Blog Post: Cheering For Others

I’d like to pose a scenario and see if you can relate. It’s the end of yet another month at your company. You’ve had an extremely productive and successful 30 days, even been complimented by a couple of co-workers in the process. You walk into the conference room for the month-in-review session with a certain […]

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Blog Post: Can You Design For Collaboration?

Even though they are not in the same industry segment I inhabit, everyone in the Agile world knows Zappos. Not only are they one of the top companies to work for in the US, they continue to rethink and innovate their internal processes. 

In this post on the InVision App site (great prototyping app for mobile dev teams, I recommend), Donny Guy from Zappos discusses how they designed their offices for more than fun. It’s laid out with the express intent of encouraging collaboration.

Again, just like culture, many decision makers think this concept can be casually decided upon. Where the coffee maker or eating areas can actually hinder people working together. Maybe you have too many (or not enough) breakaway rooms. The game room could actually be seen as a bad thing depending on where you put it.

I could go on, but Guy’s words are worth reading about. Regardless of your building’s space requirements, you have options. Did you know that Zappos figured out that the more space we have to stretch out individually, the less we collaborate? They are actually making efforts to put teams closer together, forcing interaction.

Sound crazy? That’s your old mindset telling you that this is weird. 

Take your team and shake up the room they sit in this week. Work for a day at a Panera Bread (or IHOP, I don’t judge). Ask someone new to lead the meeting. These little things can really help increase collaboration (and by proxy, engagement).

What will you try new this week?

Blog Post: Can You Design For Collaboration?

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Blog Post: What Do You Mean By ‘Happy’?

With all due respect to my paternal grandfather, who died nearly a decade ago, he would be shaking his head at this discussion. He would question why we, as a society, are putting so much effort and care into the notion of happiness. Not only does the phrase Gross National Happiness exist in today’s lexicon, countries are rated and ranked based upon it.

The link for today’s posting came from The Atlantic, one of my favorite publications. It the article, the base argument against happiness is we learn and grow more from struggle and defeat. The writer even references a Nazi concentration camp survivor. That is a struggle I will (hopefully) never know. While that story provides a powerful support to the thesis, and makes for better reading, it is not really valid for today’s work culture.

This is not an argument for doing whatever makes you happy in life. Common sense must, at some point, enter the conversation. We cannot quit a job because it doesn’t “make us happy”. Studies surrounding the divorce rate show we aren’t really any happier because of the casual approach to nuptial vows.

I believe the term “happiness” needs a bit of a makeover.

When product development gurus like Seth Godin and Jeff Sutherland reference happiness, there are really referring to engagement. We must regularly talk to each other in the work place to find out how happy we are with how things are going. Creating a “safe” environment for sharing of constructive comments on productivity, culture and direction of the company result in a bevy of positive results. Tops amongst them are a more engaged and productive work force. A quick view of many in the list of top places to work tell me some realize the power in their people. Is your business one of them?

Make sense? Sure. Adoption is a different story. Next time the question of how happy you are enters your gray matter, stop and rephrase:

“How engaged am I in my life?”

Engaging in the passions of your family’s life helps insert you more into the rearing of your children and the development of your marriage. Engaging in the core values of your company results in new products being development, business processes evolving and growth of engagement by your co-workers (maybe even your boss). I could keep going, but you get the drift. 

One thing I happily agree with the writer of this article is on purpose. We must have a purpose that focuses not on ourselves, but those around us. Give yourself the purpose of engagement instead of disconnection and you will see the world change beneath your feet.

Blog Post: What Do You Mean By ‘Happy’?

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Be a good peer

January is a dreaded time for managers in the realm of reviews. Regardless of the system your company uses to perform internal audits on it’s staff, they still have to be done. Ever wanted to have a big team under your expert tutelage? Not during this time of year you don’t. During my review with the […]

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Your own personal champion

I’m going to venture a little vulnerability for a minute in regards to my own personal psyche in the workplace. While it manifests itself in all parts of my life, I think we can all identify with the concept of having someone in your corner. We have them at first, someone had to hire you […]

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