• For Better Ideas, Insights… Sleep On it!

    Ernest Hemingway believed that you should always end your writing for the day with an unfinished sentence, such as, “She threw open the windows only to find…” Leave your writing hanging in mid-sentence and then sleep on it, he suggested, so that you’ll know where to pick up the next morning, but also so your subconscious can work on it, perhaps even dream about it, overnight. Research suggests Hemingway’s advice was bang on.

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  • Throwing a Company Party at Your Home: What to Do and What to Avoid

    Intuit polled its readers to find out their worst company parties, and the answers included a story about a frat house run amok where co-workers made out, a door was broken, people got in screaming fights and someone walked in on the sales director while urinating. It’s all fun and games until someone gets walked in on going to the bathroom.

    Let’s handle the most important thing first. To plan a successful company-sponsored event, put up signs designated where the bathroom is. Next, cover a few basics about safety, legalities and alcohol. But perhaps most importantly, you need to plan a civilized and incredibly fun experience that your staff will be buzzing about for months.

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  • How Is Your Workplace Doing?

    You’ve likely read some of the articles coming out that are highly critical of Amazon’s workplace culture. My friend Merge Gupta-Sunderji wrote a great article in the Globe and Mail newspaper that summarizes the issue: Amazon’s leaders are so relentlessly focused on results (the “what”) that they forgot all about “the how.” As I’ve said at least a gazallion times, workplace culture is all about the how: How you do the things you do. And if you ignore the how, it’s just a matter of time before things do deeply off the rails.

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  • The Rise of the Millennial in Today’s Workforce

    In 2015, the millennial is reaching his stride. Defined as those between 18 to 34 years of age, millennials are now the largest generation in the modern workforce. Tech-savvy, job-hopping millennials are making their stamp across all industries, and employers are keen to hire them because of their prevalence and unique skill sets. But it’s no secret that millennials are often hard to attract and even more difficult to retain. So to help you out, here are a few tips for achieving the right environment to draw in – and keep – millennials on your team.

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  • If They Can Teach a Robot to Have a Sense of Humor…

    Seriously.  I’ll get to the humorous robot shortly, but in the meantime, so random random thoughts, musings and ideas related to the always fascianting world of work and workplace culture…

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  • What Are You Waiting For?

    The Albion Hair Salon in beautiful Banff, Alberta, has put a sign up on their window: “Loitering Permitted.” To help facilitate loitering they’ve placed a small table and chairs in front of their shop with a few board games. And if you’re waiting for your hair appointment (or, as in my case, for my spouse’s appointment to finish) they offer you a gift card that allows you to grab a free coffee at a coffee shop in the mall. Both of these ideas are driven by a desire to create a sense of community in their mall – it creates goodwill and helps both businesses. So…

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  • Humor Writing Contest: Great Chance to Flex Your Funny Bone

    Inkitt’s latest Humor / Comedy writing contest “Laughable” is now open for submissions!

    Inkitt is a free writing platform that aims to help writers achieve their fullest potential. On August 7th the site launched a new Humor / Comedy writing contest:

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  • Can a Frog (Or a Little Humor) Boost Your Sales?

    Can a little humor help you negotiate a better deal? A study conducted by Karen O’Quinn and Joel Aronoff suggests that it can. In their study, participants had to negotiate over the final sales price of a painting. The seller made a final sales offer in one of two ways: half the time the seller said he’d accept $6,000; the other half of the time he gave the same final offer, but this time he added a little humor into the mix by offering to throw in his pet frog. The impact of the humor was substantial. Regardless of gender and regardless of the degree to which the final price was above the amount originally offered, the potential buyers made much bigger compromises when they were offered a pet frog!

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  • Humor That Works, Humor That Doesn’t

    I often get asked, “What happens if my attempt at humor backfires?”

    To which I reply, “Have you been to one of my talks?”

    As a Hall of Fame international business speaker and occasional humorist, I’d be the first one to admit that sometimes my humor doesn’t work. Maybe it’s a joke, an anecdote, or a turn of a phrase that in my mind was hysterical, but from the audiences’ perspective…not so much. Maybe it was an attempt to ad-lib and riff off something an audience member says to me that, again, falls flatter than a Saskatchewan pancake. It happens. And it happens to the best of us.

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  • Employee Retention: Start Holding “What Will Keep You?” Interviews

    If employee retention is an issue in your workplace then chances are you are spending time and money conducting exit interviews. Okay…I suppose exit interviews are important, IF they are done right. The challenge is that often employees don’t open up about the real reasons they are leaving your company, for fear of retribution or for a number of other reasons. The bigger issue, of course, is that exit interviews are akin to closing the barn door after the horse has left the barn. What any successful company needs to do is to build the kind of inspiring culture that turns long term employees into truly loyal employees (there’s a world of difference between the two) and nurture the kind of workplace culture that doesn’t just keep your top talent, but that keeps top performers happy and inspired.

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