Just Let Go of the Handle

exceso-de-equipaje-01

Yes, I was getting rather red-faced, and quite ashamedly puffed, as I slowly walked up the steeply inclined hill, dressed in my conservatively fashionable grey striped corporate suit as I struggled to pull my now permanently attached heavy personal load of legacy.

Just then, a woman furnishing a strikingly long blond bouncy pony-tail in a smashing dark blue skirt, and might I say equally impressive matching business jacket, whooshed past me in high heels with a remarkably larger suitcase. I looked in awe at her powerful and decisive walking strides as I tried to fathom out how she managed to do it with such energetic ease!

But my gaze was quickly interrupted by another two sprightly dressed managers running at an even faster pace, both pulling their custom designed Samsonite luggage four-wheelers, each embellished with their own names in large gold font.

Then something happened, I know not why, or how, but that’s irrelevant.

For some unpredictable reason, I’d had enough of this torturous pulling task and quickly made a strategic life-changing decision to let go of my suitcase. A few seconds later, this thought vacuole representing all my personal hang-ups dropped to the footpath with a sound deafening thud.

Everyone around me on the pristinely manicured corporate pathway of business life immediately stopped at this most unexpected strange sight. Many of my work colleagues looked dumbfounded as they tried to comprehend my unforeseen spontaneous action. Those that despised any change in their corporate routine passionately pleaded with me to quickly bend down and pick up my personal baggage, before it was too late to correct. They had obviously assumed that I must have made some unprecedented forgetful error of judgement, or I was suffering the result of various undiagnosed terminal medical conditions.

But it was no mistake.

“Are you OK? How do you feel?”

Questions exploring my sanity repeatedly permeated from all the travellers on the well-worn corporate path. A crowd had now gathered resulting in massive suitcase puller traffic chaos that continued to radiate in an exponentially increasing larger circumference. As the minutes progressed, more and more office workers quickly became entangled in my individual thought encapsulated suitcase stoppage.

Eventually, as my shock subsided, I was able to talk, and the words just naturally came out.

“I feel spiffily brilliant! A mind deadening tumorous weight that has been curiously burdening, and labelling me, for all my working life has now been lifted. More importantly, no longer will I carry the mistakes from my past. From now on, I will start each working day with no encumbrances! I can only urge, and encourage all of you, to join me in experiencing this unique thinking sensation!”

Then to my surprise, one by one, those on the corporate footpath of professional life slowly started unshackling their tightly gripped hands from their own emotional chains of longstanding baggage ownership. A few minutes later, the once neat business path now resembled a crowded luggage carousel at London’s Heathrow airport where a stockpile of randomly placed suitcases littered the path’s perimeter extremities!

The sound of joy, laughter and intoxicating chatter quickly prevailed and reverberated through the surrounding corporate environment as no one elected to pick up their once owned thought baggage.

And so it remained from that eventful day forth.

So next time you travel on business, have a good look at your luggage, and remember with confident assurance that your past has no influence on your future, however, you do need to make the decision to consciously let go of the handle, and never look back.

Measuring Employee Happiness

The black color didn’t make the homecoming dress lose the sense of cute. Do you agree with me?

There is a question that has been puzzling me for a while now (well, at least a few minutes), and that is; “How should we measure real success in the corporate office?”

No, I’m not talking the traditional financial measurements such as profit, sales or share price, just to name a few. I’m referring to the more important measures of whether an organisation has a successful culture that promotes innovation and an employee mood of happiness.

There have been many a study which has tried to chart an individual’s mood, one of the more creative ones being the “Hemline Index”. “This theory suggests that hemlines on women’s dresses rise along with stock prices. In good economies, we get such results as miniskirts (as seen in the 1960s), or in poor economic times, as shown by the 1929 Wall Street Crash, hems can drop almost overnight.”
(Ref: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemline_index#cite_ref-1)

Other such notable indexes also include items such as laxatives and deodorants! “During a recession, laxatives go up, because people are under tremendous stress, and holding themselves back,” said Shapiro, now chief executive of SAGE, a Chicago-based consulting firm. “During a boom, deodorant sales go up, because people are out dancing around.”
(Ref: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/19/business/worldbusiness/19iht-19lewin.17068071.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

Now as a corporate employee that understands the protocols of “acceptable behaviour in the workplace”, I would not even consider the application of the “Hemline Index”, the “Deodorant Index”, and I’m not even going near the “Laxative Index”, but there must be some other “acceptable” measures that can be used by the organisation to highlight their success in this area? This conundrum got me thinking!

What about the following potential mood measurements in the office:

1. The Wall Bounce Chart
A line could be painted on all office walls at a constant height position of say 5 feet. Theory (according to “someone”) suggests that when a person is happy, they tend to have a bounce in their walking step. Therefore the logical next step is to measure an employee’s “walk bounce” as they sojourn around the office corridors. The higher the bounce deviation from the 5 feet benchmark reference line, the happier the employees working in that office.

2. The Coloured Attire
According to the “someone” that discovered the walking bounce indicator, another indicator of employee happiness is the colour of their clothes. Those who habitually dress in sombre black or grey clothes (besides being residents of Melbourne) are typified as being quite conservative and less known to whoop it up in the corporate office. Whereas, those adorned with colour, well, they are exhibiting all the classic signs of success and a want to let the world know of their personal satisfaction and excitement.

3. The Organic Tea Bag
When an employee is stressed, the common drink of choice is coffee or tea. However, according again to that “someone”, another important measurement of happiness is the clutter observed around the organic tea bag jar located in the office communal kitchen. Happy employees are reported to drink more organic tea and they like to woft their tea bags around in the air with a gleeful flick prior to placing them in the bin. The result is a mixture of tea bag tags randomly tossed around the kitchen and the strange odour of combined chamomile, lemon, chai and green tea fumes.

I’m sure that you can think of many more mood measurement indexes that would complement the above three ideas.

So why don’t corporate organisations list these important indexes in their annual reports, or in the monthly newsletters? May I suggest that you lobby your GM of HR to get these indexes incorporated into your company’s cultural measures of employee success? Yes, it’s just a thought to make you think that little bit differently!

Hairovation

Kaela

So as to keep the gender balance politically correct with respect to innovation in the corporate office, I thought it was appropriate to focus on a topic that was targeted more at the professional woman. So this blog post is aimed at the lady readers of my blog.

No, I’m not going to talk about skirt length, stockings, shirts, bras, lipstick, shoes or perfume, in fact, I’m not even going near it, particularly as there might be a few HR managers perusing these words, and let’s be quite honest, my knowledge in this area is somewhat limited. But, what I will talk about is hair colour!

Women have the option to change hair colour depending on what mood and image they are trying to convey. It can be long, short, wavy, curled, spiked and even shaved, and yes, people in the corporate office do notice! Hair colour appearance seems to directly influence confidence and behaviour. If you feel good about yourself, well, this permeates into how you react with your colleagues and those you come into contact with from a business and personal perspective.

This got me thinking…what if we now expanded this hair creativity not just to woman, but also to men? Just imagine the possibilities!

I am one of those men who enjoys that ‘free from head hair’ appearance. Why shouldn’t I also explore various hairstyles to generate some innovative discussion in the corporate office? Why shouldn’t I wear a variety of hairpieces of differing length and colour? One day I could be a red head, the next day a longhaired blonde, or even adorn a couple of ponytails? I’m sure that it would be noticed and would lead to some interesting dialog, potentially even a compliment or two?

Let’s just not stop at hairpieces, why not consider eyebrows, beards or moustaches! I hear you say, why not expand the hair creativity also to woman? Well, absolutely, if woman also want to try a hairpiece, fake beard or moustache, well why not! I’m all for equal opportunity in the workplace!

The key is to make people think differently and to crack open the corporate mold of conservatism. I challenge you to give it a go in your office! Why not have a ‘free hair day’ on a Friday? Go on…..I dare you!!

Office Roller Skating Instructors

skates

Last night I experienced something that I hadn’t done for quite a long time….yes, I went roller skating! It was a successful encounter, mainly because I didn’t fall over and I remained vertical throughout the whole activity, apart from landing rather heavily on my bottom when I transitioned from the rink to the external carpeted area in the viewing area…but thankfully, I don’t think anyone noticed!

What was the secret to my success? My delightful and charming instructor who I must admit provided me with the confidence and inspiration to do it. The key was to not focus on the mechanics of the actual roller-skating activity, but rather to “get into the groove and rhythm” of the gliding encounter. Once I started to change my mindset and “let go of my inhibitions”, the whole experience became really quite enjoyable. However, I was brought down a peg or two in my perceived self-brilliance when my instructor whizzed past me at top speed backwards whilst balancing on one skate! Maybe I’ll try that in my second lesson? (Or is that my twenty-second lesson!!)

This got me thinking. When we are in the corporate office, how do we cope with those awkward and rather stressful situations? Most of us tend to focus on all the potential negatives that cause our inhibition levels to dramatically increase thereby impacting our ability to perform at the required level. For me with roller skating, prior to be entering the rink, I was thinking about the various injuries I might experience such as broken bones, pulled muscles, and my biggest concern being severe embarrassment!

One potential solution in the corporate office is to have an “instructor” that walks around the building offering support and advise to those in need? They may not want to be dressed like my roller skating instructor who was adorned in a rather short and impressive flappy skating skirt, but something more corporately appropriate would suffice. But they do need to have a personality that enlists confidence in those that they talk to so they can readily overcome their concerns, and to just be there to offer a “helping hand” when required.

So next time you are walking the corridors within your office with any self doubt, may I suggest you keep an eye out for any helpful “instructors” that may be “gracefully skating” past you! If you do see them, don’t be scared to shout out and seek some help and experience so you can perform with greater confidence and ability.

Coat Buttons Undone

Winter Walk

In the colder months of the year, should you quickly glance at the commuting business person when they are travelling to and from the office, it is most likely that you will notice a common corporate appearance – black coat, single coloured scarf and the occasional dark gloves. If it is raining, the umbrella is usually of a colour to complement the coat, once again…black.

However, when this worker arrives at the office and disrobes their black coat and scarf, there is an observed vibrancy of coloured shirts, ties, suits and skirts.

To me this is an interesting conundrum.

All these workers have a similar external appearance as typified by the black coat, yet once the “coat buttons are undone”, each of them has their own unique dress style that expresses their individual personality.

So in the office environment, don’t judge a person’s character and capability by their external persona. Try to get to understand them better when they have been given the opportunity to demonstrate some of their hidden talents!