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Moderated by :   Eva Rosenberg  mailto:laugh@taxmama.com

Assisted By  :   Gunjan Saraf   mailto:laugh@taxmama.com


  02 May 2001    #   005
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Moderator  Comment
Humor Worked for me

Serious Stuff on Coaching
(Scott Simmerman offers to share some training cartoons)
~ Scott Simmerman

So You Want to Stiff  ME!?
~ Ian Purdie

Requests for Help!

              ~ Gunjan

Useful Humor Tips

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Moderator's Message

Dear LaughMates,

I came across an interesting site a couple of days back. Anticustomer.com or something of the sort. It's run by two young ladies who work in Walmart and ******. The moment I saw it, I couldn't concentrate on the site, as my imagination went racing. What a freaky idea. Imagine if I would have done
something of the sort during my field selling days. Instead of feeling bad about any rude or nasty customers, the thought in my mind would have been "Come on, be nasty to me and make my day. Bums like you give me content!" It would have been so much simpler to be patient with nasty fellows and even smile at them.

Unfortunately the site itself does not relate actual incidents, but tries to list general peeves and problems which according to me was not even half as interesting.

But what an idea. To have a web site where you can let off the frustrations of your offline work and laugh it away. How's that from a great stress relieving solution? And who knows you might even make some money in the process. Anyone heard of a psychiatrist or counselor who pays you?

Oh yes, and please, do remember to pass this issue along and invite your friends to subscribe. The more people involved, the more we'll laugh and the more we'll learn.


How to cure 'dis' stress-> Laugh them off at http://jestforpun.com
Not a site seer ? -> pun-subscribe@topica.com
                               Weakly trash in your mail

=====   Humor Worked for me ! =====

====> Serious Stuff on Coaching

I've been doing some coaching training with a client for the past 9 weeks, each session being a half-day for 3 consecutive weeks.  Instead of doing it tops down, we had to work bottoms-up, working with the supervisory people first with no real buy in from the top.  Generally, a most difficult situation.

So, what I've been doing is working the underground.  I started with my Square Wheels One illustration, which depicts a wagon rolling on Square Wheels with a cargo of round ones. The people pushing at the back cannot see what is happening ahead (or what is in the wagon above) and the guy at the front is pulling with a rope, which functions as a shock absorber to a degree.

Amazing what we were able to do with the cartoon.  We got people talking about possibilities and opportunities.  We gave them a tool to generate a new perspective on what was happening without attacking anyone (systems, not people).

   "Don't Just DO Something, Stand There!"

And they left after the first session prepared to show the cartoon to their people and generate some thoughts on it.  They also started this language of Square Wheels among the non-management people.

    "The Round Wheels are already in the wagon!"

So, we were able to anchor in some one-liners, change the language of performance without directly attacking any of the people in leadership positions, and do it in a pretty light way.

Second session involved me listening to what happened and then sharing some other simple tools, including a Roadblocks management exercise in which they were taught a model they could use to better identify the things that get in the way of getting things done.  The biggest roadblocks were to be
delegated upward, lesser ones handled by teams, etc.

Again, we change the language in an easy way and dis-un-empower these front-line managers to deal with performance issues.  What begins to happen as we finish the series of sessions with each group is that we are building
critical mass and a shared perspective and language.  Doing it lightly without making the bosses feel pressured (much!).

So we complete the sessions.  Things go well.  NOW, these middle managers, who do not know what is ACTUALLY happening are interested in finding out.  So, we're scheduling some "awareness" sessions to overview the Big Picture (can I hear a "Thump, Thump?") and to generate a bit less resistance.

Some of my messages to them will include:

   "Caterpillars can fly if they just lighten up."
   "Nobody Ever Washes a Rental Car."  (the need for ownership)
    "BOSS spelled backwards is self-explanatory."  (I have a hat with
SSOB on the front)

The overall goal is to minimize confrontation and improve discussions, since the employees are successful doing what they have been doing but the managers (and others) might see things differently and that there are opportunities within the wagon for improvement.

Next steps include some posters, a realignment of the Missions and Values to the actual Missions and Values (it is a family-owned business so that what is supposed to happen sometimes does, sometimes doesn't), and our proposal for a Missions / Values survey to generate some feedback about alignment.

Using the cartoons and teaching the simple models for cascading the themes through the organization is working well.

Anyone out there doing anything similar?  Any good stories or punchlines / quotes that we could add?

BTW, if you want access to the illustration, email me and I will share
Square Wheels One and a 12-page facilitation guide for free,


For the FUN of It!

Scott Simmerman
Performance Management Company - 800-659-1466

       - Tools for Training and Development <http://www.squarewheels.com/>
       - Scott as Speaker <http://www.simmerman.com/>

[The WZ-ard of Humorous Quotes (Gunjan) pips in ....
There's a nice quote attributed to G.K Chesterton
similar to the first message you want to get across.

"Angels fly because they take themselves lightly."

 Also, I've heard Srivatsa Kadaba, a change management consultant on our list use some great stories to get his points across. Srivatsa, are you listening? :-)]

====> So Want to Stiff me!?


Being a man of many "hats" and many moons ago also a tax accountant, I can relate to that story in a way.

About 30 years ago (groan) a prospective client came to me complaining the Tax Office (IRS) was "investigating" him. Normally I was leery about taking on new clients in these circumstances because it is so often a can of worms.

I took him on, looked at his "returns" for the previous five years and given the fact he and his family operated a substantial factory it of course didn't gel. I contacted the senior investigator and advised "on my advice - my new
client is submitting 'amended returns' and please give me a few weeks to finalize this".

The reason here is to ensure there is no prosecution for fraud. Simply a case of "oh I messed up, now I'm 'fessing up" <G>

Over the next few weeks, getting information from the client was like extracting teeth and each day the senior investigator would ring and say things like "did he tell you about the apartment he pays rent on for his mistress?" or "did he tell you about such and such a house he bought for cash?" or "did he tell you about the sports car he purchased for cash to give his mistress".

In time, relations between the investigator and myself became very cordial. On the other hand relations between myself, my staff and the client deteriorated to "frosty".

In due course I had him sign amended returns and submitted them. I gave him my substantial account and gave him my assessment of what his final bill from the tax office would be including substantial penalties. Telephone numbers!

The investigator contacted me and suggested "lunch" to discuss penalties. To preserve integrity all round lunch was dutch.

Over lunch we discussed a wide range of issues, not necessarily relating to the case, as we got along real well. Finally the investigator said "what did you charge him?".

I told him and he replied "a bit on the cheap side, has he paid yet? "No" I replied "and I expect difficulties, I don't like this type of client". Nothing further was said.

About two hours back at the office my secretary looked into my office and said "Mr. X just paid his account in full".

That was welcome news and just on cue the investigator rang. "been paid your account yet?". I said "what a coincidence, it was just paid".

"No coincidence" said the investigator, "when I got back to the office I rang and suggested unless your account was paid in full within the hour, I would look again at his amended returns, take into account further matters he didn't know I knew about AND totally revise upwards the very reasonable penalties we had negotiated."

Ian Purdie
URL - http://www.electronics-tutorials.com/

===========  Requests for HELP!  ==========

Dear Friends.

I am shortly going to be helping in conducting a workshop on public speaking. For the introductory session I would like to use some  bloopers or embarrassing real life situations faced due to having to speak in public
for people who are not used to it. Or even for people who are now accomplished speakers who have had their moments.

In fact this category would make even better examples. Please send me your stories mentioning whether I should use your names or not.

Thank You,


===========  Helpful Humor Tips  ==========

You must follow orders unless you happen to lead your organization, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't put your own two penny's worth of thought. Here's an excellent example to illustrate this point.

Two rabbinical students were caught by the Rabbi gambling and drinking in the company of undesirable characters before sunset on the evening of the Sabbath. The Rabbi called them into his study the next day.

Both confessed to having given in to weakness, and admitted that they deserved punishment. The Rabbi thought and then went into his kitchen and brought back two bags of dried peas.

"Put these in your shoes," he told them, "and walk on them for a week, to remind yourself how hard life can be when you turn away from the Law."

A few days later the two students met. One was limping terribly, had dark circles under his eyes, and looked very tired. The other seemed much as he had been the week before.

"Hey," said the first. "How is it that you are walking so freely? Didn't you do as the Rabbi told us and put the peas in your shoes?"

"Of course I did," said the other. "How could I disobey the Rabbi?" He started to walk away, paused, and then said, "But I boiled them first."

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