Sunday, June 06, 2010

Happy Mondays

I met a lady the other day at a networking event, whose title was CEO – not the usual interpretation, but Chief Euphoria Officer! Her job was all about ensuring their work environment was a happy one – as well of course as a successful one. That got me thinking – what can we do for ourselves to ensure we have that spring in our step on a Monday morning as we head into another working week?

Clearly the more we enjoy what we do at work, the more likely we are to look forward to it and thrive when doing it. Research into employee engagement (Gallup) talks about when people focus strengths they are six times more likely to be engaged at work and more than three times as likely to report an excellent quality of life in general. But how many of us really know what our strengths are?

Think over your working life so far, including your years of study, and recall those times when you were really in your flow, where work came easily to you even when you were tired, where you felt challenged yet motivated, fulfilled and satisfied. Then think of the opposite scenario – when you felt bogged down in the day to day churn of doing something, where the mere thought of that something made you feel lethargic and miserable. Chances are that you will be using more of your natural style in the former situation. Even if your job isn’t a complete match, find ways in your day to use your natural style – if you like working with numbers, find a way to work on the analysis for your department; if you particularly like people interaction, make sure you plan conversations into the day.

Here are some other tips and hints to help make sure you have great days at work:
         Don’t say yes to everything
         Take time to mix with other people
         Watch your posture and breathe
         Get some fresh air
         Arrange your workspace your way
         Have great evenings and weekends!

    The reality is that we don’t need a Chief Euphoria Officer to feel happy at work, we just need to keep conscious of playing to our strengths and focusing on the things we enjoy. As with everything, life is a choice, and if your Mondays aren’t happy, it may be time to move on.

    Living With Uncertainty

    My travel plans have been disrupted twice recently by volcanic ash, and it served as a potent reminder that no matter how much we try,  we simply cannot be in control of all circumstances that may impact our lives and schedules.

    Whilst a decade ago advice about time management and work life balance focused on taking control, the times we are in now call for a different approach.  We live in increasingly uncertain and unpredictable times, and all the trends suggest we’d better get used to it. 

    We may have survived the first wave of the recent recession and bank crisis, but now we have sovereign debt crisis,  deep spending cuts,  uncertainty about inflation and deflation and for many  a continuing period of job insecurity to deal with.  All this is to say nothing of the impact of climate change and its as yet unknown impact on the economy, food, water the lives and livelihood of many in the world.  It’s not so hard to reach the conclusion that the future is going to be different – it’s certainly not going to be “business as usual”.

    So if the watchwords used to be “take control”, what are they now? Certainly accepting uncertainty is one key.  I was very frustrated when the ash cloud first disrupted my work schedule, but the second time it happened I’d already become more philosophical about it. 

    A second key is agility and adaptability – being prepared to adapt ones plans, strategies and goals according to changing circumstances.  Even being prepared to adapt one’s lifestyle is going to be important. I know several people whose career consists of a series of international assignments. Every few years they up sticks and move with their families to a new country and a new culture. They’ve trained themselves to be able to adapt quickly to new circumstances that impact all aspects of their lives. 

    Adaptability goes hand in hand with flexibility, which has an apt dictionary definition – “the ability to bend without breaking”!  In practical terms this means being able to adjust our time usage, work, schedules and priorities as they arise – and just doing it rather than getting stressed about it.

    A third key is “readiness” and by this I mean being ready for anything, rather than just specifically prepared for certain situations. One international trouble-shooter I know keeps a bag permanently packed so he’s ready to travel at a moment’s notice.

    But more than this readiness is an attitude. It’s to do with expecting the future to be different, anticipating and preparing where you can, and being ready to change, adapt and respond to the opportunity rather than the difficulties that the future will bring.

    Wednesday, June 02, 2010

    They Called Their Website WHAT?!

    In a new book entitled "Slurls: They Called Their Website WHAT?!" the author Anndy Geldman lists 150 domain names that pay homage to the wonderful mistakes people can make when converting the name of their company or product into a single word domain name.  

    Examples include a site listing MP3 music hits entitled or the site belonging to the American broadcaster, author and columnist Benjamin Dover - yes, you guessed it  If only he'd been as sensible as Michael Hunt and Richard Head who were savvy enough to use their full names.

    Please add your own example of marketing or naming faux pas as comments below.