The Floor of Discovery

Zero Gravity

I arrived late in the afternoon at my Darling Harbour hotel and walked up to the check-in desk with what was obviously a public look of tiredness on my face. After all, I was rather exhausted after meandering through the endless Sydney traffic congestion for the past one and a half hours in a hire car that promised a five star driving experience, but disappointedly only delivered half a star at best!

At the check-in desk, a stunning young woman, with a smile that instantaneously vaporised any prevailing thought of exhaustion, immediately greeted me. Her name was Renee, and she was dressed impeccably in her modern Finnish designer blue and white hotel business attire from “Marimekko”.

Renee, who must have had a sophisticated and well-trained version of ESP (which would explain her esteemed management position of “Manager of Greet”) said, “Relax Mr Cramer, we know exactly what you need and have the perfect room waiting for you”. Renee then gave a subtle and deliberate “nod” to Vanessa, The Hotel Manager, who was also dressed in a slightly more grand and colourful fashion outfit that just exuded that look of “perfection and wow”, as befitted her seniority. Vanessa responded with a corresponding smile of understanding and then made a surreptitious phone call, which gave me the feeling that a strategic, and well-planned course of action had now been quietly implemented.

Renee then handed me the card-key to room 1026 and said, I have allocated you a special room in our newly built “Discovery Floor”, and you will be our first guest to use and benefit from the experience. I gave Renee a “surprised and inquisitive” look, to which the reply was “trust me, all will be good”. How could I doubt, nor resist the honesty of that smile?

I took the card-key, politely thanked both Renee and Vanessa, and then caught the hotel elevator up to the tenth floor with a strong feeling of anticipation, and might I say, a slight fear of the unknown!

A few minutes later I arrived at a large and most impressive, solid wooden door with the silver embossed numbers 1026 positioned centrally above it. I cautiously opened the door, but momentarily stopped before entering as I listened to what seemed like a quick rushing of air. I entered the room and encountered a small and totally pristine white reception area. Once inside, I heard the main door to my room close and yet again the distinctive sound of air movement prevailed.

Three seconds later (although the time seemed like an eternity), another door from the small white room opened. As I walked in, I sensed my feet starting to feel rather strange and awkward. I tried to stop moving, but couldn’t, as the forward momentum pushed me onwards, but I eventually stopped and noticed that I was about two metres above the floor. In what I could only state as an impression of absolute disbelief, I saw that my bed was floating, as was all the items in the room. Yep, I was in a room with zero gravity! So this was what Renee was talking about!

After about thirty minutes acclimatising to my new sensation of weightlessness, I realised I was indeed most relaxed. All stresses previously experienced in my day had been replaced with this new found “Room of Discovery”, and I was thoroughly enjoying it!

The following morning after having a most amazing and unique nights sleep, I again saw Renee as I checked out of the hotel. She smirked at the shaving cut about my top lip, to which I replied, I didn’t quite master the bathroom “discovery experience”, but everything else was just superb!

And yes, I will be most definitely staying at this hotel again! As I left, I recalled that this hotel had eleven floors, and pondered what other discoveries awaited those who had mastered Floor 10? Next time, I thought!

Me, Myself and “I”

Sonrisa ante el espejo

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.

Seeking that Optimal Balance

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The rather assertive, and I thought rather scary young woman, dressed impeccably in the bland and very dark company coloured uniform, beckoned me forward as I was next in the line and requested my name. Without any hesitation so as to not potentially upset her, I quickly replied, “CRAMER, Steven”. My name was immediately crossed off the list.

She, although her name badge said ‘Mandy’ (I wouldn’t dare call her this for fear of appearing too friendly) then asked me and my luggage to stand on the scales to which the total weight was duly recorded with minimal facial expression nor interest.

I was then given my helicopter boarding pass which specified my seating position for the short flight out to the off shore oil platform in Bass Strait some distance off the Southern Australian coastline.

All this procedural rigmarole was apparently required to ensure the helicopter weight was balanced from a safety perspective as we traversed the fierce, and somewhat unpredictable, cyclonic wind gusts to our offshore destination.

Now this got me thinking about the corporate office and how the business tries to “balance” their people skill sets to achieve the best chance of success. Well, I say this comment a little bit tongue in cheek as most organisations unfortunately don’t actually do this aviation procedure of ‘skill balancing’ particularly well. If they were indeed a helicopter, I suspect many of them would be flying along lopsided with a predominance of accountants, HR, engineers, extroverts or introverts! No wonder many companies tend to plummet to their financial doom and fail to obtain their targeted business objectives!

As each business objective may be different, management (just like ‘Mandy’) need to plan accordingly to ensure the right ‘weight’ mix of skills are on board. This skill set will often change based on the task and velocity of the objective required.

Now when potential danger looms, a pilot may reluctantly jettison a selected item from the aircraft to avoid jeopardizing the entire mission. Should a business encounter unexpected climatic economic turbulence, it may necessitate the ejection of some awkward and oversized individuals who are exacerbating the effect. If this needs to be done, the kind and humane approach is to provide these people with a personalized parachute before pushing them out the door, but there are some mean spirited and callous managers who like the free-fall spectacle. For those who choose the latter, may I remind them that what goes up does eventually come down, and lands with a massive hard thump!

Yes, it’s all in planning which bottoms you want in which seats in your next business mission. Without the right “bottom balance” it could be a rather uncomfortable and long flight.

One final comment and it relates to the scenery the business will observe as you travel to your intended destination and this relates to your choice of navigator. For the optimum journey of learning and excitement, may I suggest placing a creative individual in this role and your flight will never be boring!

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.