Helmet Head

So happy Friday funday. 


We work hard during the week, right.


Today in the office, we replaced some old metal clunker garbage cans with some new clean plastic ones. 


The old ones, every time you threw a bottle or anything hard out, it made a crazy loud banging noise disrupting everyone. 


I started to joke with my colleagues that the dirty, heavy old cans were more useful as a helmet in case of emergency evacuation of something. 


So today the old metal junk cans got a happy face helmet head and a prestigious place next to the office plants.


Everyone had a good hearty laugh!


Honestly, it’s wonderful to be incredibly productive and accomplish a lot for the people, the mission, and all the stakeholders, and at the same time know how to have some fun and make people happy. 


Good for morale and good for teamwork!  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

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The Games People Play

Games.jpeg

The title sounds ominous, but I mean it differently.


People like to play games–the type you have fun at.  


We learn to play when we are kids. 


We get the attention of our parents and friends–and we have fun just being together, acting silly or even competing with each other. 


Whether it’s over a game of Life, Monopoly, Risk, or Connect Four, or even these days going online with a game of Minecraft or Crush.


Sports is another type of game–great to play and others like to watch and cheer for their favorite teams or athletes. 


This week at work, someone said to come to his meeting because:

“…everyone would have fun.”


Have you ever heard that at work–a fun meeting or for that matter anything being fun in an office setting?


The guy is a genius–people actually showed up in droves at the meeting. 


They had to choose between various meetings going on at that time–and low and behold, people chose this one that was going to be fun!


In the meeting, there was a big bowl of candy and chocolate in the center of the conference table.


And the mood was relaxed as we got down to some business. 


While we did the business, people felt free to be a little silly and laugh with each other too.


The tone had been set for some fun.


The person who hosted the meeting explained that he wanted people to have a good time coming to the meeting (and to work).


He called it “gamification.”


The idea is why not make things into a type of game and have some fun with it instead of everything being so stuck up and nasty all the time. 


Listen, it was still a meeting and work had to get done, but it was nice to see a different lighter perspective put on it. 


People want to enjoy what they do–whether it’s time with their family, friends, or why not even their work.


If we can make more things in life into a game of sorts and put “fun” into the equation of what we do–people smile, laugh, and let down their guards a little. 


Why shouldn’t adult play games and have fun too? 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Third-World Office

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So hooray for paper towels. 


A good workspace is definitely conducive to productivity and morale. 


That means cleanliness, open collaborative spaces, quiet work areas/offices, ample supplies, and obviously good technology. 


I’ve been in world-class institutions in terms of their mission, but that were third-world in terms of their work conditions. 


In one place, the bathroom toilets kept getting clogged with paper towels, so they got rid of them altogether, which forced the employees to use toilet seat covers for hand towels–yes, believe it!


Of course, at least we had running water, but there was also often flooding in the cubicle areas and the windows were nailed shut–high-tech security, not. 


In another place, in the private sector, I remember a new CFO coming in and being so cheap that he actually got rid of the milk and creamer from people’s coffee. 


Talking about pennywise and dollar foolish. 


Don’t these institutions get that the way you treat people impacts the way they respond to their work.


How can we be the Superpower of the planet and can’t provide decent, normal work conditions to our workers. 


It goes without saying that treating people with respect, dignity, and value should be happening all the time, but doesn’t.


We’re not even talking six-figure bonuses and stock options either–just treat people like human beings and not indentured slaves or cattle. 


Wake up America–you’re people are worth working plumbing, paper towels, and some milk and creamer for their coffees and really a heck of a lot more than that. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Continued Softening Of Microsoft

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Microsoft should not be acting old and grey.

Yet they are throwing away another $26.2 billion dollars in purchasing the relative revenue and profit weakling, LinkedIn, the professional networking social media site (where odds are you have your high-level resume-type information).

Have you ever paid a dime to LinkedIn or have you ever paid attention to  single advertisement on LinkedIn (I can’t even remember if there is advertising on there—see I pay it zero attention!)?

Unfortunately Microsoft is following suite with it’s worthless purchase of Nokia in September 2013 for $9.4 billion that was all written off and then some with yet another ridiculous, desperate move.

Microsoft has been living off their legacy product suites of Windows, Office, Outlook, and SharePoint for years…and apparently, aside from the regular forced upgrades, they seem to have virtually nothing in the innovation hopper.

Hence, loser acquisitions of things like Yammer in 2012 for $1.2 billion (anyone use that BS Facebook-like service for inside their organization—work is not social playtime folks!).

Anyway, I like Microsoft products–they are functional, which is what I want from email, creating and editing documents, spreadsheets and slides, as well as sharing files–it’s great for bread and butter tasks–nothing sexy.

But every attempt that Microsoft makes in desperation to expand beyond their core competencies comes up soft and a big money loser.

Innovation and success is not bred by acquiring virtually worthless properties in terms of high-technology with no synergy to who they fundamentally are.

It is almost heartbreaking to see a once great company like Microsoft continue to drown in its own excess cash and strategically hollow ideas.

Microsoft will only be successful by thinking beyond the boxed in windowed organization that they have imprisoned themselves in.

I hope they can break a few windows and escape to some new technological thinking again soon–but the big question is whether they currently have the talent to make it so. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Relationships Matter Most

Relationships

So if I have only learned one thing from work and office politics…it is that relationships matter to results!


And not only that they matter, but that they matter the most. 


Results are great and important; however if they come at the expense of relationships or it’s a “burn the bridges” type deal–then the results are not just tainted, but perhaps will be doomed to fail anyway and all the more so. 


The way we treat others is paramount to what we do. 


G-d watches us–and He/She will judge us accordingly. 


Every interaction with others is a test for us. 


How do we speak to and act with another one of G-d’s loving creations. 


Treating people well does not need to come at the expense of results–rather it is the secret sauce to getting results. 


This doesn’t mean that you have to be liked or loved, but that you do the right thing and for the right reasons–great deeds come with truly best intentions. 


Integrity is not just a word–it is a life principle!


When you treat people badly–how do you think that impacts the office and the ultimate mission?


Success is people and product.


And life has a funny way about it with karma being ever present.


(Source Photo: here with attribution to PoYang) 

Work Is For Work

Car Pooling

So when I saw 2 awesome colleagues bright and early in the morning standing in the hallway on the way into the office already talking about work–I said, “You guys are already talking shop?”


Now it happens that these 2 actually carpool in together…


So I asked, “Didn’t you have enough time in the car to talk about this [business]?”


To which one person replied, “Oh no, we don’t talk about our work in the car!”


At first it seemed funny that you would wait an hour’s drive and not say what you have to about work and hold it until you just get in the door.


And then after a split second–well of course, that’s their time!


Work is for work. and free time is your personal time (for personal care, health, G-d, family, extra-curricular activities and interests, travel, etc.)


It’s good to have some healthy separation–to mentally box them out and to keep each sacrosanct. 


We can live and work (not just “live to work”) each in it’s own rightful time and place and get the most done for our jobs, ourselves, and our families. 😉


(Source Photo: here with attributio to AmatuerX)

Homesick or Heresick

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It’s funny, my dad used to tell a joke about not being homesick, but being heresick (wherever that “here” may be for somebody–they just want to get out of there)


Recently, at work though, I have found there are many people that don’t want to go home at the end of the day–and it’s not because they always still have so much work to do (although sometimes certainly they do). 


Yesterday, I asked someone at work–on New Years eve–what they were still doing there late in the day.


Someone with a fairly new baby at home, jokingly winced at me, and said something about it sometimes being better to stay a little later at work, because when he/she gets home, they start all over again with the spouse and kid(s)–like so many of us. 


It’s strange to me, because I love and value home. 


And it’s like the old rhetorical question about do you work to live or live to work. 


Just yesterday, in the Wall Street Journal, there was a book review about someone who opined about how home is where the heart is–and in anthropological terms–it’s always been that way!


Home is our sanctuary, for ourselves and our beloved family, it is where we are “king of the castle,” and where we do everything from shelter, comfort, reproduce, share, and generally love and care for each other. 


Yet, back to work, many people these days don’t want to go home to crying babies and dirty diapers, nagging spouses and the evening fights, encroachment on private spaces, and errands galore (it’s a 2nd job almost)–cooking, cleaning, shopping, laundry, and bills–or even just plain loneliness there. 


So people hang out at work–they schmooze, they snack, they Internet, they may go to workout, or they dilly and dally–just so they don’t have to go home. 


As someone recently said to me, “It’s quiet. I like it there. Nobody bothers me there.”


They are homesick–not missing and yearning to be home, but some almost to the point of sick at the thought of going home. 


Work or anywhere else then becomes a refuge from the home that home is supposed to be. 


Sometimes it’s just a temporary thing at home, sometimes it’s more ongoing or permanent.


Everyone has a different home–for everyone it should be a true home. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)