), to spin and stand up, again the process continued, until the music beat randomly stopped. The person in possession of the “K-card” now had to do some solo “krumping” for 5 seconds, following which the beat would start up again signalling the continuation of the “K-card” passing and chair spinning/standing.

Ten minutes later, the beat stopped. All employees now returned to work.

However, there was a noticeable “buzz” permeating throughout the corporate office. Motivation, employee concentration, and a most recognizable feeling of fun and teamwork prevailed.

Me, Myself and “I”

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I” opened the door and peered into the “private lounge room” where all the other “I”s were already seated. Like “me”, they all had that look of exhaustion on “their” faces. “We” had obviously all had a long, tough and quite demanding day observing “ourselves”.

Many of the “I”s sat in “their” favourite comfy leather chair with “their” heads supported in “their” hands. Glasses of spirited drinks were being sombrely consumed in an attempt to liven up the mood of the collective “us”, but with little avail, it was obviously time to verbally out pour and share the critical mirrored views of “us”.

Each “I” in turn then shared how each of the original version of “them” had performed during the day with our family, work colleagues and socially. Yes, it was a communal reflective 360 feedback session in which all the “I”s gave constructive feedback on “themselves” for the mutual benefit of the individual they represented.

Now you may be asking, “What is Steven Cramer talking about this time”? Well, what if each of us had a hidden personality called “I” that watched and took notes on how we behaved during the day? Whilst we were sleeping, these “I”s then vacated our body and met up in that “private lounge room” with all the other “I”s that we came into contact during that day. The collective “I”s would then provide feedback on what we did well, what needed improvement, or what should be quickly purged from our personality so as to avoid a repeat negative occurrence! Armed with this reflective information, our “I” would then return to our body in the early hours of the morning and have a “good chat” with “ourselves”. The following day, we would subconsciously implement what the “I” had learnt and our personalities and people skills would reap the reward from this “I” effort.

Now I can hear you all saying that this is only fantasy! But is it? Next time you are half asleep and you “think” that you feel a small part of you quickly dashing out the bedroom door, don’t be alarmed, it’s just your “I” heading out for a night of social “I”nteraction.

The Brand

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The Harley Davidson motorcycle hummed past me with that deep-throated gnarly musical sound. Perched aloft the seat was a rather tubby leather clad middle-aged man with a long matted grey beard. Branded across his back was a large replica of his bike’s logo to which a massive “smile” complemented his daredevil face.

A cold gust on the winter wind was thwarted in leaving in imprint on the young woman’s face by her strategically wrapped Burberry scarf. But not to be outdone by this singular and fashionable item, additional clothing with the well-known motif soon appeared to encapsulate her from any other unwanted cold forays of gust. A similar “smile” to her bike riding unknown friend also appeared across her face.

The chanting increased in volume from the crowd all fashionably mimicking each other in their blue and white horizontal striped football jumpers as they took delight in tormenting their brown and gold vertically striped opposition supporters. That “smile” was once again evident.

On walking into one particular corporate office, that “smile” of belonging was most noticeably absent. It appeared to be an office comprised of a large number of individuals all supporting their own “smile” or brand, not one of a unified and cohesive organization.

If we consider the Harley Davidson rider, the Burberry wearer, the football supporter, they all derived some “smile” benefit from their association with these brands. Some corporate organizations, such as Google, McKinsey & Co, Virgin (and many others), do instil brand loyalty and a strong desire of wanting to work there. No, an organization doesn’t need to be a well-known brand to achieve such employee motivation and commitment; similar results can also be attained from a small family business, a school or a local club. The key is in believing that you make a contribution to the progress of that organization and that you also derive some associated personal benefit in return (eg the “smile”, career, financial, friendship, etc).

If you are a CEO in your corporate office, is that “smile” evident in your employees? No, I’m not talking about that polite and courteous smile that employees always make in your presence, but that real “smile” of wanting to belong, as they believe in the organization. If it exists, fantastic! If it doesn’t, then you now have a very important New Year’s resolution for 2015?

Yes, it’s all in the Brand….

The Flamboyee

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If you have ever watched a speedboat cutting through the still water in a large lake, it is a most impressive sight. Besides the monstrous noise catapulting flamboyantly into the surrounding air, in its trail there is a sharp and distinctive series of oscillating waves that permeate from the back of the boat and eventually make their way to the shore. As an observer, you have no option but to take notice and to acknowledge the visual spectacle that is quickly unfolding before your physical senses.

This occurrence got me thinking…..

Corporate innovation needs “The Flamboyant Employee” to act as a catalyst to inspire and to make others in the office think that little bit differently. As a suggestion, let’s call these people the “Flamboyee”.

As the “Flamboyee” wanders through the office, their profile captures the attention of their fellow workers. They may have a flirtatious smile, a wicked glint in their eye, wear a range of unique clothes, or possess some other individual and distinctive mannerisms and attributes. The key requirement is that people take notice of the “Flamboyee”, break their concentration and initiate a spark of innovation in their thinking, or in their subconscious. This “Flamboyee Effect” rippling throughout the office environment can be likened to the waves in the lake generated by the speedboat. Those employees in direct contact with the “Flamboyee” will tend to obtain the greatest innovation benefit.

It is important not to have too many “Flamboyees” meandering the corporate passageways; otherwise there could be a clashing of the innovation waves that may lead to a negative impact and eventual capsizing in creativity. However, a well-planned timetable of “Flamboyee” activity is essential to ensure that a sustained level of innovation buoyancy is maintained throughout the working day, particularly near 5 PM when many a worker’s motivation starts to quickly subside.

The role of the “Flamboyee” should be prized by management, and HR should have a specific position description prescribed with key performance innovation indicators to make sure that the “Flamboyee” is operating effectively and achieving their maximum creative potential.

Just a thought, but one definitely worthwhile exploring further!

The Business Vote….In or Out?

Voting

At election time you will find a politician strategically working their electorate in an attempt to win as many precious votes as possible. The politician will tell you what they have done in the past, and what things they will do in the future to ensure your personal interests are being maintained. If you find the political sell credible, you have the option to vote them in, or out of their parliamentary seat of power.

What if this voting concept was utilised in the corporate office? Why shouldn’t senior managers, such as the CEO, MD, be voted in or out of their role by a range of key stakeholders which includes their shareholders, peers and more importantly their subordinates? Some senior managers typically sell themselves exceptionally well to their shareholders, but typically do not view their direct reports in the same manner, nor with equal importance.

Why shouldn’t the senior manager on a regular basis be required to promote themselves, just like a politician at election time, to their employees where they outline their vision for the organisation, how they will achieve it and the future benefit derived for all workers? At the end of the promotional and lobbying period all employees would vote on the senior manager’s performance and credibility. If the vote is poor, this would result in the immediate dismissal of the senior manager as it would be apparent that they have not inspired their staff sufficiently to deliver the required business strategy. It would also benefit shareholders as it would be a good indicator of the future performance of the organisation under the leadership of this senior manager.

It’s just a thought, but the concept could also lead to greater transparency in the corporate environment where all levels of the organisation feel as if they have some political control, ownership and influence in the future direction of their business?

Eyes Down with a Positive Perspective

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When sojourning around the corporate office you will encounter a variety of co-workers with differing walking styles. Those people who are confident will typically walk with a sense of purpose and will greet you with a determined look that locks their eyeball with yours. Others who are less positive by nature will tend to waddle around the building with their eyes well entrenched with a downward stare and minimal opportunity for communication.

Many an office will parade an endless array of motivational signage on the office walls to encourage people to change their perspective and to react in a more optimistic manner. However, there is an untapped opportunity for inspiring those with a downward glance whilst walking throughout the building that utilises an office environment that is frequently under utilised and ignored from a marketing and change management directive, that being the floor!

The floor provides an intertwining matrix of messaging possibilities:

Different Carpet Colours
Why do all carpet colours need to be consistent throughout the building? Why not create a pictorial affect to inspire people who work within various departments? For instance, those in marketing could have an outer space carpet with an endless array of stars and galaxies to help inspire a creative thought? Those working in finance could have a carpet with many numbers, $ signs and mathematical formula permutations? Those in HR, could have a multitude of employee faces beaming up at them to reinforce the diversity of culture within the business?

Safety Messages
For those danger areas where people collisions may eventuate, why not have some floor signs saying “Beware, slow down and exercise caution otherwise there may be unwanted facial contact”?  Or, in the canteen, “Look out for slurping coffee carrying colleagues!”

Management Notifications
When a senior manager is approaching, a floor notification could be transmitted to approaching co-workers stating “Be happy, smile, look like you are busy!”

Personalised Walking Tones
For some co-workers that need that extra form of encouragement, the floor would have the ability to read certain employee feet and walking styles.  For those individuals identified, an appropriate piece of “power music” would blast out from the floor to give them that psychological lift whilst moving throughout the building!

There is an endless array of floor possibilities in the corporate office. The key is to start viewing all aspects throughout the building that “little bit differently”! May these innovative and creative ideas lead to hours of happy and positive walking in your place of work!

 

The Infectious Smile

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Wow…..that was a great smile I told myself when receiving my coffee in the cafe! When this woman smiled, I, and everyone else she met just had to smile back. Her smile was genuine, natural, unforced and infectious.

This got me thinking….

How many people in your office “really smile”? Every business needs a “smiler” to initiate that human touch, to let people know that they are important and not just another employee number in the corporate organisation.

A “smiler” is like a little heat spot in the building that generates and radiates warmth that people are attracted to when needing a motivational uplift.

So why don’t we formalise the role of the “smiler” in the organisation chart? Those with the recognised “smiling skill” could list this attribute on their CV, and for those that are deemed “Masters of Smiling”, there would be a large salary increase entitlement to entice them to stay in the business! After all, these prized “smilers” would be the target of many a head-hunter (or smile-hunter)!

I also would suggest that each work department needs at least one accredited “smiler” to raise morale. For those working in the more dull work teams (eg accounting – apologies to any accountants that might be reading), a second “smiler” may be required!

So next time you see a person with a magnificent smile, please savour the moment and try to learn from the experience with the view of embellishing your own smile in the direction of “smiling grandness”!

 

Leading the Troops

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Never has the role of a leader been more critical than when an organisation is undergoing a severe dislocation derived from a Change Management program.

The impact on the business could possibly be likened to how a soldier’s behaviour changed when faced with trench warfare in the First World War. In the trenches the soldiers lived in constant fear of having to go over the trench wall to face a highly risky and unknown future. To an employee, the analogy is unfortunately very similar! Consider the following:

1. Casualties
The soldier was continually seeing many casualties inflicted on their comrades by the enemy (the employee experiences many of their co-workers being made redundant and lives in fear that they too may also lose their job)

2. Lack of Information
Most soldiers were kept in the dark regarding the military mission and only saw short term actions which appeared to be rather foolhardy (employees do not fully understand the end goal of the Change Management, but rather judge the progress being made by how it is impacting themselves and their immediate coworkers)

3. Rumours
A lack of regular communication and dispatches from the military command resulted in many rumours spreading amongst the troops (if there is a lack of communication from management, rumours become rife and spread quickly throughout the organisation leading to poor morale)

4. Environment
The living conditions in the trenches became intolerable and basic hygiene quickly deteriorated resulting in discontentment and potential mutiny (employees will cope with poor work conditions and uncertainty for a limited period of time, however, should this continue many employees will seek employment elsewhere).

5. Recognition
Those soldiers who exhibited extreme courage were awarded decorations of valour, such as the Victoria Cross (employee contribution should be recognised and rewarded).

The military commander needed to have the ability to inspire and motivate the troops to have the mental and physical fortitude to leave the perceived safety of the trench and to risk their lives to fight the enemy to gain a forward position.

Here the manager must also lead their fellow employees along the Change Management journey to ensure the success of the business reorganisation, otherwise the structural change process will undoubtedly fail. Employees need to believe that their individual contribution is significant and will make a purposeful contribution to the long term survival of the business.

So before you raise your “manager’s sword” and utter that famous “charge” command, make sure you have considered all the aspects associated with the life of a soldier struggling in the trenches so you taste victory instead of defeat in your Change Management activity!