The Eyes of Electronic Stimulation

eyes

The E-mail designated “High Priority” in large red font from the HSE Director arrived in my Inbox at exactly 5 PM. It advised all employees that tomorrow was going to be an “Electronic Free Day”. I, and my fellow work colleagues, read the following safety directive as stipulated with keen interest.

Attention All Staff,

Owing to a dramatic increase in the number of deteriorating eyesight complaints derived from employee’s continually using work computers, iPhones, iPads and other electronic visual stimulators, we have been advised by our insurance underwriters that we have now reached the maximum number of optical claims allowed for this year.

As such, we have decided to mitigate this corporate eyeball risk by announcing that every Wednesday will now be deemed an “Electronic Free Day” (EFD), commencing tomorrow.

The IT department has been advised to implement an unconditional electricity supply freeze on all computer assets which will be effective between the hours of 8 AM to 5 PM.

When arriving at work, please place all personal smartphone devices, tablets, kindles, and other such like into the nominated collection baskets as advised by the Safety Wardens. Any refusal will result in immediate dismissal.

At your workstation, each employee will be greeted with a pen (complete with ink), writing paper (devoid of any words) that are to be used to capture any creative thoughts that may be generated during the work day. For those staff that may have forgotten how to use these work implements, a special tutorial has been scheduled in the auditorium at 9 AM.

On your desk, you will also find a personalised information sheet that provides some suggested finger exercises to ensure that no repetitive strain injuries (RSI) occur, please take a moment to familiarise yourself with the movements.

We value your eye safety, particularly as it will reduce our insurance premiums.

The management team thanks you for your understanding and optical conformance, so together, our business future will be visually bright.

Regards

HSE Director

That Collingwood Road Behaviour

Aarne

It was raining heavily and I could just see the black car’s white dull headlights behind me as I was travelling at 105 kilometres/hour along the M1 Motorway. He was tailgating me so closely that I easily observed the agitated, and rather nasty looking facial expression of the aggressive, toothless driver in between the fast swishing movement of his windscreen wipers. I tried to move out of his way, but couldn’t, owing to the heavy traffic congestion in the other lanes, so I just tolerated his unpleasantness for the next minute as he followed in my slipstream.

He flashed his lights, honked his horn and gave me a finger gesture that I presumed was not one of friendship. I just waved back at him, but I don’t think it was appreciated in a positive manner as he responded with additional fist waving and a sneer on his face that was well suited to the most passionate Collingwood* football club supporter.

Finally, he saw a tight opening in an adjacent lane and like a magpie swooped into it without any hesitation. Unfortunately for him, it was a tad too snug, particularly as it was bordered by two large trucks which were startled by his sudden movement that caused the front truck driver to slam on his brakes. My impatient “friend’s” car slammed into the back of the truck at full force leading to chaos for all concerned. Mayhem soon prevailed as the carnage was littered all over the road.

Yes, this is fiction, particularly as those you know me, as I would never travel at 105 kilometres/hour in the fast lane! But, let’s think about this driver’s behaviour from a business perspective.

How many employees in your corporate office follow the same methodology, or route of behaviour, in a stayed and undeviating manner every day? It’s just like that impatient “Collingwood driver” that follows so closely the car in front that they can’t see what obstacles are approaching due to their limited vision of the business journey ahead.

A good driver continually looks out for those frequently changing road conditions and adjusts their speed accordingly. If a major roadblock is identified, they could wait for it to be cleared, but instead they quickly and wisely manoeuvre around it to find a more strategic approach.

Why do most businesses tolerate the lemming employee that just blindly follows those in front of them without any question or thought? Why not encourage a variety of driver skills that can cope and excel in numerous business conditions? Some employees will need to be trained to cope with high speeds, others off road terrains, some the more conservative stop-start city driving, but all of them need to know how to recognise potential danger and the process for steering around it.

So next time you see a driver with that “Collingwood appearance” in your rear view mirror, just let them go past unhindered as they have no idea where they are going, and are regrettably only thinking a few metres in front of their nose (assuming they can see it)!

———

* Collingwood Football Club: http://www.collingwoodfc.com.au/

That Virgin Airline Safety Announcement

Things You Notice

As I was sitting in my allocated seat in my now rather too frequent weekly Virgin flight from Melbourne to Sydney, I vaguely heard the all too familiar safety demonstration which was telling me what to do in an emergency. I, like many other frequent flyers had become rather blasé to this important message. The announcement was one that I should pay attention to, but when you have heard it so many times, the competing options of sleeping, reading a book, or examining the lipstick colour being worn by the air hostess just seems to take precedence! (By the way, yes the lipstick colour does change, the wearer apparently has the option to tailor their own lip colouring depending on what mood they are in on that day…just in case you were wondering…and yes, I did ask!)

This got me thinking. Most of us in the corporate office have a daily routine that changes quite infrequently, if at all. We tend to arrive at work at the same time, park our cars in the same allocated spot, start the day with that all too familiar long black, take a banana from the corporate fruit basket to be eaten later, and then arc up our computers as we take a big sigh in preparation as we work our way through the torrent of new emails in our inbox. Sound familiar?

So why not utilize the safety announcement protocols that are used by the airlines to deliver a message to motivate all employees at the start of the day with the right mind set? Well, with a few tailored variations of course!!

No, I’m not suggesting that the leadership team wear red lipstick, just like the Virgin air hostesses and parade around the office in an attempt to rev up the employees, but it would certainly be a unique and different spectacle that would indeed be noticed.

Instead, like on the plane, let’s focus on the office PA systems that are typically only used for practice emergency drills where that all too familiar ‘whoop, whoop’ sounds permeates through the building just when you are about to skull that freshly purchased coffee, or start that all important phone call.

So why can’t we use that corporate PA system slightly differently? Why couldn’t the CEO deliver a morning motivational message that is full of wit, anecdotes and other words of perceived cleverness? This would of course test the inspirational personality characteristics of the CEO, but this is a simple, yet creative task, that they should be able to do without even having to blink!

Other thoughts for the PA message could include; some boppy dance music (maybe The Eurythmics ‘Sweet Dreams are made of this’), a chapter read from a thought provoking book, some karaoke that all employees join in with, some voice impressions…the key is to have something different. Why not use the PA system at random times of the day to minimize employee complacency? Instead of the PA system, why not utilize the corporate spruiker concept where the CEO walks around the office corridors with a megaphone blasting out innovative words of motivation? I’m sure that you can think of many more ideas that break the boring corporate mold of minimal motivation!

So maybe next time you are sitting on the plane you might now listen to the safety announcement with a slightly different perspective? If not, well, make sure you have a good sleep instead!

Eyes Down with a Positive Perspective

cemstride

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!