Michael Kerr http://mikekerr.com International business speaker, trainer, author Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:00:45 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.2 International business speaker, trainer, author Michael Kerr yes International business speaker, trainer, author Michael Kerr http://mikekerr.com/wp-content/plugins/powerpress/rss_default.jpg http://mikekerr.com Nerds Rule the Roost in this Inspiring Workplace http://mikekerr.com/nerds-rule-the-roost-in-this-inspiring-workplace/ http://mikekerr.com/nerds-rule-the-roost-in-this-inspiring-workplace/#respond Thu, 14 Sep 2017 15:54:21 +0000 http://mikekerr.com/?p=8466 I always love stumbling upon under-the-radar companies that are doing awesomely cool things, like these nerds. (And as a self-identifying nerd, I use this term in a very affectionate way.)

The software development company The Nerdery was recently listed by Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing companies in the United States. One of the keys to their success is their phenomenal culture – the founders of The Nerdery made it a goal to build the kind of workplace where they would want to work. A few highlights of their culture:

  • To foster camaraderie, the company has more than 50 clubs –  from knitting to hacky-sack and everything in between. Any employee is encouraged to start up a club of their own choosing.
  • A weekly Friday after work tradition held in the Nerdatorium, known as Bottlecap, features beer, snacks, show and tell presentations for anyone who wants to demonstrate a new product, a “meet-the newbs” video introducing a new employee, and a video montage of Nerds giving fellow Nerds congrats for a job nerdishly well done.
  • They live by the credo “the best idea wins,” which means they encourage employees to adopt the attitude that it’s not just their privilege to speak up if they have a better idea, it’s their responsibility to do so.
  • They encourage an entrepreneurial spirit – which means they ask their employees to be bold with their ideas, take reasonable risks’ and slay any sacred cows. (For more on this concept, check out the article I’m quoted in: How to Keep the Entrepreneurial Spirit Alive in Your Company)
  • Finally, to help add a spirit of fun to everyone’s workday toys are a big part of their workplace environment, especially Nerf guns, which to me just seems so fitting for a place called The Nerdery.

If you want more ideas like these to help create a more nerdishly fun, inspiring workplace culture in your absolute have to sign up for our weekly e-zine, Inspiring Workplaces – Humor at Work. Sign up at the bottom of the page and you’ll get the bonus e-book 340 Ways to Put Humor to Work.

Michael Kerr, 2017.

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Humor at Work for a Clearer Head http://mikekerr.com/humor-at-work-for-a-clearer-head/ http://mikekerr.com/humor-at-work-for-a-clearer-head/#respond Wed, 13 Sep 2017 16:44:35 +0000 http://mikekerr.com/?p=8456 Mike offers up another episode of random facts and musings related to the world of inspiring workplaces and humor in the workplace, a fun at work tip you can pirate,  a great quote of the week, and some guacamole trivia!

 

Humor at Work for a Clearer Head

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http://mikekerr.com/humor-at-work-for-a-clearer-head/feed/ 0 Mike offers up another episode of random facts and musings related to the world of inspiring workplaces and humor in the workplace, a fun at work tip you can pirate, a great quote of the week, and some guacamole trivia! Mike offers up another episode of random facts and musings related to the world of inspiring workplaces and humor in the workplace, a fun at work tip you can pirate, a great quote of the week, and some guacamole trivia! Michael Kerr yes 3:36
Timely Habits to Boost Workplace Productivity http://mikekerr.com/timely-habits-to-boost-workplace-productivity/ http://mikekerr.com/timely-habits-to-boost-workplace-productivity/#respond Wed, 06 Sep 2017 10:04:03 +0000 http://mikekerr.com/?p=8444 Mike shares some insider tips on how to manage your time effectively and be more productive, his fun at work tip offers a simple idea to help your team celebrate summer, a great quote of the week on the power of humor, and the origin of casual Fridays.

 

Timely habits to Boost Productivity

 

 

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http://mikekerr.com/timely-habits-to-boost-workplace-productivity/feed/ 0 Mike shares some insider tips on how to manage your time effectively and be more productive, his fun at work tip offers a simple idea to help your team celebrate summer, a great quote of the week on the power of humor, Mike shares some insider tips on how to manage your time effectively and be more productive, his fun at work tip offers a simple idea to help your team celebrate summer, a great quote of the week on the power of humor, and the wacky origin of casual Fridays. Michael Kerr yes 3:11
How Cultural Differences Can Show Up In Your Workplace http://mikekerr.com/how-cultural-differences-can-show-up-in-your-workplace/ http://mikekerr.com/how-cultural-differences-can-show-up-in-your-workplace/#respond Mon, 04 Sep 2017 17:56:15 +0000 http://mikekerr.com/?p=8439 Guest blog by Tina Varughese

On a recent trip to Mazatlan, Mickey, our gregarious activities coordinator, was leading a game of “Name that Movie Tune”. The game seemed to be geared for Mexicans and Canadians as Mickey expertly switched songs between famous Mexican movies and North American hits such as, “Scooby Doo”, “Ghostbusters”, “Casper” (try singing that theme song…I dare you…not easy), “Robin Hood” and “Mission Impossible” (which wasn’t that impossible to guess). What happened next was interesting. Our cultural differences and ultimately cultural values started shining through. Mickey started to shout, “Team Mexico” and the Mexicans at the pool would work collectively to guess the answers. If they got one correct they wouldn’t celebrate outrageously or even ‘high five’ among themselves. They’d simply get points for their correct answers and one wouldn’t even know who actually got the answer correct. We just knew it was “Team Mexico”.  When Mickey shouted out, “Team Canada” the Canadians did not work collaboratively. They worked individually forging teams between family members and friends. When a Canadian ‘team’ got a question correct they’d hoot, holler, take a drink, high five, and sometimes shout, “woop- there it is!!” (yeah- ok, maybe that was just my team but I digress) Cultural differences and cultural values, depending on where someone is from, will inadvertently expose itself at the workplace sometimes presenting challenges and, alas, sometimes presenting opportunities. However, if managers and leaders did not know of this cultural phenomenon they could simply label one colleague as ‘meek, weak, and quiet’ whereas another one could be labeled as ‘aggressive, overbearing, and goal-oriented’.

Knowledge is power. Understanding cultural differences is no longer a nicety, but a necessity in today’s global workplace.

Oh…and by the way….Team Tina Won. Just sayin. Though the prize that Mickey offered was to dance in front of the vacationers.

Tina Varughese is a speaker and trainer who specializes in cross cultural communication. Tina is one of three other fabulous speakers joining Michael Kerr on November 15, 2017 at the Customer Service Leadership Summit in Calgary, where Tina will present her raved about talk, “50 Shades of Beige – Successful Sales and Service to all Cultures.  

To book your table now, cruise on over to Customer Service Leadership Summit.

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The Nerds Rule in This Inspiring Workplace http://mikekerr.com/the-nerds-rule-in-this-inspiring-workplace/ http://mikekerr.com/the-nerds-rule-in-this-inspiring-workplace/#respond Wed, 30 Aug 2017 20:30:30 +0000 http://mikekerr.com/?p=8435 Mike talks about an inspiring workplace where the nerds definitely rule the roost, a fun at work tip to help you get your colleagues to read those darned memos, a great quote from Jerry Lewis, and a sneak peak at some of the September theme days headed your way.

 

Nerds Rules This Workplace

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http://mikekerr.com/the-nerds-rule-in-this-inspiring-workplace/feed/ 0 Mike talks about an inspiring workplace where the nerds definitely rule the roost, a fun at work tip to help you get your colleagues to read those darned memos, a great quote from Jerry Lewis, and a sneak peak at some of the September theme days headed... Mike talks about an inspiring workplace where the nerds definitely rule the roost, a fun at work tip to help you get your colleagues to read those darned memos, a great quote from Jerry Lewis, and a sneak peak at some of the September theme days headed your way. Michael Kerr yes 3:42
Employee Motivation Starts With the Why http://mikekerr.com/employee-motivation-starts-with-the-why/ http://mikekerr.com/employee-motivation-starts-with-the-why/#comments Thu, 24 Aug 2017 16:27:35 +0000 http://mikekerr.com/?p=8432 Guest post by Merge Gupta Sunderji.

People often think that you need big budgets to motivate employees.  Not true.  There are scads of zero-cost or inexpensive ways to motivate employees, and here’s one – tell people why!  This may sound really obvious, but it often gets missed.  I repeatedly see managers and supervisors issuing edicts to staff without telling them “why”, without explaining the logic behind the decision.  And this seemingly small lack of information leads to huge demotivation. 

Let’s face it, you didn’t buy “because I said so” when you were three years old, so why should you as an adult?  Employees appreciate understanding the reasons behind decisions, and perhaps more importantly, it’s hugely motivating … in two ways.  First, when you take the time to explain the reasoning behind a decision, it demonstrates that you respect your staff’s intelligence and abilities.  Second, a dialogue about “why” inevitably involves your employee and thus creates greater commitment to the action and subsequent results.

Now most managers don’t withhold this information deliberately; it’s just that it takes time to do so, and everybody is busy.  In the moment, it seems far easier to just tell people what to do, right?  Wrong.  Take the time to tell people why, and you’ll find that you’ll achieve your intended outcome quicker and more easily than if you just issue orders.

Copyright Merge Gupta Sunderji. Merge is one the four outstanding professional speakers who will be speaking this November 15, 2017 at the Customer Service Leadership Summit in Calgary, Alberta. To book tickets for you and your team head on over to Customer Service Leadership Summit 

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Celebrate Your Origins http://mikekerr.com/celebrate-your-origins/ http://mikekerr.com/celebrate-your-origins/#respond Wed, 23 Aug 2017 09:32:01 +0000 http://mikekerr.com/?p=8427 A great reminder of the need to celebrate your origins, a fun at work tip to involve your customers in the fun, a great quote of the week from Dick Gregory, and the world’s most boring conference?

 

Celebrate Your Origins

 

 

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http://mikekerr.com/celebrate-your-origins/feed/ 0 A great reminder of the need to celebrate your origins, a fun at work tip to involve your customers in the fun, a great quote of the week from Dick Gregory, and the world's most boring conference? A great reminder of the need to celebrate your origins, a fun at work tip to involve your customers in the fun, a great quote of the week from Dick Gregory, and the world's most boring conference? Michael Kerr yes 4:08
Humor in the Face of Adversity http://mikekerr.com/humor-in-the-face-of-adversity/ Wed, 16 Aug 2017 09:34:58 +0000 http://mikekerr.com/?p=8421 It’s another episode of random ideas and musings to inspire your workplace, a fun at work tip to help people remember names, a great quote by comedian Amy Poehler, and a very wacky help wanted ad.

 

Humor in the face of adversity

 

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It's another episode of random ideas and musings to inspire your workplace, a fun at work tip to help people remember names, a great quote by comedian Amy Poehler, and a very wacky help wanted ad. It's another episode of random ideas and musings to inspire your workplace, a fun at work tip to help people remember names, a great quote by comedian Amy Poehler, and a very wacky help wanted ad. Michael Kerr yes 3:10
Family Reunions at Work http://mikekerr.com/family-reunions-at-work/ Wed, 02 Aug 2017 08:42:55 +0000 http://mikekerr.com/?p=8405 Mike talks about how family reunions can help engage employees, a fun at work joke contest, a great summer quote, and some wacky, bizarre excuses for being late to work.

Family reunions at work

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Mike talks about how family reunions can help engage employees, a fun at work joke contest, a great summer quote, and some wacky, bizarre excuses for being late to work. Mike talks about how family reunions can help engage employees, a fun at work joke contest, a great summer quote, and some wacky, bizarre excuses for being late to work. Michael Kerr yes 2:47
13 Ways to Banish Workplace Boredom http://mikekerr.com/13-ways-to-banish-workplace-boredom/ Tue, 01 Aug 2017 22:19:41 +0000 http://mikekerr.com/?p=8410 I’m reading Pierre Burton’s The Arctic Grail, recounting the numerous historic attempts by 19th Century explorers to discover a northwest passage through Arctic waters north of Canada. During these explorations ships routinely had to overwinter in the sea ice in brutal conditions, and while the crews faced numerous threats, from scurvy to starvation to hypothermia, one threat they encountered may also be taking a bite of employee engagement in your company – boredom.

Commanders of many of these sailing vessels understood that when you’re trapped for seven or eight months in the Arctic, in cramped corners with a possibility of death or illness ever-present, boredom had to be avoided at all costs. A bored crew would easily become disillusioned and restless, and would more likely than not turn their collective boredom into frustration leading to mutiny, something that ship captains obviously try to avoid. Especially in the Arctic. So wise leaders planned carefully for the winter months by bringing along a huge assortment of books, planning daily routines, organizing contests, creating work projects, and even planning theatrical shows to entertain the crew members.

Now I would never suggest your workplace has anything remotely in common with the hardships these brave men went through, but according to a study by the University of South Florida, cited in the book On Fire at Work by Eric Chester, boredom in any-present day workplace can be incredibly destructive to a workplace culture. The 2012 study found a clear link between boredom and counterproductive behavior. The researchers found six ways that boredom at work could manifest itself in harmful ways:

  • an increase in sabotage
  • abuse of other employees
  • increased horseplay
  • theft
  • withdrawal
  • production deviance (purposely failing at tasks)

The most prevalent of these unsavory six was withdrawal, which led to disengaged workplace habits such as phoning in sick, showing up for work late, and taking more frequent and longer breaks.

And a 2017 survey in HR Reporter found that 29% of people quit their jobs because of boredom!

Don’t for a moment think that boredom is only something that might afflict your already poor-performing teammates or employees. Your high-performing star employees are just as likely to succumb to boredom and restlessness, only instead of acting out in negative ways they’ll just abandon ship altogether and look for career opportunities that are more creative and challenging.

Here are a few key ways to make sure boredom doesn’t cast an icy pall over your workplace:

  1. Continually look for opportunities to inject some novel fun into your workplace. And no, your job isn’t to entertain employees, but remember that an inspiring, fun culture doesn’t just stave of boredom, it’s also a proven way to spark creativity and drive productivity. Rituals, fun traditions, contests and social events that everyone can look forward to is just one way to keep employees engaged for the long haul.
  2. Be careful about boxing people in with stifling job descriptions that might lead to a “it’s not in my job description” mindset and limits your options when it comes to expanding an employee’s role or job crafting a more interesting approach to work.
  3. Remember that diversity isn’t just the spice of life – it’s a potent way to combat boredom at work.  Meeting in different locations, mixing up how you reward and recognize employees, and creating opportunities for employees to try their hand at different roles can help create a more engaging, challenging workplace.
  4. Look for telltale signs of boredom setting in and talk to employees before it reaches a critical point.
  5. Offer training opportunities that will allow employees to learn new things and take on greater responsibilities.
  6. Offer opportunities for employees to take on mentoring, training or other leadership roles.
  7. Have open and frequent discussions about work goals and scheduling to make sure their work is challenging enough without being overwhelming.
  8. Cut right to the chase: Ask employees if they are bored with their work and ask them for their ideas on what might rekindle their enthusiasm.
  9. Look for opportunities for employees to serve on task forces or committees.
  10. Consider how job swap days or job shadowing days might help engage employees in meaningful ways.
  11. Connect employees to a greater sense of purpose. It’s more difficult to feel bored when you are reminded of the purpose of your work and the impact your job has on others. Hospital cleaners who understand how their jobs impact the health and wellness of patients and how their social interactions with patients can make a difference report being far happier and less bored in their work. When a buffet-style restaurant installed two-way video monitors so the chefs could see their customers’ reactions to the food they were preparing, engagement scores went up, feelings of tediousness declined. Purpose drives engagement, and a lack of purpose in one’s work can quickly lead to a slow death march toward apathy and boredom.
  12. Find the right balance between total autonomy on the one extreme and micro-managing on the other end. Employees who don’t demonstrate a lot of initiative and who require a lot of direction and guidance will quickly slip into boredom when left unattended, whereas a  person who feels their every move is constrained and who feels they have no latitude for creativity because of a rigid micro manager will feel trapped and eventually bored in their job.
  13. Ask for regular feedback and ideas from everyone. Remind everyone that in addition to doing their jobs that you also pay them to think and contribute to the future success of your company. It’s harder to get bored with your work when you feel as though you have a meaningful say in how things are done, when your opinion is truly valued, and when you adopt a continuous improvement mindset.

What am I missing? What works for you? What has your workplace done to make sure boredom doesn’t seep into your workplace culture?

Michael Kerr, 2017.  Michael Kerr is an international Hall of Fame business speaker, business trainer, very funny motivational speaker, and the author of six books, including Inspiring Workplaces and The Humor Advantage:Why Some Businesses Are Laughing All the Way to the Bank.  www.mikekerr.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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