• Switching on the Leadership Switches

    When I ask audience members how many leaders are in the room, typically about 20% of the hands go up. I’ll then explain that it was, of course, a trick question. Every hand in the room should go up because everyone is potentially a leader.

    One of Southwest Airline’s leadership slogans reminds their leaders that they are “Leaders leading leaders.” Great organizations understand that true leadership has nothing to do with position or power, and everything to do with character and the ability to influence the people around them. There are leaders at every level and in every type of job. 

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  • Five Points to Ponder Before Putting Humor to Work

    If you want to brand your business (or yourself) with humor or add some humor to a presentation or to your customer service mix, here’s a checklist of sorts to consider:

    1. First, Do No Wrong. Great advice for doctors or would-be corporate jesters. Make sure the humor you use is laughing with people, not at people. Laugh at yourself, not in a, “I’m a loser” kind of way, but in a way that lets people know you don’t take yourself overly seriously. Stay clear of political, ethnic, gender or sex-based humor. Remember that having permission to use more humor at work is not permission to act like a jackass, a bore, or a jerk. It doesn’t give you license to offend or humiliate people, or disparage their character. It’s about being more human, having a bigger heart, and demonstrating greater humility.

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  • Are You Driven By Fun? Changing Behaviors, Inspiring Habits

    Trying to change a behavior or create new habits at work or in your personal life? Here are seven ideas that might help…

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  • Building a Zombie-Free Workplace

    Halloween is right around the corner, so it’s the perfect time to ask the question: “How scary is your workplace?” So gather your team around the office campfire, break out the marshmallows, and consider the following…

    1. Do you work in a culture where people are afraid to be themselves? A workplace where everyone is encouraged to talk like zombies and wear professional masks all day that hide their true character? Inspiring workplaces excel at creating a relaxed atmosphere where people feel like they can bring their authentic selves to work every day.

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  • Plunging Into a More Inspiring Workplace Culture

    If you want your employees to, and pardon the expression, give a crap about your workplace, then you need to build a culture that values and recognizes the great work they do. And that’s exactly how Alpine Tubular Management and Supply, a Calgary-based company, has built a thriving business. Here’s just a few things they do to build an inspiring culture:

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  • Celebration, Recognition at Work Drives Results

    At the end of the credits for the Pixar movie Monster Inc. (where, incidentally, the monsters discover the joy of laughter), 49 names appear below the heading Production Babies. These are the 49 babies that were born to Pixar employees during the making of Monsters Inc., and it’s Pixar’s way of celebrating the new additions to their family.

    As I remind you on a regular basis, we all need to be doing a better job at recognizing the people around us and celebrating success. Something in the neighborhood of a gazillion studies have confirmed that everyone wants more recognition at work, everyone appreciates being appreciated, and those companies that do a better job at recognizing employees and celebrating realize higher profits, higher employee retention rates, and improved customer service scores. You need to celebrate the obvious stuff, but here’s a few ideas for some offbeat reasons to celebrate and recognize people:

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  • You Look Fabulous! No, I’m Serious!

    October is official Sarcastic Awareness Month, which raises the question, “How sarcastic aware is your workplace?” A few non-sarcastic thoughts on the matter…

    1. Although an Israeli research team has created an Algorithm for Sarcasm Identification software program (sounds like something Sheldon from “The Big Bang Theory” could use) that which can detect sarcastic sentences in online product reviews with an astoundingly good 77 percent precision, we humans are still very poor at detecting sarcasm in written correspondence. Although, for example, respondents thought they were right 90% of the time, a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found readers only have a 50/50 shot at correctly identifying the tone of an email.

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  • Boost Employee Health to Boost Your Bottom Line – Guest Post

    Successful companies recognize that employees are a business’ number one asset. Happy and healthy employees are productive employees. From designing the work space with ergonomic office equipment to developing onsite recreation spaces, here are just a few ways to ensure your employees are happy, healthy and productive.

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  • Make Your Customers the Star Attraction

    A hotel in California offered up a promotion wherein the first guest each day to sing a preselected song received a free room upgrade. The performances were videotaped and uploaded on YouTube, and a grand prize awarded to the best performance of the summer. It was an outrageous idea that worked fabulously for the hotel. So what are you doing to include your customers in the fun and to actually get them involved in some way? Here are a few ways companies are including their customers (and keep in mind, everyone has customers, your customers might just be sitting down the hallway):

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  • Humor as a Social Branding Tool

    The annual Shorty Awards honor personalities, companies, and brands that have created highly successful social media campaigns. One finalist, Zzzquil, demonstrated just how effective a platform such as Twitter can be if done correctly. After discovering people were already talking about their product on social media — especially at night when insomnia struck — they decided to dive in with a Twitter account that focused on bringing humor and warmth to a topic that was typically handled in a sterile, medicinal way. The results: more than 16 million online impressions.

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