Enough is Indeed Enough

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Gentlemen, it’s time for a private revolution in the corporate office because you are losing the “you”, in you. Yes, many of you have voluntarily discarded your individuality in order to become part of the accepted “we”. But the unconscious sacrifice you have made has significantly impacted your personal creativity.

Remember the time in your working life when you wanted to be noticed, when you desired to be the centre of attention, when you had something important to say, and were unrepentant when you said it?

When did we all morph into a state of visual uniformity and become a subdued and quiet collective of “I”s?

Here are some clues to help you revitalise your memory, and to inspire you into again thinking that little bit differently.

The neck tie – Gone!
Recall those colourful items of clothing that used to adorn your neck, complete with the additional visual benefit of fashionably differentiating your frontal business appearance from your colleagues? Alas, one can regretfully say the same about the unfortunate demise of the visually appealing bow-tie, similarly, the majestic cravat.

Chest Hairs – slowly growing back!
Men used to be men, and hairy. We used to have copious volumes of hairs publicly sprouting with unashamed gusto from our chests, and our faces. To think that men now voluntarily shave their manes off to achieve a follicle look of commonality, good god! Thankfully, this does not apply to those men who have boldly bucked the trend, and have courageously, and most deliberately, shaved their heads as a mark of their commitment to the male cause for innovation.

Hats – a mark of respect!
In the not too distant past, men looked resplendent with a stylish hat firmly placed upon our heads where we could selectively doff our head covering in recognition, and respect of a fellow worker, confidant, or compatriot. Thankfully, with the advent of the bald head, this item of clothing is making a welcome resurgence.

Watches – steps of progress!
Strategically positioned on the left or right wrist used to be a masterly engineered time piece of precision. This has now been replaced by a devise that measures steps, typically known as a FITBIT. Men used to compare other items to assert their masculinity, now it’s the number of steps walked in a work day, or week. I ask you, where will it end?

So gentlemen, take heed of this warning, and visually state your support in hindering this unwelcome disintegration of your individual creativity when in the corporate office. Enough is indeed enough. It’s now time to make the change!

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!”

Business As Unusual

Another piece of Strange Fruit

When it’s your first time in a new office, you tend to notice things, and I was definitely observing! This place was certainly different!

I sat down with one of my new work colleagues and noticed that he was wearing different coloured socks. Nothing unusual I thought, at least he wasn’t wearing a brown shoe on his left foot, and a black one on his right one, like the guy walking past us!

I then noticed that a young woman sitting near us was wearing a white stylish shirt, but there were no buttons, rather an array of brightly coloured loops that when intertwined kept the shirt together. This was complemented with some stockings under her skirt that had a most unusual motif.

Another work colleague was sipping their steaming short black coffee with a rather transparent bendy straw, the ceramic coffee cup was blue, but the cup saucer was red.

On checking the time on the office walk clock, I saw that the clock hands were reversed, the minute hand was short, the hour hand was long, to add to the confusion, it also went backwards.

Was there nothing “usual” in this office?

I just had to find out what was going on and leaned over to my new colleague and asked him why this office was “different”?

He responded with a most curious reply. He said that here in this office it is “Business as Unusual”. I was sure that I’d not heard him incorrectly and said, “You mean “Business as Usual”? His reply was immediate, “No, it’s “Business as Unusual”. Here in this office, innovation is not a separate business activity defined by a Department of Innovation, nor a Chief Innovation Officer, here innovation is naturally and effortlessly demonstrated in every activity and behaviour undertaken, by all employees. Innovation is not a process that you turn on and off when there is a business need, it is part of your corporate DNA and it needs to be continually expressed, what’s more, it’s expected. Business should never be “usual”, if it is, then innovation has no hope in succeeding”.

“What a great organisation”, I thought. Upon which I decided it was definitely time to do some corporate clothes shopping, I urgently needed some new business attire before I took one further step in this office!

Yes, it’s “Business as Unusual”!

Your Very Own Personal “Sound Globe™”

Noise reduction ! the simple way !!

I re-inserted my snug fitting iPhone earplugs, quickly turned up the volume and hoped that the prevailing musical tones would assist with masking out the perpetual, and most unwelcome, office noise. On looking around the building, I noticed that the majority of my fellow workers, all had a similar array of self-imposed audio devices strategically placed within their inner ear canals with the hope of achieving that prized goal of thinking privacy.

Arhh yes, “the joys of working in an open planned office” I hear you all say with clenched teeth as you stifle the awkward exit of these words from your feigned smiling mouths!

For those of you that have the luxury of audio solitude as you sit within the contained comfort of your enclosed corporate office with a sound inhibiting door, you no longer need to feel isolated from this “joyous experience” as I have a cunning, and somewhat innovative solution, that will enable you to leave your well-guarded “den of silence” and happily re-engage with your work colleagues. I can hear your cheers of quiet approval already!

The key is in thinking differently! Rather than hindering unwanted audible sounds from entering your ears, why not stop recalcitrant and loud voices from leaving your head?

According to a “reputable and well known” materials engineering design source “close” to the author of this blog post, there will soon be a “yet to be invented” transparent, ceramic type material that has a unique combination of physical properties that include sound absorption, light weight and breathability. The material can be easily shaped to accommodate the contour of a human head and will be internationally promoted in all good retail stores under the “Sound Globe™” trademark, so all office workers will be able to readily purchase one.

Just imagine being able to purchase your own custom moulded “Sound Globe™” with the following features and benefits:

Silence
As no sound can permeate through the patented material used to construct the “Sound Globe™”, each device will have an inbuilt mobile phone transmitter so the wearer can communicate freely with the outer world. However, to those people standing next to the “Sound Globe™” wearer, no sound will be heard, the only indication of talk being the mimed mouth movements of the head within the device.

Hair
Some users of the “Sound Globe™” may not like the look of perceived baldness from the exceptionally smooth and shiny ceramic texture. To alleviate this public look, each “Sound Globe™” can be fitted with a visually pleasing externally mounted Velcro hair piece that can be obtained in a variety of fashionable lengths and stylish colours.
An additional benefit is derived for those that don’t like getting their real hair wet when walking in the rain as the “Sound Globe™” provides complete weather protection from the harshest meteorological conditions.

Air Circulation
Each “Sound Globe™” has its own inbuilt air heating and cooling system. So on those days when the office temperature may get a little bit unpleasant, relax, as that look of facial perspiration is now a thing of the past.

Embarrassment
The “Sound Globe™” also measures facial colour change. So should you be a person who readily blushes, when this red colour is identified, the “Sound Globe™” quickly goes a solid black thereby disguising any personal embarrassment. However, should this occur, it is recommended that the wearer not move for at least 5 seconds, just in case they collide with a fellow worker owing to lack of external sight, and to ensure the requisite office HSE compliance.

Smokers
The “Sound Globe™” does have a no-smoking design policy. Firstly, it will be difficult for you to place a cigarette into your mouth owing to the poor hand access to your lips. Secondly, should you manage to sneak a lit cigarette into your “Sound Globe™”. an inbuilt water spray is immediately released in order to extinguish any potential fire threat.

Of course there are many more benefits associated with this remarkable device, but I don’t want this blog post to sound too much like a product advertisement (as I do have a potential “conflict of interest”), so I will curtail my list to only those key ones mentioned above.

So the future of the open plan office does indeed look positive and one that ensures maximum sound productivity for all employees. Rumours are that the “Sound Globe™, will be available in the “near” future, so may I suggest that you quickly pre-order your own device to ensure that you do not miss out, and thereby avoid any personal disappointment.

The Thought of Antiquities

Antique shop window - Lillie Road

I must admit, I am not a fan of the whole shopping experience. When I need to purchase an item, I go straight to the target shop, buy the required product, and then quickly make a planned and strategically executed escape out the nearest exit!

However, there is one particular shop where this focussed stealth methodology seems to not work for me, that of an Antique Dealer. Here I can happily spend hours fossicking through the vast array of totally unexpected items. In these premises I have no preconceived idea of what to expect, I just meander through the pre-owned range of second-hand inventory gleefully absorbing the visual feast of gadgets, furniture, paintings, knick-knacks and other ornaments. In some instances, I don’t actually purchase anything, but I always leave the shop with numerous ideas of optimistic purchase possibilities that might just be useful for some project when I get home.

On examining my thought further, I willingly enter the Antique Dealer with an open mind, I have no preconceived objectives, except in the exploration of new and potentially exciting objects. On seeing these items, my mind is subconsciously linking these antique items with my existing home objects.

There is an interesting corollary here with the process of generating solutions to specific problems in our private lives or in the corporate world. In many instances we tend to quickly focus on a solution without exploring other options, some of which may take time and patience to develop. Most of us follow the “get-in/get-out” shopping approach that I typically follow, but the better solution is to let your thoughts wander contentedly along with an open mind (ie the “Antique Dealer” approach).

In the corporate world, time pressures and business imperatives tend to cloud our ability to take the “Antique Dealer” approach, but I would suggest this strategy as the outcome will be more beneficial and satisfying to all those involved.

Just a thought that might just be useful in the future?

 

Mannequin Motivation

Interview Series, Arlington Street between Boylston and Newbury Streets, Store Window Displays, Ida Claire and Esther Dorothy, Inc.

When walking past any clothing department store, you will typically observe a mannequin in the shop window parading the latest fashions and accessories.

The purpose of this promotional activity is to attract your attention and to entice you into thinking about how those clothes may look on you. As part of this process, you may visualize where you could wear these exciting items of clothing, and also the reaction you may receive from your friends, family and work colleagues. Your thoughts are no longer standing in front of the shop window, they are now travelling to various geographic locations and different emotional states via the use of your imagination.

What about using the motivational benefits derived from these mannequins in the corporate office?

Just imagine having a mannequin strategically positioned in the office foyer as you enter the building. Each Monday morning, the attire of the mannequin would change to provide a theme for the week and to act as a thought provoker. Some potential clothing options:

Personal Wellbeing: sporting clothes (eg tennis outfit)
Creative Thinking: 1960s “flower power” clothes
Watch out for the competition: a suit of armor
New Business Development: a mountain explorer
Appraisal Time: a corporate suit
Holidays: swimwear

The mannequin could also hold message signs to highlight specific business events and communications. For instance, if it was the boss’s birthday, a sign stating “It’s my birthday today, so please enjoy a longer lunch break to celebrate!”….the possibilities are endless!

So next time you walk past that clothing store, think about the “motivational mannequin” and how it could improve the morale in your business.