It’s a Cookie Planter; not a Cookie Jar

Once upon a time a friend gave me a cookie jar. I put cookies in them. Then I outgrew cookies (of course that was after I started to outgrow my pants). Okay, I really didn’t outgrow cookies. No one who loves cookies really ever outgrows cookies. But I realized that having a jar of cookies was probably not the best thing for my health and my waist; and was starting to reverse a weight loss I was proud of. So I turned the cookie jar into a planter. I removed the jar from the kitchen and put that planter on my desk. Each day I look at that planter and think how I’ve kept a plant alive for close to fifteen years (it’s all about choosing a plant that basically won’t die no matter how hard you try); have maintained a friendship for almost 20 years; and have kept a whole bunch of weight off for …

The Great Whites are killing seals but the Land Sharks are making a killing too!

Cape Cod, specifically Chatham, MA, has become a modern day JAWS. Yep, this New England town has become a feeding ground for great white sharks now that the seal population has been saved. And last week, again, beaches were closed and swimmers were told they could not swim.   But gaggles of people are still making their way to Chatham in hopes of seeing a fin swim by. Of course there are those who are looking for a seal carcass or two as well. They come by bike. They come by car. They are coming with rolls of quarters and planting themselves by those Viewfinders. But with no swimming what’s a vacation beach town to do? Easy: You make shark candy You sell shark T-shirts You add shark pot holders to your kitchen product line You stock shark books You concoct a shark drink You have shark parties Yes, the town of Chatham has become …

Maybe what you need IS an interruption?

There’s that phone call that you don’t want to take There’s that meeting you don’t want to attend There’s that family matter that pulls you away There’s that need to check your Facebook page, Twitter Stream or other Social Media website There’s that friend who wants you to blow off work tomorrow and go to the beach Let’s face it, there’s always that interruption of some sort that seems to keep you from getting your work done. But what if that interruption led you to laugh at something that really isn’t a challenge but an opportunity to solve a problem? What if that meeting led you to think about new possibilities? What if that family matter made you realize and set priorities; to become more efficient? What if something on those social media pages led to a collaboration? What if the day at the beach led to you finding new work or …

Is there a market for that?

Yesterday I was talking with two friends (at separate times) about two new products I am tossing around in my head. One person immediately said I should move forward; the other person asked me “is there a market for that?” One product I could probably have in production within 24 hours; the other might take a couple of weeks. Both would require little production costs as they could be done in small runs. But there’s that nagging question “is there a market for that?” If you’re old enough you remember the pet rock. Was there really a market for that? Look at the success of those silly bands. Was there really a market for that? And doesn’t it piss you off that someone now owns their own island because you bought these things. When I designed the Recess at Work System and the RECESSitation Pack (see products page) I designed them for companies who had slashed/eliminated …

Don’t you love when customers force you to be better?

Imagine working for a company that lets you decide which meetings you choose to attend and which you choose to skip. Well that’s the conversation I had with a head of Human Resources last week. She had just purchased two sets of The Meeting PLAYce Mat and called to talk with me about how to best use them given this new strategy. When I developed The Meeting PLAYce Mat it was a result of years of listening to people tell me what they were really thinking about meetings (too many, pointless, no agenda, one-way dialog, etc). The tool was developed as a way to poke fun at meetings and to keep people engaged. But like everything else in business, I designed it to have a purpose: to challenge each participant to contribute and understand that everyone plays a role in the success of a meeting. I have always felt that if a meeting sucks it’s not only the fault of the person who …

5 VIBES for a successful employee morale committee

In the last year I have seen a big increase by organizations looking to form employee morale committees. Sometimes it comes at the request of leaders; other times it is a result of employee groups getting together and taking the proverbial bull by the horns. While this is no surprise given the turbulent times we are in, I’m also surprised at the lack of a clear plan and understanding as to what an employee morale group entails. It’s not all fun and games – and if you think it is please disband your group right now. So here are a few must-haves for you and your committee to consider before undertaking the task: Vision – your team/committee needs some sort of a vision. What are you really trying to do here? There’s a difference between putting together a crazy hat day (don’t forget to include the Is It Recess Beanie) and sitting around and sharing employee concerns and new ideas while …