Claim your Pantaloon Freedom

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On standing up from my desk chair, I immediately felt the unexpected gaze of my colleagues. Some of the looks were based on admiration; others on envy, there was even the occasional involuntary gasp of astonishment. However, to me, the experience was refreshing and reminded me very much of my younger days.

Regardless of your sex, you have all experienced the feeling. It was in the days when we were unashamed to flaunt it all, our bare skin, free to the world, purposefully unhidden below any wads of consolidated fibres of corporate cloth.

We wore our innovative adventures with pride, and accumulated countless scars that testified our forays into the carefree and creative world in which we lived, unperturbed about the potential future consequences.

In our unprotected state, we immediately experienced the changing moods of our surrounding environment. For those of us with an abundance of hairs, these quickly stood erect in complete barometric harmony with the prevailing climatic conditions.

Yes, we were the wearers of shorts and our knees relished in their uncovering.

But at a certain age, our lives changed significantly when we decided, or were instructed by those that knew better, to wear trousers. At this point in time we became pantaloon conformists. No longer would our knees enjoy that continual breeze woft that symbolised our youthful exhilaration of openness.

As the years progressed, that haphazard child-like naivety and knee-free explorative thought slowly became extinct, particularly for those in the corporate office who habitually and unthinkingly wear a suit.

But relax, yours knees are quite resilient and will with the right air stimulation quickly revert back to their native state of youthfulness and inspiration. The corrective process is simple, just start wearing shorts in the office.

Don’t worry yourself about rules of fashion, you can wear long walk socks, short ankle length socks, or go ankle commando.

For that professional look, a tailored short does look the best, together with the belt that used to reside in your conservative suit trousers that will instantaneously welcome your new, and refreshing lease of life, now less rigidly “waistful”. Should you wear a business shirt, tie or jacket with your shorts? The choice is entirely up to you, but definitely not the corporate branded T-shirt, as you will want to vehemently maintain the creative personal innovation that your knees have fought so hard to physically obtain.

Yes, I was enjoying the experience of wearing shorts in the corporate office. My knees were once again unhindered, and so was my thought. In direct thoughtful knee correlation, my mind now gratefully welcomed its cloth shackle-less freedom, and acknowledged that I had once again rediscovered my true source of innovation.

When a Building Thinks

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According to the erection date chiselled into my cornerstone, I’m a middle aged corporate building as measured by employee years. However, as all the other offices around me keep telling me, with age, comes experience, and I have seen it all.

My occupants come and go, make noise during the daylight hours, but thankfully they let me rest during the night which allows me time to recuperate and get my office back in order with the assistance of what they call “cleaners”.

Like all thinking entities, as I get older, I do start to lose a few fibres from my carpets, the walls and fixtures take on a slightly more shabby look, and there is the occasional random odour from the basement, but a regular make-over seems to do the trick which helps me look decades younger. The key to my youthful appearance is in having a well defined, and rigid inspection regime, where a realm of specialist tradespeople annually check me over and make sure my inners are operating efficiently. If not, a non-working item is quickly identified, rooted out and professionally replaced with something more modern. Any discomfort, or embarrassment that I may experience during this operation as my private rooms are exposed to all observers, is quickly forgotten when I consider the longer-term benefits.

As I’m more “buildingly” mature, I also have the ability to be the master of my occupant destiny, a trait many younger buildings can only aspire to, and one that I’m regularly quizzed about. For those of you that have read my many interviews in the Harvard Building Review (HBR), I won’t repeat the details here so as not to sound too pompous, nor repetitive. But for those that haven’t, the key is in using your inherent building skills to manipulate those within you. For example, should I experience an internal people upset that needs to be purged, I evoke my fire sprinkler system to remedy and dampen down the origin of the disturbance. Another option is to deliberately rest a people section of my building structure by strategically removing the power supply from the offending area. For those occasions that need a rapid solution, nothings beats the immediacy of a broken sewer pipe or gas leak which seems to work every time! But as a word of caution, don’t use this last one too often, otherwise you may find yourself being served with an official building condemnation notice which can cut short your life expectancy quite quickly.

Like all buildings, there will come a time when I’m no longer appreciated and I will be asked to make way for something an architect deems younger, more fashionable and environmentally friendlier. No, I’m not perturbed, because I know that I will be reincarnated once again into yet another building as my structural DNA is recycled and used as foundation rubble fill, thereby continuing my thought, and influence, in the corporate office.

Image: https://flic.kr/p/nfyCmP

The Choice is in Your Hand – Left or Right?

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For many years now, men of all ages, have been daunted with one of the most important life choices that needs to be made on a daily basis first thing each morning. This decision is not one that should ever be rushed, nor should it be trivialized, as the resultant selection will linger for the remainder of the day until eventually corrected that evening with a potential, and welcome, sigh of relief.

For most men, symmetry is the most common selection criterion, but some do like to go with a surprise methodology that may invoke that well known law of uncertainty and mystique. Others may match colour, size and complexity to complement their prevailing mood. Some may utilize a delayed surprise and shock strategy that requires a pointed unveiling, at the appropriate time, to reinforce and embellish an important event. For me, I go with an approach that is built entirely around complete randomness, however, having them is a non-negotiable life necessity.

Women and children have also been known to partake in their use as they reinforce diversity and are not bound, nor limited, by any classification of stereotype, nor allocated gender.

The items are ageless and can be passed down between generations to signify belonging, prestige, heredity or just plain and simple usefulness. Some are priceless, others may be worthless, but their value is indeed calculated in the eye of the beholder.

They are typically seen in the corporate office, but no restriction applies to their use as they are not bound by any regulations, statutes, or HR policies, and are free to participate in any public, or private, work, or social environment.

Some say they were first observed in the 16th century. I say their use is timeless, and they shall prevail for many centuries to come bringing a sense of satisfaction and continued personal self-esteem for all generations!

They are a sign of personal innovation, creativity and confirm your undeniable link to shirt fashion.

Yes, they are cuff-links. May you wear them with pride, savor the experience, and enjoy the looks of nodding approval from your colleagues, friends, and even those you don’t know yet (but they will undoubtedly know you)!

The Transfer of Wisdom

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I looked with a sense of pride at my fellow colleagues as I slowly, and methodically, sat in the large well-worn leather chair in the HR Director’s office awaiting her arrival.

This was my first day of employment following the completion of my university degree three months earlier. After what seemed like a torturous series of endless interviews and countless tests, I had finally made it. I was now about to start my career in one of the most innovative and famous global companies. It was hard to disguise the smile that was slowly permeating within me, but the feeling was electic, and one that I’m sure I will never forget for the rest of my working life.

Susan finally arrived and walked into her office with a confident stride that just oozed with a persona of success. I liked her immediately.

After a few minutes of pleasant small talk, Susan took a piece of neatly folded paper out from her folder and handed it to me. At the top, it said Myers-Briggs personality profile “ENFP”. Susan then smiled, and then pressed a button on her desk. Thirty seconds later, an older, and immaculately dressed woman appeared called Megan who I surmised was nearing retirement, politely introduced herself to me. Following a brief and most enjoyable discussion, I learnt that she was also an “ENFP”, and was the company’s Global Director of Innovation.

I noticed Megan give a surreptitious nod of what seemed like “approval” to Susan. Following this gesture, Susan then excused herself from the room and I was left alone with Megan.

For the next 30 minutes, Megan explained to me the secret of this company’s success. The key, was how they passed on their experience to the new employees to ensure that the young graduates quickly obtained years of wisdom from those who were like minded. Apparently, Megan and I had a 99.99% “ENFP” personality match!

Megan, then with my permission, then commenced the secretive “wisdom transfer procedure” that “transmitted” her years of professional, social and people logic into my inexperienced and quite naive persona. At the end of the process, although I was only 22, I had the business experience of a 59 year old. I would have the unique skill set combination of youth and seniority not typically found in a person who had just commenced their first day of employment. I soon learnt, that all new starters in this company went through this procedure.

Wouldn’t it be great if all organizations could exchange knowledge between employees in this way! Although, the “wisdom transfer procedure” indicated above does not yet exist, it does so in a slightly different format that is not science fiction. The process is available to all those in the workforce right now, is relatively simple, needs no additional financial expenditure, except for one strategic prerequisite, that being “time”.

CEO’s reading this blog post take note. Why not give your young and older employees more time and opportunities to learn off each other by establishing work groups that encourage and facilitate greater communication? In these days of corporate diversity, consider age as one of your untapped resources for innovation and creativity!

PS: Yes, this photo is from the film “The Devil Wears Prada”. 

Ageless Innovation

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We start from an early age exploring our surroundings where we learn new experiences on a continuous basis. Some of these learnings are positive, others may be negative, but through each individual encounter our foundation of knowledge increases.

Even as we grow older, we confront different environments and challenges which ensure that we are constantly adapting to our changing surroundings, just like our physical appearance alters with increasing years. However, there is a common constant in place throughout this learning and ageing process, that being the ongoing linkage of ideas where one thought is added to another thought to build a larger and ever expanding idea base.

To demonstrate this process, let us consider one of the most used building blocks that is familiar to all of us, that of a single brick of Lego® (“one idea”). To this brick we add another brick (another “idea”). We then add more bricks which are accumulated with time (“as we age”), where the process continues until we have a vast collection of bricks (or “ideas”). We could just leave the bricks in a large random pile, but we don’t. We join these bricks to make various shapes which we continually modify based on our experience and desires.

This simple analogy demonstrates that what it means to age where the concept of idea innovation becomes ageless. As we get older, we add our accumulated ideas and thoughts into an assembly of activities that are relevant for each stage in our life. The key is to keep finding new “bricks”, not to sit back and be impressed with what we have “built”, but to keep on building!

 

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