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Archive for July, 2012

Business Fun…

A sales rep, an administration clerk, and their manager are walking to lunch when they find an antique oil lamp.  They rub it and a Genie comes out.  The Genie says, “I’ll give each of you just one wish.”   

“Me first!  Me first!” says the administration clerk.  “I want to be in the Bahamas, driving a speedboat, without a care in the world.”  Puff!  She’s gone.   

“Me next!  Me next!” says the sale rep.  “I want to be in Hawaii, relaxing on the beach with my personal masseuse, an endless supply of Peña Coladas and the love of my life.”  Puff! He’s gone. 

“OK, you’re up,” the Genie says to the manager.  The manager says, “I want those two back in the office after lunch.” 

Brenda Morris 

Sound like your Manager?  Sound like you?  Question:  How much fun are you to work with or work for? 

I’ve often felt that a primary role of our business leaders is to keep their followers appropriately entertained so the followers will solve the big, business challenges the company has for our leaders.  In short, I expect my manager to incorporate “Business Fun” into our day. 

“Business Fun”; what’s that you ask?  Look, if we have to work for a living + put in the extra hours + bring our work home from the office + be available seemingly 7×24 via cell phone; then at the very least we should be able to have a little fun doing it, don’t you think?  

I’m not implying the, “whistle while you work” kind of cartoon fantasy fun.  I mean, it’s nice when our Manager surprises us when she offers to make a Starbucks run at 10:00 am; or tells us, “take the afternoon off and go see your kids”; or simply has something nice to say to us each day. 

Yes, yes, I know – we get paid for our work.  Some say that should be good ‘nough.  Sports fanatics and media state that case often when complaining about some star athlete who is not starring.  “So and so should be dominating the league – after all, he’s being paid $20 Million a year!”  Yea well, how’s that working for you?  When you’re having, “one of those days”, do you merely think about your coming paycheck, and that makes it all better?  Me either. 

That’s not how comp plans work in the first place: 

The purpose of a compensation system should not be to get the right behaviors from the wrong people, but to get the right people on the bus in the first place, and to keep them there. 

Jim Collins 

I would offer, once you get the right people on your bus, a little “Business Fun” helps to keep them there.  For leaders – like it or not – talented people can get a job anywhere.  So even in a down economy, if you think your people should be thankful you gave them a job, beware.  That theory only applies to the untalented!  Just ask our favorite, Unknown Sage: 

Among the chief worries of today’s business executives is the large number of unemployed still on the payrolls. 

So come on, business leaders; lighten up!  We’ll get the job done.  Believe me; it will be easier on you if you think about ways to lift our spirits.  Otherwise, we can always entertain ourselves by making you the brunt of our amusement (while spending company time looking for another job, that is).  

GAP 

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Who’s to blame?…

While picking up my wife’s Jeep from the impound recently, I really wanted to blame someone – anyone! 

“It’s hard to be a responsible adult.  It’s much easier and sometimes more fun to be an irresponsible adult.” 

 Adam Katzenmeyer 

I parked my wife’s Jeep on the street near our house with a “For Sale” sign in the window.  As it turns out, we can’t do that in Colorado.  I didn’t know for sure, but must admit, when I was walking back home after parking the car I had an inkling in the back of my mind; “I wonder if I’ll get ticketed?”  I did.  Adding insult to injury, the Jeep was towed, too.  I really wanted to blame someone – anyone! 

I discovered the Jeep was missing when I returned home that evening.  Since I didn’t know what happened, I called my local Police Department – they said it was a County Sherriff’s matter.  OK; I called the County Sherriff – they had no record of my vehicle being towed.  OK; then I said it must have been stolen – who’s to blame?  A Sherriff’s Deputy arrived shortly to take the stolen vehicle report. 

But first, he called the State Police.  Sure enough, they had a record of a vehicle being towed from the vicinity, but the license plate number did not exactly match – it was one digit off.  He called the impound yard with the VIN and guess what; they had my Jeep.  For the mix-up, I really wanted to blame someone – anyone!  

I mean, how difficult can it be?  The State Patrol Officer had the license plate right in front of him; he even had my phone number on the “For Sale” sign in the window.  You’d think he might have had the courtesy to call and tell me my Jeep was being ticketed and towed, but Noooo!  At the very least he could have had the competence to enter the license plate number into his system correctly.  Is he to blame

I called the towing company to clarify what was needed to recover the vehicle.  By the time I had navigated the maze of inaccuracy, the person at the towing company said they were closed for the day.  (Which made me wonder; then why did she answer the phone?)  I would have to wait until tomorrow to recover the Jeep, and that meant I would have to pay an overnight storage fee to boot.  I really wanted to blame someone – anyone!  

Do you ever feel that because people don’t do their jobs correctly, your level of inconvenience (and cost) goes up?  It seems so common – people make data entry mistakes; they’re too busy to answer the phone; they’re clueless when they do answer the phone… does it seem to you that we have to do our jobs and everyone else’s jobs, too?  Is everyone to blame? 

I recovered the Jeep the next afternoon and paid the $300 fee.  Rather than putting the parking ticket in the Jeep or leaving it with the towing company, the State Police mailed it to me.  How much extra administrative cost is that?  At tax payers’ expense, I might add.  Who’s to blame? 

Well, now I know for sure that responsible adults can’t park cars with “For Sale” signs on public streets in Colorado.  Now, I know my initial inkling was correct.  Unfortunately, now I also know who was to blame.  (Wait – could I blame it on my wife?) 

GAP 

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C’est la vie! and Deja vu

Here’s to a happy (and safe) July 4th holiday celebration!   And, here’s to our forefathers who freed this country from the British Empire.  Permit me to offer three things that helped them do it:  Leadership, Free Speech, and the French. 

Two of these three remain part of our everyday lives (not sure what happened to the French).  I know a lot of families with ancestors that immigrated to America from other countries.  I don’t know very many from France though, do you?  C’est la vie! (Which, of course, is French for such is life; plus – their bad!) 

Even though the French helped us gain our independence; gave us the Statue of Liberty; and then said, “bon chance!”; we still have our leaders to poke some fun at, yes?  Managers and executives at our companies are frequent targets of humor, even though they mean well: 

But even top management types are mostly harmless when you get to know them.  Given lots of love, some even make good pets.

                                  Rick Levine 

After a while all good employees settle in and get used to our managers’ idiosyncrasies, don’t we?   When our reporting lines change – which seems to happen frequently – we don’t have to let it bother us.  No matter who our boss may be today, it will likely change soon so we should just focus on getting our jobs done, don’t you think?  Cirque du Soleil!  (This, of course, is French for same circus – different clowns.) 

At work, our (wine) glasses remain half-full.  (Oops – my faux pas!)  In America, our country and our companies remain among the best of the best in the world.  And with France’s help during the Revolution, we are truly blessed to live in the Land of the Free, as well as the Home of the Brave!  Vive La France!  (Which, of course, is the American way to say “Thank You” to France.) 

As we know, 2012 is our next Presidential election year… magnifique!  (Which is French for, is it over yet?)  If we took all of the money spent on political commercials, including those mud-slinging, character-slamming, negative-messaging, “approved by” blasts from our soon-to-be-elected, leaders, we could all take as much vacation time as the French do.  A la mode!  (Which of course, is French for I’ll have my vacation with ice cream, too!) 

Even the positive, political campaigns follow the same old claims and promises, don’t they?  Lower living costs; more jobs; better education; blah, blah, blah.  Brings to mind Lawrence J. Peter’s perspective: 

What this country needs is more free speech worth listening to.                                 

Freedom of speech is truly one of our greatest freedoms.  A price we must pay for this great freedom is listening to someone’s speech, even when it irritates us, yes?  Sacrebleu! 

So I suppose we should be patient during the months of our Presidential campaign – leading this country is not for the faint of heart.  And if their campaign staffs resort to the same, old talk tracks, well:  Deja Moo!  (Which, of course, is French for that feeling that we’ve heard this bull before.) 

So here’s to the USA; the support we received from the French; and our great freedom of speech in the Land of Opportunity.  Certainly, without this freedom I would not have the opportunity to write my little ditties.  And without these, it would be harder for you find something to waste time on at work; true Mon ami?  

                               GAP 

Did you like this little ditty?  You might enjoy my book, too:  The Peace & Power of a Positive Perspective©  Please check it out Subscribe.