Celebration For Success Ideas

Planning on-going fun and celebration at work, with your family or friends is an excellent way to do group mental flossing. These ideas have been known to improve relationships, enhance creativity, make people feel appreciated, and build an invisible web of goodwill.

Most of the ideas below come from a survey of the most popular ideas used at medium to large organizations in North America. All the ideas have actually been tried, and more importantly, they have been accepted with joy and appreciation and have produced positive results for the organizations that tried them. Use these ideas or let them inspire you to customize your own for your group environment. Most of them cost little or nothing and require virtually no time beyond informing people about what’s happening. You can weave them into your day or use them to plan a special event. The most important thing is to not just talk about these ideas, but actually do them.

A. Fun Rituals:

1. Champagne Celebration: Maybe the office has just landed that big, long-fought-for account, or, perhaps the division has just had a productive week together. Why not celebrate working together—for any reason—with some champagne (or sparkling grape juice if you prefer)?

2. Kazoo Applause: At Apple Computers, during a quarterly meeting, they gave out kazoos to the whole group. Rather than applauding by clapping hands (how passé!), they hummed their acknowledgment with kazoos. How about trying slide whistles instead of gavels for formal meetings? In fact, how about asking for a standing ovation . . . right now?!

3. Noses: There are a variety of rubber animal noses and red foam or plastic clown noses—bring ‘em in and wear for staff meetings, tough times, on Fridays, etc.

4. Laugh a Day: The corporate office of Bank of America issued a “Laugh a Day Challenge” to all its Northern California employees. For the entire month of April, employees were challenged to bring in a joke or cartoon every day to share with their co-workers. Those people successfully completing the Challenge were given a Corporate Challenge T-Shirt, and a book, internally published, filled with the best responses. [It's important to note the spirit of the "challenge" NOT the "competition". They weren't looking for the best jokes to "win", but simply the willingness to participate. Thus everyone wins, even the employees who did not bring in jokes, but who nonetheless got to hear them.]

5. Thanks in Advance: Sure we enjoy and deserve to celebrate and be acknowledged for our contributions when we retire. But, why wait?! How about a party and a celebration on the first day of a person’s joining your company/organization? What a great way to set the tone and include them as a member of the team.

6. Contests: Try these at lunchtime or at social events: Balloon shaving, Lip synch, Air band (or air orchestra), Worst Hair Day, Giant bubbles, Golf course.

7. Secret Pal: Have everyone in the office/organization/division/etc. write his/her name, address, phone number, birth date (actual date of birth for those with nothing to hide!), and a short list of things they like (such as: flowers, sports, chocolate, funny hats, exotic post cards, music, etc.). Fold and put slips in a hat. Then each person picks a slip — making sure that no one has picked their own name (if so, all slips go back in and try again). Once all slips are distributed and everyone has someone else’s name, the fun begins! You are the Secret Pal to the person whose name you’ve picked. Over the course of the Secret Pal experience (we recommend at least three months) your “mission” is to do creative, spontaneous, fun, and enlivening things for your partner…all anonymously of course. You might send flowers to his/her home; leave a note on her desk about how much you enjoy working together, or admire her professional competence, or appreciate his contributions to the organization; or, perhaps, simply send a Valentine’s card in September with a note that you just couldn’t wait until February to send your love. The important thing is to make it fun and uplifting–and impossible for your partner to guess who their Secret Pal is. And, of course, the extra special fun is that while you are being a Secret Pal to your lucky partner, someone else in the group is your Secret Pal, and is doing fun things for you! At the end of the predetermined time span, have a public event where Secret Pals are revealed.

B. Theme Days:

1. Clothes: Hats; socks (one only? mismatched?); tacky tourist; tacky/ugly tie; clashing clothes; have Casual Dress Day once a week/month. (it’s a way to acknowledge those “secret identities” we all seem to have; the sides of ourselves that our friends see, but that our co-workers–who, let’s face it, we may actually spend more time with—rarely get to see). In Hawaii, on occasion even the television newscasters wear Aloha shirts rather than “business clothing” during broadcasts. It’s a real nod to the playful, joie de vivre spirit in all of us; certain colors (eg. one color, or color family only, ebony & ivory, etc.); inside-out; crazy T-shirts; pajamas; eccentric accessories.

2. Food: Have a backward meal; notes on orange rind; hot dog bananas; use food colors to change colors of food (blue potatoes? purple pasta?); senior management can cook and serve food to employees; do-it-yourself banana splits; gourmet lunch; food Olympics…

3. Celebrate: Special holidays; un-birthdays; Tuesdays; your giggling friends; standing ovations (at meetings, in the cafeteria); crazy awards (to bosses, to employees, part-time staff); a person’s first day on the job; airport arrivals; Christmas in July; summer beach party in February; helium balloons (notes inside, give ‘em away, decorate or write messages on the outside); $1.00 present anonymous gift exchange; celebrity for a day; decorate your boss’ office…

4. Flowers: Bring ‘em in to adorn the office; give ‘em away with a note of acknowledgment; have a bouquet that someone keeps for an hour and then passes on to the next person; balloon bouquets…

5. Photos: (baby, pets, cars, kids) For the bulletin board; for newsletters; awards meetings; the training room.

6. Special Person Days: Secretaries Day celebrations; Family Day: bring in photos or bring in the family for lunch, have a lunch out; special office picnic day; Gopher Day: delegate things to people (ie, will you please go-fer this or that) or, if you come in and see your shadow, you leave and don’t return to work for six weeks; offer massages on April 30…

7. Be Kind to Others Day: (Of course this should really be every day!) Do spontaneous, anonymous kind things for each other—eg., clean all the tea cups in the staff room; finish a colleagues report; finish your assistant’s filing…

8. Excuses: Put up a sheet of paper and ask people to contribute the best excuse they’ve ever heard or given for: being late, returning merchandise, not paying their bill, etc. (use a real one, or make one up)

9. Awards: Night Each person gets given the name of someone else at work. They choose an award title and a fitting prize to go with it. Choose upbeat, non put-down prizes. Here are some examples of titles and awards:

o Best blow-dried hair…can of salon mousse.

o Perkiest phone voice…new phone headset.

o Most good-natured morning person…gift certificate for 10 cups of chai at local tea shop.

o Most legible handwriting… pen embossed with their name and company name.

C. On Going:

1. Humor Area: Create laugh books (people write in funny anecdotes and non-toxic jokes; bind them and distribute at the end of the quarter or year); cartoon corner; jokes/cartoons on memos and newsletters; smile more; cartoon treasuries or funny magazines in waiting areas and bathrooms; laughter cart; a laughter room; comedy library of books, CD’s and DVD’s…

2. Games: Non-competitive/cooperative games; charades; skits; secret word (upon hearing the word, everybody crosses legs or looks up or changes seats, etc.); treasure hunt…

3. The Great Job Exchange: Trade jobs, clothes, offices for a day. OK, OK, at least try an hour. 10 minutes?

4. Elevators: Smile, introduce people to each other (you don’t have to know them either) face everyone else; have cartoons on the side walls call an elevated meeting.

5. What’s Good?: Begin meetings by asking each person “What’s going good in your dept?”

6. Joy Break Box: Instead of having coffee or tea at 3:15, take ten minutes off to do, read or play something fun (read a novel, thumb through a “Far Side” cartoon book, check out the movie pages for a comedy film to see later, listen to a comedy tape on your headphones); try to have a rule: “no-work-talk” on breaks; create a Joybreak Committee to plan occasional group break-time interactions and activities.

7. Stroll Meetings: For 2-3 person meetings, go on a walk together in nature
(bring a mini recorder to capture ideas and decisions for the minutes).

8. Best Mistakes: Stories allot 5 minutes during meetings for people to share any recent embarrassing or funny stories from their work or personal life.

9. Mural: Put up a large piece of paper in a common area. Pick a theme and ask people to contribute to it over a period of time. They can draw pictures, doodles, write words, poetry, paste magazine clippings, etc.

10. Lunchtime Fun: Go out to lunch with co-workers all wearing noses or fun hats. Give an outrageously good tip to the waiter. Sing the waiter a song for doing such a good job.

11. Unbirthdays (pick anyone and give them a surprise birthday party)

12. Decorate the boss’s office with streamers, flowers and balloons

13. Way to Go notes: Have you ever wanted to tell someone what you admire, respect or appreciate about them, but never got around to it? Create a large envelope for each person at work and put them in a common area. Each week invite everyone to write notes of specific acknowledgment to their bosses, employees or even service providers–where you have caught them doing something right. Put your notes in the appropriate envelope. After one month, everyone opens their envelopes.

14. Caption Contest: Put up a cartoon without the caption on the staff area bulletin board. Invite people to make up a new caption that fits the cartoon. As people go through their day they can read what other people wrote and add to the list.

Tips for When a Co-Worker Steals Your Idea

To paraphrase a famous quote “every great idea has already been thought.” While that may be true of general ideas, the chance of someone in your office coming up with the exact same detailed plan, presentation, product or process as you have is pretty slim. It seems taking credit for someone else’s work happens all too often in business. If this has happened to you, here are some tips on how to handle the situation professionally.

The first step is to make sure the work is actually your own. I have taken part in creative brainstorming sessions where more than one participant has scribbled out the same headline or same scenario for an ad campaign without sneaking a peek at anyone else’s notebook. If, however, you are certain that the idea, concept, or solution is yours, and you hear someone else deliver it in its entirety, taking credit for your good work, that’s an entirely different ball game.

If the intellectual property thief is a peer or co-worker, there are two ways to handle it. The most effective is to have a sit-down chat with your nemesis, asking a few pointed questions that will point to either innocent oversight or outright thievery. Whichever the case, a polite but firm handshake agreeing that it won’t happen again should motivate a more sensitive moral code while sending the message that you are no pushover. It may also help to have your notes, or some other semblance of proof that the idea was yours, to help jog your peer’s memory.

If the trespass was an egregious one, resulting in big perks or a promotion, it might warrant a brief conversation with a boss or manager. Keep the tone straightforward and logical, minus any whining, and again, if you’ve got emails or notes that support your position, be sure to introduce them.

If the person taking credit for your work happens to be your boss, that makes things a little more complicated. Your boss is a busy guy, and lots of information comes across the desk and gets funneled both in and out accompanied by managerial comment. It could have been an oversight, so treating the situation gently is always a good idea.

If the issue was a low level transgression, it is probably smart to have a short discussion pointing to you as the source of that work as a reminder. Try to give support while speaking to your thoughts about your future.

If the issue was a big one, seeking out a mentor within the company to confide in and look to for guidance can be helpful, but know this: management usually sticks together, supporting each other through thick and thin. It may prove more prudent to keep the situation under your hat, while diligently documenting all future communication with a cc to a third person to avoid a repeat event.

The absolute worst thing to do is to turn the complaint into water cooler gossip. That is not only unprofessional, but ignites a firestorm of conversation behind your back. Keep the details between yourself and the offender, keep your head focused on doing a good job, and if the practice continues, seek a new position. Leaving without complaint or ill will, secure in the knowledge that the next step will likely be an improvement, you will be wiser and stronger as you continue to do the right thing.

Don’t Start a Home Worker Business Without These Four Facts

Before you consider starting a home worker business, you need
to know these essential facts.

Very few home businesses are successful. 95% fail in the
first year, and it’s even higher in the first 3 years. Success
is not normal, but those that succeed find they share many
things in common with other successful businesses.

First, you should be well prepared before you start your business.
To get prepared, study the market you are interested in, and learn
what they are looking for.

Second: Never, ever start a business based on an idea you have without
first knowing who would buy your product or service, and then
knowing this market is truly interested in what you have to
sell.

In other words, go after a hungry market that you can easily reach,
and then give them exactly what they are looking for. The
ultra-successful feed them an extra serving.

Third, look at all the business issues – how will you develop
the product, and how will you fulfill orders? Will you have
a brick and mortar business, or do you want to run it over
the Internet? Are you ready for the tremendous pressure
success can bring?

If you have limited money to start your business, consider starting
an online business – some online businesses are virtually free to
start, and can make as much or more as a business with a physical
presence.

Finally, get legally prepared.
Do you need liability insurance? Will you file a patent, or infringe
on someone else’s intellectual property? If there is a chance you will
be sued or otherwise involved in legal action, you should get
ready now, not when it happens.

Personally, I find a home worker business easiest when you
have a great product that is in demand, but without the
need to handle inventory. If you don’t handle orders, it is even better!

When starting your home worker business, be sure to consider
all your options, and prepare for success. You might find
the movie called “The Secret” helpful too – it demonstrates
how the right frame of mind can make a tremendous difference
in the level of success you experience.

Long Term Diseases and Workers Compensation

Workers compensation is one of those policies that most people don’t know much about until they get injured at work. Certainly, it’s something we usually associate with workers who do dangerous work, like fishermen, construction workers or miners. But this program covers other types of incidents as well, including long term ones, which may be more common in offices. Here’s how long term diseases are handled by workers compensation.

The basic idea behind workers compensation is that anything that’s caused by your job description, while you’re at work, is covered. That means if you’re a construction worker, and you fall down while building a house, then this policy covers you, and will provide financial aid for your medical bills and lost salary. But sometimes, it’s not a simple injury, it could be something much slower to develop. One example is those workers who handled asbestos. This material was found to be toxic, and cancer could develop around 30 years after the fact. If your employer was found to be negligent, then you may be covered, even if it’s been so long. Another, more common example, is carpel tunnel syndrome. Any office worker that has to type on a keyboard for a long period of time risks getting carpel tunnel syndrome, which is a pain found in the wrists. If this occurs, then you may be forced to see a doctor, take medications, and maybe even miss work. You should be covered for that, even if it’s a much slower disease.

One difference between these slow diseases and much more obvious injuries is how you can prove that they’re work related. If you fall down and break your arm on a job site, it’s pretty obvious what caused it, and that you got injured while at work. But if you’re complaining of wrist or back pain, then you have to prove that this is a direct result of your job description, which may be harder. The burden of proof is on you, and you have to bring convincing arguments, because most employers don’t want to shell out cash just for fun. There’s various ways to ensure that your workers compensation claim won’t be rejected. For one, you can bring medical diagnostics to help support your cause. Ask your doctor what the likely cause of your illness is. Then, you should also ask around while at work. Find out if other workers suffer from the same symptoms. If your disease was caused at work, then chances are other workers in similar positions to yours may suffer as well.

Overall, when you file in your claim, you should try to bring in as much evidence as you can, to make sure your side of the argument wins. If it does get rejected however, you can always file an appeal, or even go to court. Again, you’ll need to make sure you have the right proof with you, and that you can show within reason that your problem started at work.