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.

The Power of Paisley

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In 1969, 400,000 people attended a music festival on a green dairy farm in New York state. This event was to be immortalised emotionally in history as “Woodstock”. It captured the attention of the world for its music, illicit drugs and some “other communal people bonding activities”. Those who participated, say, that it was one of the most memorable events of their lives. It also made an enduring impact on subsequent generations that many other music festivals have tried to emulate, but without the same impact.

But according to an obscure newspaper article recently discovered in the 1970 archives of the now defunct “New York Advertiser*”, the origin of the creative power supposedly unleashed on the unsuspecting youth at Woodstock, actually had its roots in another fashion phenomenon that was prevalent in that decade. The journalist involved apparently conducted extensive research by frequenting many then hip social establishments in New York, London, Paris and even in Melbourne. Unfortunately, this person cannot be contacted as they died of some mysterious illness, possibly as a side-effect of immersing themselves a little too much into the vices of that period. However, thankfully their factual legacy of research has again been unearthed.

After months of correlating interviews, notes, photographs, and other intense mind-bending observations, this brilliant journalist made a key psychedelic discovery that had swirling colours linked to its fundamental core. Yes, the research all lead to one insightful cause, that being the fabric paisley. If you have ever looked attentively at paisley, you will quickly succumb to that hypnotic effect where your eyes start to lose focus, followed by a sense of cross-eyed related dizziness that slowly, and involuntary, incapacitates the observer.  Those at Woodstock, incorrectly linked this perceived clumsy behaviour on the influence of various drug cocktails, but this was indeed an error in scientific fact.

Now for those of you working in the corporate office, take note as a powerful source of creativity has just been revealed. The answer is indeed simple and only requires your fellow employees to adorn a fashionable shirt, suit, skirt or sock tailored in this remarkable paisley fabric. But a word of caution is indeed required. Should your co-workers appear a tad too jolly at the end of the working day, relax, as you don’t need to promptly invoke your drug and alcohol policies, rather, just ask them to take off the offending item of clothing and the inappropriate behaviour will immediately cease.

Yes, it’s just the Power of Paisley.

 

*In case you were planning to do some research on this newspaper, yep, it’s fictitious.

The Mesmeric Corporate Prognosis

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My esteemed colleagues, yes, I can sense your excitement and anticipation! But please relax as you need not wait any longer! After years of pain staking personal research sitting in the entrance foyers of the top 100 global companies, I am now pleased to announce that I have discovered the origins of this incapacitating corporate behavioural phenomenon.

This crippling condition that has inhibited the innovative thinking processes of employees for many decades, now has a medical name, that being “Corporate Mesmeric Innovative Retardation”, or CMIR for short. But more importantly, there is an antidote that is quite painless, and one that can be quickly administered to the corporate employee with immediate effect.

How did I discover this condition? Well, the intensive research required a high level of painstaking incognito behaviour on my behalf involving the wearing a beige nondescript suit, together with countless hours reading The Times, The Wall Street Journal and other local newspapers so as to not be noticed by the employees as they entered the corporate office. Unfortunately, I am still scared by the lack of fashion colour and style, but it was a burden that I was willing to bare for the sake of worldly corporate progress, I’m told the nightmares will eventually subside. The upside, is that my knowledge of world affairs, including the stock market, has resulted in various personal financial gains derived from highly profitable share trading, and a vast array of exclusive invitations to attend numerous London and New York high society trivia quizzes where I am deemed the font of all knowledge, and a most prized team member.

So what did the extensive research tell me? Although my study will be printed in next month’s edition of the Harvard Business Review, I’m sure that the HBR Publisher won’t mind me providing you all with a brief overview of my findings.

They key aspect to my world breaking research was the use of eagled-eyed observation. After countless detailed and personally exhaustive people watching experiences, I noticed the behaviour of all employees (particularly the attractive ones) as they entered the corporate office first thing in the morning, and then as they left that evening. The behavioural change in those inflicted employees at some businesses was profound, it was almost as if I was looking at two different people! Prior to them walking into the corporate reception area, they had a happy persona and exhibited all the normal signs of chirpiness, a willingness of thought, and a noticeable desire to learn. But once their foot stepped onto the marble tiled entrance foyer, it was as if an invisible intensely powerful force quickly sucked all the creativity from them, to which an innovative void remained until they departed the building at 5 PM sharp. At 5:01 PM, their creative vacuum was immediately replaced with their original pre-work positive behaviour. Yes, it was truly remarkable observation to behold!

Although quite mystifying, not all corporate businesses had employees that suffered from the dreaded CMIR condition. To understand the cause as to why this unexplained phenomenon may have occurred, I had to dig deeper into the observational evidence and decided to introduce the HR Managers of the companies studied into the rich complexity, and subtle machinations, of my academic research. After numerous soy milk chai lattes, and what seemed like an endless consumption of gluten-free bagels, I came to a momentous and decisive eureka moment. Apparently, the culture of the organization had a direct correlation with the onset of the CMIR. Should the culture be viewed negatively, then a high frequency of CMIR suffers prevailed. The trigger for most employees who had acute CMIR was the initial sighting of the company logo, typically first seen when they entered the company premises in the morning.  On viewing the logo, a negative and mesmeric effect immediately struck down the creatively-fragile employee resulting in a mind destroying innovation purge, luckily this was a reversible retardation that quickly ceased when exiting the building at 5 PM.

Yes, you are correct in assuming that those companies that had a positive and dynamic corporate culture that was well respected, and one that harmoniously and gleefully fitted with the employee’s lifestyle goals, experienced no CMIR sufferers. So the answer is simple. To eradicate any corrosive and long-term damaging CMIR influences in your business, management do need to focus on the right corporate culture to ensure that their business logo immediately inspires your employees when first sighted as they enter your office.

And should you need any assistance in the process, my consulting fees are indeed negotiable (but please, no gluten free bagels).

Small, Yet So Influential

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I looked intently into my colleagues deep blue eyes and asked if she really wanted to do this, because once we do it, there was no turning back? She nodded with a cheeky smile and said she was up for it, after all, it should be quite an experience! We smirked with a nervous anticipation at each other and the mutual course of action was agreed.

Together, we had the global power and reach to change the corporate business world. We were about to unleash a movement that would have a profound impact on suited workers of all ages.

She was the President of the largest clothing retailer in Europe. I, as her Vice-President of Marketing, was responsible for the viral release of her latest leading edge fashion thoughts and ideas.

I gingerly picked up the chosen fashion item and with great respect, stated how I was in awe of how something so small, was going to have such a monumental influence in business. She laughed and said, “If they only knew who wielded the power in the corporate world!”

With the colour and pattern selection made, I pressed the send button on my E-mail note to which a global fashion communication chain reaction immediately commenced. In the following hours, purchase orders from all the leading department stores around the world came flooding into our New York based Head Office. Production orders were sent to China and the petite clothing items were quickly manufactured on mass, complete with our authentic world-renowned Company label. The price mark-up would be 1000%, but we knew that the consumers would expect nothing less.

For the next 2 years, our sales growth was phenomenal. Our fashion item was seen adorning business suits in all the trendy magazines of glamour, worn by celebrities and many other wannabes, and those that just didn’t know any better.

In the quiet solitude of our very expensively furnished corporate New York boardroom, I again looked into those deep blue eyes of my colleague and gave an uncontrollable laugh! She looked at the pocket-handkerchief in my suit jacket and said, “Who would have thought!”

Taking Your Brand to New Promotional Heights

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According to my trusted meteorological iPhone app, the timing looked just right. It was 2:04 PM and by my reckoning, the clouds were at the optimum “Genus Cumulus” appearance so I should achieve the desired picture “hang time distribution” before the visual sight was dispersed by the wind. My calculations indicated that I should have about 10 minutes to brand my customised CV message to the population of New York.

I quickly glanced once again on how my image and brief professional experience synopsis looked on the “LinkedIn Cloud Projector” in preview mode, yes it all looked good. I was hoping that the QR code would come through with the right definitional clarity so potential business prospects could scan my profile details with ease. My only concern was the timing of the 2:05 PM supersonic Virgin Atlantic flight from London to New York as it could cause some cloud turbulence when it commences its gradual decent into JFK airport, but that’s one of the risks associated with personal cloud advertising these days.

OK, it was now time to press the Cloud Projector button and start the process. Immediately a thirty square kilometre coloured, and rather snazzy image of myself was beamed skywards with vibrant intensity. I was also pleased that I had spent the extra dollars on the additional promotional advertising, as suggested by the LinkedIn sales agent, as the large sonic boom with the accompanying missile explosion at 2000 feet above the New York skyline appeared to have caught the upwards attention of the New York crowds particularly nicely.

I smirked with some personal pride as my large handsome face (well, I thought so anyway) beamed across from above, that was, until that pesky Virgin Atlantic flight descended through my left nostril. However, I was relieved, as the QR code seemed to remain intact. For the next few minutes I watched as my portrait hovered quietly above New York until some high level winds decided to take one ear in the direction of Newark, the other towards Brooklyn. A few minutes later I had vanished into the upper atmosphere, except for my left eye, which remained with a look of naughtiness down on the city, then, with a final momentary wink, that also eventually disappeared.

Suddenly, I was awakened from my feeling of self-righteousness by the continual interruption of text messages on my phone. Yep, it appears that the “LinkedIn Cloud Projector” advertisement had worked! However, when the forty-first text message arrived, I was immediately brought back to reality, it was the LinkedIn invoice. Oh well, I suppose that’s the price of corporate fame!

Appearances are indeed everything?

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Ok, it was agreed, I would be “Fabian Rizzo”, the famous ballet dancer from New York (USA), Fabian would be me, “Steven Cramer”, the “alleged founder” of the world renowned “Dram” whiskey distillery in Pitlochery (Scotland).

We would meet at the select, and might I add, very exclusive Melbourne socialite dinner party at different times and collect “our” nametags and then the personality pretence would commence in earnest.

I arrived first, wearing a strikingly loud, and as equally wide, pinstripe suit complemented with a white linen tight fitting shirt with the top three buttons undone allowing my copious chest hairs freedom to peruse all observers. I did think that my bright purple socks where a tad over the top, but they seemed to work well with my thin black pointy leather shoes. Maybe the orange floral handkerchief was a little too metrosexual, but what the heck, I was “Fabian Rizzo” after all, wasn’t I!

As I arrived at the well-staffed dinner party reception table and announced my name, I was immediately swarmed over by a large number of the “beautiful people”, many of which were obviously fashion models, and to my relief, the majority of them were woman!

But my famous nametag wouldn’t be sufficient to ensure a successful evening, I had to “act the Fabian” so my walk, voice delivery and other unique mannerisms needed to prevail. The more I delved into the character, the more responsive my audience of vast admirers responded and the greater my performance. Yes, I did have a successful night, but that part will remain private, after all, one can never be sure who is actually reading these blog posts!

But I was only half the story. “Steven Cramer” also arrived at the reception table about thirty minutes after “Fabian Rizzo”, dressed in a fashionable and unpretentious dark tartan suit. His business shirt did portray some loud chunky gold cufflinks, and a tie with a full Windsor knot adorned his shirt. With a loud and deep toned Scottish accent (which sounded quite authentic by the way), he announced his name. After a brief few seconds, he was then quickly surrounded by an array of other professional looking men and woman who had a look of financial affluence and success wofting from their persona. However, to the trained eye (mine in this case, who was watching from the other side of the room), they were a gabble of bankers, stock market analysts, politicians, lawyers, a couple of alcoholics who were seeking the possibility of a fine “Dram” drop prior to making it to the dinner reception, and a variety of other “unclassified hangeronerers”. “Steven Cramer” was brilliant as he announced his market predictions for the upcoming whiskey market and provided his confidential and creative insights on what made a good glass of the Scottish liquor. Rumours were that he also managed to have quite a successful evening from various anonymous reports the following morning.

Now you may be wondering how these exploits of disguise benefit those that work in the corporate office or any other organization? Well, it all comes down to how people become fixated with the personal image associated with an individual and whether it is really deserved or not. It is quite common for employees to be impressed by a manager’s job title and play along accordingly thinking that they might benefit from the association. Some people tend to be too easily fooled by the public “label” that disguises the person wearing it, and should focus more on the actual person inside the “labelled garment”.

It is also interesting to observe from a third person perspective just how your co-workers actually view you as exemplified by this famous “Fabian Rizzo” and “Steven Cramer” role reversal. Similarly, whether these colleagues are really interested in you, or the role you portray?

PS: In case you were wondering, yes, “Fabian Rizzo” and “Steven Cramer” did indeed compare notes the following morning and the learnings were quite interesting for both individuals.

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