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Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Leaders Gathered

A Poem

The leaders they gathered to share of their skill,
To tell each the secrets of his leadership will.

“I left them bridges and buildings we made,”
Said one leader first to begin the parade.

“I led great armies to victory I say,”
Said the next leader in line to tell of his way.

“I gave them trophies all glittery gold,
From championship winnings where our play was bold.”

“I gave them knowledge and made them aware,
I taught them well how to study with care.”

One by one, the leaders they told,
Of their stories of greatness as they grew old.

Finally, each had spoken to tell of his power,
Save for one who sat quiet until the end of the hour.

“How did you lead and what did you do?”
The others asked of a leader like you.

Finally, he spoke a bit timid you see,
For leading to him was not all about me.

“I showed them my love and gave them my care,
I helped them become all they could dare.

“I pushed them and pulled them to the top of the peak,
I told them their strengths and ignored what was weak.

“I gave them hard work and goals hung on a star,
And assured them they could become all that they are.

“I guess I would say that what is most true,
Is I believed in them and what they could do.”

All the success!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Keep your Praise of Employees Fresh and Exciting

Leader’s Digest Quick Tips

Praise isn’t as simple as telling employees “Good job!” all the time. It takes a certain amount of expertise to give praise that really motivates people to keep working hard—or start working harder. Try these techniques for showing your appreciation more effectively:

·    Mix public and private expressions of praise. Most employees enjoy being recognized for good work in front of their peers; others grow self-conscious and shy. Pay attention to how people respond so you can praise them accordingly. Even if an employee likes public praise, make a point of delivering it one on one sometimes to show you really mean it.

·    Measure your praise appropriately. If you say “Excellent!” every time an employee performs a relatively minor task successfully, what will you say when he or she accomplishes something really important? Don’t go overboard; thank employees for doing a good job, but save lavish praise for significant achievements.

·    Don’t be too predictable. Though you don’t want to hoard your praise, delivering it the same way all the time will lead employees to expect it, and it’ll lose much of its power. Send a handwritten note, not just an email, or make an announcement in the middle of the day instead of always waiting for the next staff meeting. Praise works best when it’s a pleasant surprise.

·    Change your patterns. As employees grow and change, their needs will shift. You may praise a new hire often, but a veteran might perceive frequent expressions of appreciation as patronizing or intrusive. Be sensitive to what employees need at different points in their careers.

9 Leadership Lessons from Food Network Chefs

If you watch enough Food Network shows like Iron Chef or Worst Cooks in America, a picture of what leadership is about begins to emerge.

What separates iconic chefs like Bobby Flay, Masimaru, and Cat Cora from millions of competitors around the world is their leadership ability. It’s evident their behavior, their character, everything they do. Never mind they they’re on TV. They may as well be cooking in one of their restaurants or mentoring an up-and-coming sous chef.

Restaurants deliver product and service like another business. But make no mistake. The cooking business is a fiercely competitive battleground that breeds great chefs who are also great leaders.

The 9 Leadership Lessons

1.  Compete to win but respect your competitors. Business is about creating raving fan customers. It’s about market share. But that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t respect your competitors.

2.  Success is about managing and mentoring people. The way chefs move up is by hiring talented cooks and training them to be sous chefs so they can someday run one of their many restaurants.

3.  Results matter. It’s what the customer thinks of the product or service that counts. That’s what creates repeat business and loyal customers. You may think you’ve come up with a brilliant dish, but if the folks don’t like it, you’ve failed.

4.  You’ve got to know the business. Steve Jobs isn’t just a brilliant marketer. Warren Buffet isn’t just a smart investor. Bill Gates isn’t just a great software coder. Just like these iconic leaders, every great chef has a head for the business.

5.  Experience is overrated. Even young chefs like Bobby Flay—when he was first starting out—exuded such instincts and passion for what they do that you know in a heartbeat they’re going to be successful. That’s why people follow them.

6.  Learn from failure and move on. Failure is how we learn and grow. Failure teaches us how to do things differently. How to do things better. Great chefs don’t dwell on their mistakes. They reach down deep and do better next time. After all, there’s always another meal.

7.  Focus on core strengths. Great chefs grow this business around their core. For Flay it’s southwestern. Paul Prudhomme is a cajun master. You can probably guess Mario Batali’s speciality. There are lots of ways to diversify without going to far afield.

8.  Innovation matters. Nobody has ever been successful in the restaurant or cooking business by just doing the same stuff as everyone else. Sure, execution is critical, but innovation and creativity are also requirements for success.

9.  Work hard, play hard. Even while competing at an extraordinarily high level, these chefs never lose their sense of humor and, when it’s over, they celebrate and congratulate each other on a job well done. That how it should be.

All the success!

Peter Mclees

Friday, May 20, 2011

The Making of Super Fans

The Four Customer Experience Competencies

Successful businesses as diverse as The Container Store, The Trader Joe's Company, IKEA, the Four Seasons hotels, Zappos Shoes, Service Masters, PrairieStone Pharmacy, Harrah’s Entertainment, ING, Harley Davidson, Baptist Healthcare, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Rackspace Storage and Patagonia have all been cited in the business press as the few in their industries worthy of the being called customer-centric companies. Only truly customer-centric companies can create a level of customer loyalty that defines a rare breed of customer—the super fan. These customers are devoted to the company in the way sports fans are to their favorite team.

Super fan customers are highest on the “loyalty ladder.”[1] Super fans have also been called, “advocates,” “confidants,” “customer-owners,” “apostle,” “brand ambassadors,” “raving fans,” or simply “highly engaged customers.” Whatever name you apply to this special group of customers, companies that create and sustain this level of customer devotion realize much higher financial returns than their competitors.

Robert Passifoff, president of Brand Keys has captured the great monetary value that comes from super fans in a principle he calls, the “Rule of Six.” Passifoff asserts, “a true advocate—you’re basically talking about your top 20% of customers—are six times more likely to buy things from you. They’re six times more likely to recommend you. They’re six times more likely to invest in you if you’re a publicly traded company. And they’re six times more likely to rebuff competitive offers, especially if they’re only based on price.”

Getting customers to move up the loyalty ladder to the “super fan” or “advocate” level requires that companies develop and master four customer-centric competencies:

1.   Purposeful Leadership: Operate consistently with a clear set of values.
2.   Employee Engagement: Align employees with the goals of the company.
3.   Compelling Brand Values: Deliver on your brand promises to customers.
4.   Customer Connectedness: Infuse customer insights across the company.

Companies that want to become customer experience leaders need to master four customer experience competencies. Research has shown that two-thirds want to be industry leaders in customer experience. While any company can improve portions of its customer experience, it takes more than some ambition and a few superficial changes to create lasting differentiation.

Companies that master all four competencies are customer-centric organizations which are defined as:

An organization that continuously aligns its resources with customer needs.

1.  Purposeful Leadership: Operate consistently with a clear set of values.
Just about every organization has vision and mission statements floating around their hallways. But when it comes to making decisions on a day-to-day basis, these documents are no where to be found. They play No Rule in how the company is actually run.

Instead, companies make decisions based on individual goals and objectives, and handful of hard metrics, and by making compromises across conflicting departmental agendas. And that’s the best case. Most times decisions aren’t coordinated at all.

That’s why organization’s need to (re) introduce a clear purpose for their organization that is more compelling than just more profits; a raison d’ĂȘtre that aligns the myriad of day-today decisions.

2. Employee Engagement: Align employees with the goals of the company.

It might seem obvious that customer experience requires a complete focus on customers. But that’s often not the correct approach. What should you focus on instead? Employees. While you can make some customers happy through brute force, you can not sustain great customer experience unless your employees are brought-in to what you’re doing and are aligned with the effort.

It’s important to remember that unengaged employees don’t create engaged customers. But this is not about altruism. Employee engagement creates a success cycle.

3. Compelling Brand Values: Deliver on your brand promises to customers.

True brands are more than just marketing slogans, they’re the fabric that aligns all employees with customers in the pursuit of a common cause. John Wang, CMO of Taiwanese electronics company HTC, captured this sentiment well:

“Brand value means something to the end user. Brand recognition, all it means is a bunch of advertising to make people recognize the brand name…Building brand value is like earning respect; you have to earn respect, you cannot command respect.

To earn respect, companies need to make sure they live up to their brand value every time they interact with customers.

Companies looking to master this competency should:

·        Reaffirm brand tenets
·        Define clear brand promises
·        Widely communicate brand values
·        Keep your brand promises

4. Customer Connectedness: Infuse customer insight across the organization.

In most companies, decisions are made with woefully little customer insight. People often rely on their “gut feel” or outdated anecdotes about customer needs, desires, and feedback. But any company that wants to improve its customer experience needs to embed deep customer insights in every aspect of its operations.

Companies looking to master this competency should:
·        Focus on target segments
·        Build voice of the customer listening systems
·        Make customer insight widely available

1. The “ladder of customer loyalty” talks about the different types of customers a company encounters. There are five steps in this ladder. Starting with: Suspect: A suspect is someone who comes across your companies’ promotion. They are a potential suspect for your company. Prospect: If the person is interested in your promotion they become a potential prospect. Customers: A customer is someone who purchases either your product or service. Clients: Clients are those who come back to you. Advocates Promotes your business on your behalf. They are so happy about your product/service that they tell others.

All the Success!

Peter Mclees

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Generating New Ideas: Think Differently and Spark New Ideas

Switch on your creativity!

"We need to think differently!"
"This needs some fresh ideas!"
"We have got to be more creative around here!"

Are messages like these popping up more and more in your workplace?
Faced with complex, open-ended, ever-changing challenges, organizations realize that constant, ongoing innovation is critical to stay ahead of the competition.

This is why we need to be on the lookout for new ideas that can drive innovation, and it's why the ability to think differently, generate new ideas, and spark creativity within a team becomes an important skill. You need to work actively on building and cultivating this skill, and it can be done!

Often, though, we make the mistake of assuming that good ideas just happen. Or worse still, we get caught in the mind trap that creativity is an aptitude; some people have it, others don't. Then there is the other self-defeating belief – "I am not intelligent enough to come up with good ideas." These assumptions are rarely true. Everyone can come up with fresh, radical ideas – you just need to learn to open your mind and think differently. This article shows you how to do so.

How to Generate New Ideas
Standard idea-generation techniques concentrate on combining or adapting existing ideas. This can certainly generate results. But here, our focus is on equipping you with tools that help you leap onto a totally different plane. These approaches push your mind to forge new connections, think differently and consider new perspectives.

A word of caution – while these techniques are extremely effective, they will only succeed if they are backed by rich knowledge of the area you're working on. This means that if you are not prepared with adequate information about the issue, you are unlikely to come up with a great idea even by using the techniques listed here.

Incidentally, these techniques can be applied to spark creativity in group settings and brainstorming sessions as well.

Breaking Thought Patterns
All of us can tend to get stuck in certain thinking patterns. Breaking these thought patterns can help you get your mind unstuck and generate new ideas. There are several techniques you can use to break established thought patterns:

·    Challenge assumptions: For every situation, you have a set of key assumptions. Challenging these assumptions gives you a whole new spin on possibilities.

·    You want to buy a house but can't since you assume you don't have the money to make a down payment on the loan. Challenge the assumption. Sure, you don't have cash in the bank but couldn't you sell some of your other assets to raise the money? Could you dip into your retirement fund? Could you work overtime and build up the kitty in six months? Suddenly the picture starts looking brighter.

·    Reword the problem: Stating the problem differently often leads to different ideas. To reword the problem look at the issue from different angles. "Why do we need to solve the problem?", "What's the roadblock here?", "What will happen if we don't solve the problem?" These questions will give you new insights. You might come up with new ideas to solve your new problem.

·    In the mid 1950s, shipping companies were losing money on freighters. They decided they needed to focus on building faster and more efficient ships. However, the problem persisted. Then one consultant defined the problem differently. He said the problem the industry should consider was "how can we reduce cost?" The new problem statement generated new ideas. All aspects of shipping, including storage of cargo and loading time, were considered. The outcome of this shift in focus resulted in the container ship and the roll-on/roll-off freighter.

·    Think in reverse: If you feel you cannot think of anything new, try turning things upside-down. Instead of focusing on how you could solve a problem/improve operations/enhance a product, consider how could you create the problem/worsen operations/downgrade the product. The reverse ideas will come flowing in. Consider these ideas – once you've reversed them again – as possible solutions for the original challenge.

·    Express yourself through different media: We have multiple intelligences but somehow, when faced with workplace challenges we just tend to use our verbal reasoning ability. How about expressing the challenge through different media? Clay, music, word association games, paint, there are several ways you can express the challenge. Don't bother about solving the challenge at this point. Just express it. Different expression might spark off different thought patterns. And these new thought patterns may yield new ideas.

Connect the Unconnected
Some of the best ideas seem to occur just by chance. You see something or you hear someone, often totally unconnected to the situation you are trying to resolve, and the penny drops in place. Newton and the apple, Archimedes in the bath tub; examples abound.
Why does this happen? The random element provides a new stimulus and gets our brain cells ticking. You can capitalize on this knowledge by consciously trying to connect the unconnected.
Actively seek stimuli from unexpected places and then see if you can use these stimuli to build a connection with your situation. Some techniques you could use are:

·    Use random input: Choose a word from the dictionary and look for novel connections between the word and your problem.
·    Mind map possible ideas: Put a key word or phrase in the middle of the page. Write whatever else comes in your mind on the same page. See if you can make any connections.
·     Pick up a picture. Consider how you can relate it to your situation.
·    Take an item. Ask yourself questions such as "How could this item help in addressing the challenge?", or "What attributes of this item could help us solve our challenge?"

Shift Perspective
Over the years we all build a certain type of perspective and this perspective yields a certain type of idea. If you want different ideas, you will have to shift your perspective. To do so:
·    Get someone else's perspective: Ask different people what they would do if faced with your challenge. You could approach friends engaged in different kind of work, your spouse, a nine-year old child, customers, suppliers, senior citizens, someone from a different culture; in essence anyone who might see things differently.

·    Play the "If I were" game: Ask yourself "If I were ..." how would I address this challenge? You could be anyone: a millionaire, Tiger Woods, anyone.

·    The idea is the person you decide to be has certain identifiable traits. And you have to use these traits to address the challenge. For instance, if you decide to play the millionaire, you might want to bring traits such as flamboyance, big thinking and risk-taking when formulating an idea. If you are Tiger Woods you would focus on things such as perfection, persistence and execution detail.

Employ Enablers
Enablers are activities and actions that assist with, rather than directly provoke, idea generation. They create a positive atmosphere. Some of the enablers that can help you get your creative juices flowing are:
·    Belief in yourself: Believe that you are creative, believe that ideas will come to you; positive reinforcement helps you perform better.
·    Creative loafing time: Nap, go for a walk, listen to music, play with your child, take a break from formal idea-generating. Your mind needs the rest, and will often come up with connections precisely when it isn't trying to make them.
·    Change of environment: Sometimes changing the setting changes your thought process. Go to a nearby coffee shop instead of the conference room in your office, or hold your discussion while walking together round a local park.
·    Shutting out distractions: Keep your thinking space both literally and mentally clutter-free. Shut off the Blackberry, close the door, divert your phone calls and then think.
·    Fun and humor: These are essential ingredients, especially in team settings.

Key Points:

The ability to generate new ideas is an essential work skill today. You can acquire this skill by consciously practicing techniques that force your mind to forge new connections, break old thought patterns and consider new perspectives.

Along with practicing these techniques, you need to adopt enabling strategies too. These enabling strategies help in creating a positive atmosphere that boosts creativity.

All the success!
Adapted from the WSJ Online

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cure Employee Tardiness With These Steps

From the Leader's Digest Mailbag


Dear Leader’s Digest,

We expect our hourly employees to be ready to work at the start of their shift. But I have several employees who have been written up because they consistently arrive after the grace period. Of course, they would have been on time if it wasn't for the fact that "my mom didn't wake me up" (And the employee is 31 years old), or "my ride didn't pick me up," or "my alarm didn't go off, so I didn't get up," or for more legitimate reasons. These employees feel the policy is unfair and intolerant and they have the empathy of some of the employees who arrive on time.


Needing Discipline

Dear Needing,

First, let us congratulate you for confronting the problem early and consistently, so that the late arrivers are already on the progressive discipline track. Employees’ lateness for shifts, meetings, and other workplace events is frustrating and costly. Ideally, a simple, clear policy and a responsible workforce would remedy the situation. However, as you know, even if you have such a policy, many people simply resist complying with the clock. Enforce your lateness policies consistently. Unevenly applied tardiness policies (Watch out for any favoritism here) are one of the biggest causes of lateness. The most common mistake we make is to let these kinds of problems slide, and as a result, give our tacit permission for bad behavior.

Here are five strategies for handling your late arrivers:

1. Make sure the rule is clear. If you inherited this problem and your predecessor gave his/her tacit permission to let people come in late, you will want to give "fair warning" before beginning to enforce the policy. You will want to talk to the team, and specifically to the late arrivers, to explain the policy and to let them know that you will be enforcing it.

2. Encourage peer pressure. While some employees resent late coworkers, many others will tolerate lateness and even cover for late employees. Channel that energy into responsibility. For example, hold a team meeting and discuss the importance of being on time. Ask for suggestions about what individuals can do to remind each other to arrive on time. A cooperative effort may accomplish what warnings can't.

3. Have the TLC (Tough Love Conversation). You usually don't notice the first time an employee comes in late, you notice when it's become a pattern. The key is to have the conversation as soon as you realize someone is consistently coming in late. Describe the gap between what you expect and what you've observed, and probe for the cause of the problem.
Problems are caused by motivation (the person doesn't share your priority) or ability (the person is unable or has difficulty complying) or a combination of both. If your employees don’t share your priority for arriving on time (motivation), explain the natural consequences for his or her coworkers, customers and the organization. If necessary, explain the imposed consequences involved in your company’s tardiness and attendance policy.

Identify conflicts. Some employees may be very busy with personal and family responsibilities at the times business events occur. For example, dropping off and picking up children ruins many folks’ schedules. Options: Can the employee reschedule personal events? Or can you reschedule store meeting times or flex the schedule?
If the person is having difficulty arriving on time (ability), ask for his or her ideas for making it happen. Encourage the employee to develop a plan that will work for him or her. But don't allow ability blocks to become excuses. The employee needs a plan that results in on-time arrival.

(The Six Steps for Curing Tardiness outlined at the end of this post has proven helpful for people who struggle with punctuality.)

Often, the person will end up with both short-term and long-term plans. The long-term plan might be to get his or her car repaired; the short-term plan might be to get a ride with his or her spouse. By the end of the TLC, the employee should explicitly agree on who will do what by when. Take care that you don't transfer the burden to your back. People need to develop a viable solution that they buy into. And they need to understand that, if their solution doesn't work, consequences will be imposed.

Be sure to hold the right conversation. You talk to someone about being late for the second time. Then the third time. Your blood begins to boil. Then you bite your lip and give another gentle reminder (After all, this employee is a good worker or has a good attitude). Finally after your resentment builds up, you become angry. You make a sarcastic or cutting comment and then end up looking stupid because your reaction seems way out of line given the minor offense.

Once again, look for the patterns. Don't focus exclusively on a single event. Watch for behavior over time. Then talk about the pattern. For example, if a person is late to meetings or for their shift and agrees to do better, the next conversation should not be about tardiness. It should be about his or her failure to keep a commitment. This is a bigger issue. It’s now about integrity and trust.

4. Impose the consequences. It sounds as if you have arrived at this step. If you don't think you’ve had a full and frank discussion, then have it now. However, if you have already had a counseling conversation, the latecomers have already agreed on a plan, and they have failed to live up to their agreements, it's time to impose consequences.
Take care to involve the right people in your up chain—your boss and HR—where appropriate. Try to avoid blindsiding anyone.

Before you meet with an employee, take some time to get your head and your heart right. Ask yourself what you really want—you want the person to be successful somewhere, but you can't continue the costs to your team and business. Then meet with the employee and explain the situation—you established a plan you both agreed to, and the employee has failed to live up to it—and the next step in the disciplinary process. Keep the conversation professional. Create as much respect as possible, but understand that the employee is likely to be hurt or angry.

5. Dealing with others. When an employee is terminated, it's normal for other employees to feel sympathy for that person. It's also normal for people to feel some fear about whether they will be next. You can't share personnel information or feed the rumor mill. Our guess is that, while many will have sympathy and empathy for the person, they will also feel relief that they won't have to carry that person's load any longer.

Best wishes on handling this tardiness issue. You should feel proud of yourself for stepping up to these tough conversations. Without your actions, problems like these would linger, festering in your team and undermining your ability to run your store efficiently.

All the success!

For those who genuinely struggle with punctuality but want to improve, here are six easy steps for curing tardiness.

1. Commit. Begin by making up your mind that you will be punctual from now on. You can't expect to overcome your lateness habit until you've made a firm mental commitment to do so.

2. Record.
Since studies have shown that we're more likely to fulfill written goals, it's important that you record your commitment to be on time. Write "I will arrive on time" on several pieces of paper and post them in key places, such as your TV room wall, your bathroom mirror, and your car dashboard.

3. Calculate.
Determine how early you need to leave your home in order to arrive at work on time—or better yet, to arrive a few minutes early. Allow extra time for traffic tie-ups. Record your proposed departure time in your day planner, on your schedule or just on a piece of paper.

4. Plan.
Set yourself up for success by filling up your gas tank on the way home rather than on the way to work, laying out your clothes the night before, getting to bed early, and setting the alarm a few minutes ahead.

5. Prioritize.
Don't fall prey to the urge to do "just one more thing" before leaving the house—even if you think you have a few extra minutes to spare. Instead, get to work a few minutes early and do your "one more thing" there.

6. Practice.
Tardiness, like punctuality, is a habit. And since it takes only about three weeks to a month to replace one habit with another, a little practice should make perfect.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

3 Ways to Feel Happier—In 60 Seconds or Less

Leader's Digest Quick Tips

Social-psychological researchers have shown that there is a host of happy behaviors that can be quickly incorporated into your everyday life.

1.    Smile More.

Most important of all, smile more. This shouldn’t be a brief, unfelt smile that finishes in the blink of an eye. Instead, you should try to maintain the expression for between 15 and 30 seconds. To make the grin as convincing as possible, try to imagine a situation that would elicit a genuine smile. Perhaps you have just met a good friend, heard a hilarious joke or found out that your “X” isn’t coming to visit after all. Consider creating a signal to remind you to smile regularly. Set you watch, computer or Smart Phone to beep on the hour, or use a more random cue such as your telephone ringing.

2.    Sit Up Straighter.

Your posture is equally important. In a study conducted by Tomi-Ann Roberts and Colorado College, participants were randomly split into two groups and asked to spend 3  minutes either sitting up straight or slumping down in their chair. Everyone was given a math test and asked to assess their mood.

Those who had sat upright were much happier than those who had slouched down, and even obtained higher scores on the math test.

3.    Act Happy.

Research by Peter Borkenay from Bielefeld University and others has revealed that happy people move in a very different way to unhappy people. You can use this information to increase your sense of happiness by acting like a happy person. Try walking in a more relaxed way, swinging your arms slightly more, putting more of a spring in your step. Also, try making more expressive hand gestures during conversations, nod your head more when others are speaking, wear more colorful clothing, use a greater frequency of positively charged emotional words (especially “love”, “like”, and “fond”), show a lower frequency of self-references (“me”, “myself”, and “I”), have a larger variation in the pitch of your voice, speak slightly faster and have a significantly firmer handshake.

Incorporating these behaviors into your everyday actions will help enhance your energy and happiness!

"We can create happiness or sadness, the amount of work is the same."
                                                                                                --Carlos Castaneda


All the success!

Peter Mclees, MS LMFT

P. S. Smart Development Inc. has an exceptional track record helping restaurants, stores, branches, distrubution centers, food production facilities, and other businesses create a strong culture, leadership bench strength and the teamwork necessary for growth. Having worked with several companies throughout their growth cycle, we have valuable insights and strategies that would help any late stage startup, small or medium sized company achieve sustained growth and prosperity.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Laughter is Good Business

 Boost Workplace Productivity
—Make 'Em Laugh!

Any time you walk through the halls of an elementary school or frequent a playground all you hear are giggles and laughter, but when you walk the maze of cubicles at work, aisles in a store or warehouse or along the hallways in your office, you rarely hear those same sounds of glee. It's not that we have outgrown laughter as we have entered adulthood, but work is generally viewed as a place to be serious so that lots of work can get done. Now research tells us that a little humor and laughter at work can go a long way.

Often referred to as the "best medicine," laughter at work is gaining ground as an easy way to brighten the workday and boost the overall health of your workplace or organization. Because there is a growing amount of research that supports the benefits of laughter at work, humor is now getting the professional respect it deserves.
The benefits of laughter at work
·        Laughter increases productivity
·        Those who laugh out loud are more creative at problem solving
·        Those who laugh have better memory retention
·        Those who laugh experience less stress
·        Laughter is a major coping mechanism
·        Those who laugh together may work more effectively together.

Victor Borge remarked, “Laughter is the closet distance between two people.”

A study conducted at Canadian financial institutions found that managers who most frequently used humor also had the highest level of employee performance. Dr. William Fry of Stanford University found that laughing 200 times can burn as many calories as rowing intensely for 10 minutes, boosting your energy and giving you that alive feeling.

David Sloan Wilson, an evolutionary biologist at Bingham University, discusses laughter at work in his new book, 'Evolution For Everyone.' Wilson finds laughter to be a good thing for any workplace. "When it is appropriate, laughter puts everyone in a merry mood. Mechanistically, the brain releases a cocktail of chemicals similar to those that we take artificially to give ourselves a good time such as opium or morphine. So besides feeling good, we also act good."
Laughing at work
Leigh Anne Jasheway, M.P.H. and comedian, says that you don't want to encourage pranks or have everyone at work turn into the court jester, but recommends these methods for using laughter at work:
·        Include humorous quotes in communications
·        Encourage employees to share and laugh at their own misstep
·        Use improv games as icebreakers and stress busters
·        Provide crayons and construction paper at meetings for creative doodling
·        Organize group activities outside of work that include community service and fun

It is possible to create the work/fun fusion and now there is scientific research that proves it works. A little laughter at work is just what people need in this time of change and financial challenge. If laughter is also proven to make us happier, more effective workers, then bring on the whoopee cushion!


…and always follow your dreams. Except for the one where you fly. That never ends well :>)