The Friday Free Job Day

musical-chairs

According to a fictitious survey in the Australian Financial Review, I work for one of the most innovative companies in Australia, and I know why!

One of the activities that differentiates my company from our competition, is a highly anticipated employee event that occurs without fail on the last Friday of the month. No, it’s not allowing staff to wear casual clothes (which happens weekly anyway – see rules below), it’s our Friday Free Job Day (FFJD).

So what is this FFJD and how does it work you may ask?

Well, it’s surprisingly simple, and the process has produced some remarkable process improvements, but more importantly, a truly dynamic and progressive culture of innovation within our company.

At precisely 6 PM on the last Thursday night of the working month, each employee is sent an SMS that advises them what job they will be doing the following day so they can dress, and mentally prepare accordingly. For instance, I might be advised that I will be the CEO, the CFO, the Marketing Director, the Head of HR, or the Office Manager, just to name a few. When I arrive at my allocated office on the Friday morning, the actual person fulfilling that job has vacated their office and has left me a list outlining the 5 biggest challenges hindering them in their role. My task for that day is to explore ideas that address, and potentially solve the 5 outlined issues. At the conclusion of the day, I leave my ideas of solution on their desk for them to review, consider and to explore further when they arrive at work on Monday morning.

Through the use of a fresh set of eyes, the results have been staggering, but more importantly, the positive impact on employee morale has been phenomenal.

Another derived benefit of the FFJD process is that each employee gains a greater insight into how the business operates, and how their role impacts those around them.

So for those companies that think Casual Friday is a sign of your corporate innovation brilliance, think bigger, try the Friday Free Job Day once a month and the results achieved will happily surprise you.

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Commandments for Casual Friday Attire:
https://thinkingfuturethoughts.wordpress.com/2016/01/09/commandments-for-casual-friday-attire/

The Scenic Desk

Mobile-Office-1961

You have all had that feeling, it’s 3 PM in the afternoon and your motivational levels are starting to rapidly decline. Your coffee intake is becoming dangerously high, so much so that your tastebuds have now maxed out on caffeine, and you are worried that one more cup consumed will definitely impede any potential sleeping opportunities that evening. Your eyelids are closing heavily under an unknown and dreaded forced hypnotic influence as they encourage you to place your head surreptitiously on your desk and initiate an inconspicuous state of slumber.

However, relax, you don’t need to worry about this unwanted physical eventuality, as your corporate office is equipped with the latest afternoon motivational technique, that being, the “scenic desk”.

Yes, at precisely 9 AM each morning, your desk, like all the others in your office, start their journey of scenic transition that takes exactly 8 hours to complete. The process starts with the application of a quiet, yet highly powerful high velocity air current that lifts each desk (and the matching chair) an inconspicuous 5 millimetres above the floor. By cleverly changing the angle of these air currents, each office worker’s desk can be propelled in a forward, backward or sideways trajectory. An inbuilt desk computer developed by “Google Desks” charts a unique journey that traverses the entire corporate office to ensure a different, and enthralling desk experience every day, and one that naturally avoids any possible desk collision.

Following extensive R&D testing at a soon to be prestigious Melbourne University, the speed of desk movement has been calibrated at a most comfortable 2 kilometres/hour so as to alleviate any projectile g-forces that may fling the desk occupant, or items loosely residing on the desk surface, in an uncontrollable and dangerous manner. However, for those office workers that don’t worry about the residual side effects of windblown hair, or are particularly bored at work, their desk velocity can be tweaked to much higher levels (following the requisite completion of a personal liability disclaimer issued by their HR Manager). There is also a special office “ejection option” feature that can be used for those recalcitrant employees that utilises a camouflaged sound-proof one-way exit system.

Once the desk movement activity progresses, the desk owner will be enthralled as they meander with gleeful curiosity throughout the corporate office. Any thoughts of feeling tired, or exhausted, will quickly mentally evaporate as they experience new visual aspects and encounter different work colleagues along their scenic desk journey.

Like clockwork, at precisely 5 PM, their desk will arrive back at the original office location ready for the worker’s timely departure, but with them now brandishing a totally refreshed and visually inspired mindset.

So should you experience that unwelcome sensation of mental boredom, don’t reach for another coffee, just send an E-mail to your HR Manager lobbying for your corporate office to purchase the “scenic desk” system. It will change your office environment forever!

Working from Home

skype-20100805-042610

It’s 8:29 AM and I’m still not dressed for that important customer presentation that I’m making in one minute. No problem, I think my new dark grey suit with the white shirt and spiffy gold cufflinks will indeed do the trick! Yep, with a simple “click” it’s achieved and I look quite professionally impressive, even if I do say so myself!

Now for that lunchtime catch-up with the girlfriend. This suit is far too abundant in clothing for that rendezvous. For this interaction, a much more informal and seductive look is most definitely required. Arrh yes, “clothing outfit #37” is the choice. I look quite good, but my hair, it needs to be a tad longer. One “click” later, the job is done. Hang on, did I just notice my girlfriend’s dress change length? Whatever, she still looks great, not sure about the colour of those stockings though, a bit different, but I’m sure I will get used to in the short term.

Damn. I forgot about my meeting with the boss, which is right in the middle of my lunch date. All good though, I will just replicate myself, put my duplicate in a conservative looking suit and tie, and then in a highly focussed manner communicate with her at the scheduled time, whilst continuing my much more important girlfriend interaction (both of which will be none the wiser!).

It’s now 4 PM and time for my brainstorming session with my work colleagues. For this interaction, I think I might become 6’ 5” tall, add a few pounds to my weight and grow a straggly beard. Might even change my name for additional effect! That should test them a tad.

5 PM. Phew. What a day! I’m exhausted and these pyjamas that I’m wearing are feeling a little bit too loose and shabby. I might put a different pair on for tomorrow’s business activities. However, this working from home via an avatar and computer simulated virtual meeting room does have it’s benefits, and I don’t need to travel to a proper corporate office.

IM to Self: Might go to the gym tonight, my real avatar is starting to look a little bit too rotund for my liking!

 

Framing Your Office Correctly

Paris & London 2011 922

When walking around an art gallery you will see a variety of different people mulling in front of an oil painting making all kinds of comments. Each of them will see different aspects of the painting and will make their own interpretation as to the artistic and messaging intentions of the painter.

Some observers will focus on colour, the scene portrayed, or potentially the interaction of the people encapsulated in the work of art, and what they may be thinking or experiencing.

The viewer’s analysis of the painting will be varied, with each opinion based on their own unique life experiences that have coloured their thoughts and imagery on life.

This got me thinking. What if you took a random, non-staged photograph of the workers in your office that captured a specific moment in their working day? This image could be black and white, or coloured, placed in an impressive frame and then hung on a wall, just like in an art gallery.

So as to avoid any potential bias and insider people knowledge, employees from a non-related business would then be asked to comment as to photographer’s intentions, just like the painter of the oil canvas.

Those observing would come up with a range of assumptions and theories, some of which could be related to the work culture, stress, mood, or happiness of those people contained within the “frame”.

The collective feedback would provide a unique and objective insight into the machinations of your office. However, in this instance, the painter, or photographer, is your CEO, as this role is the creative source of the scene. Depending on the critical comments received, is your CEO proud to sign their name in the bottom right corner of the painting to stamp their ownership of the work? If not, maybe they would prefer to learn from the feedback and use it to develop and fine-tune their management artistry skills and have another go?

Yes, a picture does indeed say a thousand words. The key is to listen to them.

It’s the Stalk

A French Guy Really Wearing a Beret

Over the centuries there has been one grand piece of clothing that has been worn by many a mighty warrior that immediately symbolises unity of nationality, pride and belonging. These illustrious fighting men and women, be they French, Spanish, or Scottish, all wore this famous and readily identifiable hat called the beret in various styles, colours and forms.

Today, it is still worn as a statement of artistic intellect, or by those who want to make a statement of fashion, or simply by those people who just know better than others. I, for one, happily wear my beret and relish the admiring glances of those around me who are obviously most envious of my beret ownership good fortune.

There is something unique about wearing a beret, which needs to be done with a slight skew placement upon your head, so as to achieve the correct appearance. But once done, there is a “feeling” that permeates your thinking. Those who have had this beret wearing experience will immediately relate to this comment.

As a “thought academic”, following “years” of extensive research, I believe I have now formed a beret hypothesis on the origins of this “feeling”.

The “research” suggests that this “feeling” is concentrated when many wearers are in close proximity. This could explain why those warriors of yesteryear were such a formidable force when they all wore their berets together in military formation? With the advent of the more safe and bulletproof soldier headgear, the frequency of beret use understandably diminished, as such, so did the “feeling”. It is also interesting to note, that the French, Spanish and Scottish armed forces are no longer as feared to the same extent as they used to be, surely this is “no coincidence”?

Now let’s move to another area of the “feeling” research. Those in the artistic fields, for example the French Impressionists, or Film Directors, all have reported an additional influx of creativity when wearing their berets. Yes, it’s all in the “research”.

But there was a most surprising and curious theory identified that the “research” almost overlooked. Apparently the origin of this “feeling” is due to the small stub in the top centre of the beret called the “stalk”. It just so happens that this stalk acts like a thought transmitter between beret wearers. The longer the stalk, the greater the range of the thought transfers! A truly phenomenal discovery!

Now should you be an innovative thinker, you will immediately recognise the practical application with this “stalk” discovery for the corporate office. Yes, the answer is simple; all employees should be encouraged to wear a beret, particularly those with long stalks. Once worn, I’m sure that your organisation’s ability to develop new and novel business ideas will increase exponentially. There will also be a supplementary benefit, that being, all your employees will look brilliant!

Try using these WORDS!

I stopped in my tracks and said, “You look absolutely gorgeous!”. I walked on another ten feet, stopped again, turned around and said, “You really do, I mean it!”

Twenty seconds earlier, three woman, who I’d never met before, walked out of the clothing store onto the footpath and stopped in front of me. One of them, dressed in a green tightly body hugging winter jacket, asked her close friends for their opinion; “Do you really like the coat?”. Before they could answer, I made my initial comment of genuine positive affirmation, which I repeated without hesitation a few seconds later. The smile on her face was ecstatic and her friends laughed with gleeful intent. If I had lingered a moment longer and not continued my ‘walk of thought’, I’m sure my new ‘best friends’ would have invited me to lunch!

There is a moral here for the corporate office. How often do we compliment our colleagues with constructive reinforcement of their behaviour, their manner, a risk they may have taken, or how they dress? I suspect not that often?

Why not?

Many offices these days have become rather sterile environments where only ‘approved’ comments of corporate acceptance prevail. To demonstrate the point, how many organisations have implemented the corporate branded ‘Thank You’ card which you are encouraged to complete, then hand to HR, who then distribute it to the nominated individual some days, or weeks, later after the words have been vetted for any corrupt intentions!

Let’s explore this further and consider a highly functioning sports team. What is the key to their success? Nothing too complicated, really, it’s just called ‘talking’.
But, those involved ‘talk’ with ‘words’ of encouragement where they compliment each other on what they did well, or provide words on impending danger from the opposition, or give words of constructive criticism. The words of feedback tend to be immediate, or whilst the game is fresh in the minds of those involved.

So why not give it a go in your corporate office? If you are a tad timid to praise a colleague publicly, then use an E-mail or an SMS, but make sure it has your name on it as this personalised message of word positivity is much more powerful than words of anonymity and will mean much more to the recipient. Make praise a habit, and I’m sure that you and those around you will benefit greatly from the word experience.

And if that gorgeous woman in the green coat is reading this blog post, yes, I’m still available for lunch, just send me the “words”!

Image: Sophiaclothing

Negative Thoughts…..Gone!

Why Depression Leaves You With ‘No Room To Think’ You can escape from those negative thoughts that build up like a wall and leave you with no room to think about other things.

The looks I quickly received from my colleagues sitting around the table told me instantaneously that I had indeed stepped over the mark of corporate acceptability. If looks could kill, well, I would be at least 6 feet under with no hope of potential resuscitation, or any viable afterlife.

But it was OK, I knew what I had to do, and to make sure that I did, an array of index fingers quickly pointed me in the direction of “the room” within I was to purge my history of corporate indiscretion.

Unfortunately “the room” was all too familiar to me as I had been there many times before so I knew what to expect. However, the experience is never a pleasant one.

In our corporate office, all “these rooms” are positioned in the southwest corner of the building. There are 18 office floors, so the 18 “rooms” are all strategically aligned vertically above each other. It is said that those using “the room” on the ground floor feel the full mental negative force of “the room” users above them, which limits this particular “rooms” activity to a minimum. Those who have over used the ground floor “room” facilities have been mentally scared beyond creative repair, and can no longer participate in any long-term strategic innovation discussions.

I obeyed the directive from my fellow workers and quickly walked to “the room”, unlocked the door with the large brass key, entered, and then closed the door behind me. The pitch darkness only lasted for a microsecond before the dim blue light appeared illuminating the small leather bound brown stool in the corner. As was the custom, I then sat down and pressed the fluorescent central red wall button to start the process of negative thought eradication.

Yes, the purpose of “the room” is to painlessly remove and quickly eliminate any thoughts that can hinder or impede innovation, creativity or positive thinking.

Once the red wall button had been activated, I then started to rethink those awful thoughts I had expressed with my colleagues a few moments ago. As I did this, I noticed the negative thought gauge meter needle starting to rise from zero negativity to the maximum red zone that signified extreme negative naughtiness. No wonder my friends gave me such a nasty look, I really had reached the depths of de-innovation with my negative comments! Once purged of my extreme negativity, the thought needle slowly fell back to the zero position thereby confirming that my creativity and inspirational thought processes had returned. I was now cleared to re-join my colleagues in the discussion.

Now what happens to these negative thoughts you may ask? At about 11:30 PM when there is no one left in the building, a dark black liquid “thought slops” tanker truck surreptitiously parks each night out the front of the building. A flexible metal reinforced hose is attached to the negative thought “slops tank” by a man fully dressed in a white decontamination thought resistant body suit. The thought “slops tank” holds the accumulated negativity of all employees and needs to be dutifully emptied on a daily basis owing to the large number of negative thought deposits. Rumour has it, that the negative slops concentration is so powerful, that it is now being used as a uranium substitute in nuclear reactors owing to the immense energy released, it is also believed to be more environmentally friendly owing to its green thought rating.

So, should your company suffer from a high frequency of negative thoughts, the answer is simple. You just need to purchase “the room” and all your negativity will immediately be eliminated to ensure your long-term business innovation success.

Sorry, did you want to know the cost? This is privileged information, but I’m happy to provide additional details once you have sent me your corporate AMEX card number!

My Esteemed Fellow Mischief Makers

The 39 Steps - Metro - Man 1 & 2

I paused at the top of the escalator and took a deep breath as I read the poorly illuminated conference sign that would direct me downwards to the basement of this 2 star hotel in the outer suburbs of Melbourne.

I dusted “on” my black suit, with matching black scruffy shirt; at least I didn’t have to worry about my black shoes as they were already quite dirty and had a few prominent scratches that looked most imposing and disrespectful.

There were no issues with my hair being uncombed, mainly because I was fortunate not to have any, so I decided to mess up my long eyebrows, just for added visual effect.

Perfect I thought, I was now ready to head downstairs to the Awards Ceremony, at which I was tipped to receive the most prestigious award, that being for “Disservice to Innovation in the Corporate Office”. I had been working on this achievement for the past twenty years, had successfully infiltrated many global architectural firms in Europe, North America and Australasia, and more importantly, no one had yet realized what I had been doing!

What still surprises me the most was that senior business leaders and managers all applauded my efforts, all happily accepted my designs without fully understanding the consequences, and; they eagerly paid me a massive fortune in the process, to which I am indeed most personally grateful. To top it all off, they unashamedly made my office concepts a blueprint standard of excellence which was adopted, without any intellectual thought, by all organisations that considered themselves leaders in creativity! I still laugh when I think about that last comment!

I glanced at the chipped hands on my tired looking watch and saw that it was now time to make my tardy entrance to the ceremony. As I slowly descended down the escalator, I reached into my suit pocket and had another brief look at my hastily written acceptance speech, just in case it was required.

Written in my messy black inked scribble, I reread the words….”Thank you for this great dishonor! Yes, it’s still hard to believe that my once crazy thought and so fantastically disruptive idea, which I initially developed so many years ago as a joke, is still being used in the corporate office! And to make it even more remarkable, this superbly dysfunctional concept is still cited by experts as being one of the strategic keys to innovation! I smiled, as I imagined the thunderous applause that I would receive from my fellow mischief makers on doing a job so well, for so long, and I was still fooling those that should know better!

I was so looking forward to making the celebratory champagne drinking toast, which would be; “My Esteemed Fellow Mischief Makers, I give you the “Open Planned Office!”

The Choice is in Your Hand – Left or Right?

Thinking Mode 1

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)!

Membership in the League of Hairy Chested Men

Hairy chest

There are many “taboo” topics that are typically not talked about in a public forum, and particularly not in the corporate office. Similarly, these items of private interest are also not privy to the benefit of being found in numerous blog post searches, nor other forms of the social networking media.

No, I’m not talking “women’s issues”, I’m talking one that has been baffling men for thousands of years and I think it is time for it to make an appearance without any fear of reprisal or public humiliation!

I for one, have embraced my DNA heredity right of manhood and display my male characteristics to the fullness. How do I feel you may ask? Brilliant, and I encourage all men to follow my lead and embrace their god given right to show it!

Yes, I’m a full member of the “League of Hairy Chested Men”. That’s right, I have copious amounts of chest hair and I’m not ashamed to show it, in fact, I flaunt it whenever possible!

Now all you clothing fashion designers reading this blog post, take note as there are some important and key learnings here for you. Now that I have your attention, please consider the following points when next you develop a shirt for men:

Buttons: There are too many. You can increase your profits by eliminating the top three buttons, as they are superfluous for the hairy chested man. We like to flaunt our masculinity and these additional buttons just get in the way of our exhibitionist tendencies.

Fabric Thickness: Don’t skimp here! Men’s chest hairs are sneaky little creatures and they just love peering through the cloth. The result is an itchy chest and a look that can be a tad prickly to the observer.

Colour: Not white, as we don’t want our hidden hairs taking over the surreptitious show from those that have been formally allowed to preen in a public and approved manner.

So, to all you women read this post, the future of men’s chest hairs are indeed in your hands. You have the power to encourage your menfolk to show their hairiness and to join me in the global quest for chest hair freedom!

To all you hairy men…..be seen, be hairy! It’s a great feeling of empowerment!

Image: Shutterstock

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