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Clowning Achievements

clown.jpgIn case you’re wondering, there isn’t a typographical error in today’s title. We don’t want to talk about crowning achievements.

We saw a fantastic article in Business Week about the impact of humor in organizations. It’s an interview with Chris Robert, a management professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia and author of a recent study The Case for Developing New Research on Humor and Culture in Organizations: Toward a Higher Grade of Manure.

Now there’s a professor with a great sense of humor!

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Chuckles and creativity are connected

In his paper, he points out that humor is a universal language. It helps us feel more comfortable with other people. It brings out our child-like nature. It’s also contagious – one joke often brings on another.

Humor is also associated with intelligence and creativity, highly valued traits in today’s workplace. Dr. Robert notes that the main theory about humor is that we often laugh when two disparate things are put together.

A theory about humor? How funny!

He states that creativity often involves the same thing – connecting the dots. This link between being funny and being creative is supported by a number of studies.

Crack a joke and keep your employees

There’s also a strong connection between humor and positive emotions. He says that numerous studies have linked positive feelings with productivity in the workplace. So if you want a higher performing team, develop a sense of humor.

Finally, he points out that the real benefit comes in employee retention. People are less likely to quit if they feel their place of work is a positive place to be.

So how do you bring humor into the workplace?

Connect the dots

As we mentioned earlier, connect things that don’t naturally fit together. Here’s an example from Jay Leno:

“It’s crazy. First we had Mad Cow. Then we had bird flue. Now we have swine flu. Do we have to check the Chinese horoscope to see what flu is coming next?”

He’s mixing a current topic in with animals and the Chinese horoscope.

Pull it back in

Bring up a topic that was funny earlier. Or maybe it wasn’t funny earlier but it may be funny now. David Letterman is a master at this. Do you remember, “Uma … Oprah”? It bombed at the Oscars, but Dave often gets a bigg chortle when he does this.

Word play

The title to this post is an example. It may not make you laugh out loud, but you might get a little chuckle out of it. Sometimes a play on words can set off a bigg laugh.

A few lessons

Share other people’s humor like we did with Jay Leno. Understand that humor is subjective. You have to know your audience. Dave’s humor didn’t fly at the Oscars.

Be yourself. You can’t force it. Some people are good at off-the-cuff comments. Others have to plan it out.

Finally, remember that you don’t have to be funny yourself to participate. Laughing at a joke connects you just as much as making one!

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Please join us next time when we talk about a great way to have fun with your friends using only things you already have in your home.

Thanks so much for reading our post today. Until next time, here’s to your bigg success!

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Are Good Looks an Advantage or a Disadvantage at Work?

A lot of attractive people complain that people assume things about them without getting to know them. It’s assumed that they’re unintelligent, superficial, and even arrogant.

You’ve been given the gift of physical attractiveness, which has to mean you’re lacking in other areas. In the social world, you’re just the pretty boy or girl.

But does that perception carry over into the professional world? Is there a bias against people who are good-looking?

 

Green Without Envy
Economists Markus Mobius of Harvard University and Tanya Rosenblat of Wesleyan University did a study to see how looks affected the hiring process. They divided participants into five groups:

  • Two of the groups never saw a photo of the candidate or the candidates themselves
  • The other three either saw the candidate’s photograph or in-person.

The groups who saw the candidates were much more likely to hire the more attractive candidate, even though the less attractive candidate was just as qualified.

These employers predicted that the attractive candidates would be more productive, and would be rewarded for it with higher pay.

Even Greener Pastures
Daniel Hamermesh, an economist at the University of Texas, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on the economics of beauty. Dr. Hamermesh has focused on how beauty effects financial success in the workplace.

His research confirms the results of the study we just referenced – that beauty gains an advantage because the doors of opportunity open more frequently. So they make connections, learn skills, and grow professionally. Then they’re able to leverage that first opportunity into many more opportunities, which results in even higher pay.

He also offers little hope for the unattractive. His research has shown that spending money on things to enhance your looks is a waste. You’ll only get back about 15 cents in pay for ever dollar you spend.

Our bigg quote today is by an unknown author:

“We could learn a lot from crayons; some are sharp, some are pretty,
some are dull, while others bright, some have weird names,
but they all have learned to live together in the same box.”

The more colors you have, the more colorful your world can be.


Questions for you

Socially, we often hear pretty people complain that they’re discriminated against. But research seems to show that it works to their favor in the workplace.

From your experiences, do you think good looks are an advantage or a disadvantage?

Is there a difference between men and women? Are good looks more important in the workplace for men or for women?

How about age? Is this something you think affects young people more than older workers or vice versa?

What do you think of Dr. Hamermesh’s finding that it doesn’t pay to try to package yourself better? Do you think it makes a difference?

Share your thoughts by leaving a Comment.

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Touching Others by Adding Your Personal Touch

Sometimes we forget what an impact we can make in the lives of others with our jobs. No matter what that job may be.

Barbara Glanz wrote a wonderful book called CARE Packages for the Workplace – Dozens of Little Things You Can Do to Regenerate Spirit at Work. In this book, she tells the story of a person who attended one of her workshops about putting your own personal mark on your work.

The story is about Johnny, who is a bagger at a grocery store. Johnny took Barbara’s point to heart.

Here’s what Johnny did …

Johnny had an idea for putting his stamp on customer service. He would come up with a thought every day and put it in every customer’s grocery bag. 

He went home that night and asked his dad to teach him how to use the computer. You see, Johnny has Down’s syndrome. His dad helped him develop a three column by three row page.

When he gets home from work each night, Johnny finds a thought for the next day. Sometimes he can’t find a good one, so he makes one up! With his dad’s help, he types it into the computer. They copy it into the other eight sections of the page. Then they print it out.

Johnny cuts up the nine thoughts and then personally signs the back of each one … which means that Johnny signs at least 1,800 thoughts each day.

Here’s what happened as a result …

The store manager noticed that Johnny’s thoughts were in huge demand. He first noticed it when he was walking through the store one day and there was a long line. He immediately called for more lanes to be open.

But the customers didn’t move – they wanted to be in Johnny’s lane so they got his thought for the day! One customer told the store manager that she used to only shop at his store once a week. Now she only comes to his store – because she wants Johnny’s thought for the day! Johnny’s thought has turned shopping into an experience for his customers.

Other employees also noticed what Johnny was doing. The people in the floral department started thinking about how they could put their mark on customer service. Now, when a flower breaks off or isn’t going to be used, they don’t just throw it away like they used to. They find an elderly woman or a young girl and personally pin it on her!

One of the meat packers loves Snoopy. He bought 50,000 Snoopy stickers, which he puts on every piece of meat he packs. Johnny’s thought has made work fun for his co-workers.

So Johnny shows us that every single one of us has the ability to make a significant difference in the world. No matter what our job is.

We applaud Johnny’s bigg success!

Our bigg quote today is by William James, who said,

“Act as if what you do makes a difference.  It does.”

Sometimes a simple thought, put into action, creates a chain reaction.

Next time, we’ll discuss how to establish credit for the first time. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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Pages

Have you ever been to BINPAO?

By Bigg Success Staff
09-04-08

Peak Performance

binpao 

Now that all we have to do to visit another country, or even another planet, is double click our mouse, there’s no stopping us Web surfers. And, it’s time to space out, both literally and figuratively.

Millions of Americans, young and old, have diagnosed or undiagnosed attention deficit issues, leaving them with an inability to concentrate. While this is assuredly a serious issue for those with true attention-related conditions, I cannot help but wonder how much BINPAO humans have manufactured using our own devices. I have coined BINPAO here, not only because it looks cool in writing and sounds cool (especially the pow! part), but because it reflects accurately what happens to me when I begin using the Internet and all its related technologies.

BINPAO causes me to switch topics, jump around from place to place and generally. Oh wait, I lost my train of thought. See, with my browser open in several windows, I am able to compose these sentences while simultaneously checking the weather, the news from Iraq, my e-mail and more. I can switch from screen to screen in a millisecond. I can BINPAO – be in nine places at once.  For me, BINPAO is a fascinating concept. I can multitask in entirely new ways. I can be bored with what I am reading on the screen after just three or four sentences, and I can move on by clicking on a link and opening another box with a cute photo of a puppy. lol.  I can skip the really important information of the day and find out what is going on in Hollywood. omg. 

What I cannot do if I choose to enter the state of BINPAO is really get ANYTHING done—at all. I can start all kinds of stuff, just not finish one lick of it.

And studies are popping up all over on the subject of too much multitasking. CFO Magazine in July 2007 reported on multitasking in the workplace. They cite MIT and UCLA studies where researchers concluded that multitaskers do not always optimal learners or workers make. The studies pointed out that while some interruption and multitasking can bring interest to your job, too much is really that: too much. The MIT study found that one can reach a saturation point. Errors increase. Efficiency decreases. The UCLA researchers found that distracted learners still did the learning, but stored the information in different and perhaps less useful locations in the brain.

Ah, but what is an easily distractible gal to do?  It’s like putting a variety of raw meats in a circle around a hungry crocodile. Which one to grab first? Solution? Stop the click-throughs until I’m through and grab one at a time. I am an adult and can choose how long my attention span is. I need to take control of my constant clicking and realize the grass isn’t always greener on the other screen. I need to take time to absorb what’s in front of me before I move on. Maybe I’ll start by moving to the state of BIEPAO – be in eight places at once, and see where I go from there?

Hear today’s lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show.

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Gearing Up for a New Workplace

By Bigg Success Staff
06-05-08

Leadership Skills

keyboard 

Great leaders are vital to success for any organization. It’s especially true today as we face more challenges with a multi-generational workforce. We’re also learning more about how people respond to calls for change.

It’s incumbent on leadership today to focus the attention and activities around these three questions:

#1 – What are the most important results for us to achieve?

Your people must know what needs to be done. Not the duties, but the outcome. What is the expected result of the work you’re doing together? Identify it, proclaim it, and repeat it … and repeat it … and repeat it.

#2 – What behaviors are necessary to achieve those results?

Identify what it will take to achieve your desired result. Don’t worry about current behavior. Focus on what behavior will lead to bigg success. To accomplishing what you set out to do.

#3 – What is working well?
Along the way, highlight those things that are leading you and your team to your goal. Keep your discussions on discovering these things and then making them part of your system.

Hear today's lesson and laugh on The Bigg Success Show. 

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