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The Square Wheels Newsletter - Issue 3
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The main theme of Newsletter 3 is on Teamwork and Coaching.
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THE SQUARE WHEELS OF COACHING AND TEAMWORK
Freebie - The "Us / They" illustration
FREE Square Wheels Suggestion System
One Last "Moron Empowerment" - A Teamnet Post
What is the difference between The Boss and The Coach
Point Made * - Teaching The Cat to Bark like a Dog
Some Corporate Jokes:
-- New Work Place Lingo
-- Corporate Astrology
-- Useful Metric Conversions
Idiot Sightings 1 through 8
Copyright Explained - All you ever needed to know about copyright!
Feature Article -
THE SQUARE WHEELS OF COACHING AND TEAMWORK
Most people are aware of my simplistic approach to personal and organizational development. For me, it is not about fancy and expensive models that few can understand and even fewer can implement. It is all about a simple and straightforward approach, in this case about communications based on behavior, expectations and leadership.
What you are about to read is not about rocket science and I hope that there will not be any stunning revelations. Like with most of my stuff, what I hope will occur is a "Columbo" where you gently smack the top of your forehead with the open palm of your right hand as you "get it." This is simple stuff that is also simple to teach and do.
Thus, one should expect my thinking on teamwork and coaching to be similar. And these ideas are. Teamwork can get pretty complicated since one is dealing with very different and complex individuals in a work situation. There are different histories among the team members and differing goals and agendas.
If you already have a model that works for you and your organization, great. Yet I am hoping that you may find this approach intriguing enough to add parts of it to your successful approach. It is about continuous continuous improvement, anyway, isn't it?
From a complexity viewpoint, one can, if one chooses, explain my approach with heavy-duty psychological themes like "cognitive dissonance" and "fundamental attribution theory." Thiagi called this, "metacognitive schemata," which supposes one superimposes congruence therein to exemplify the conceptualistic innuendo and cognitive forbearance of one's personal cognitions and epistomological approach. You can do that if it suits you (!).
You can also apply "forming, storming, norming and performing" frameworks and apply or link your own team communications framework -- you can link to a lot of other tools and expand on what will follow. Apply your own personal preference model to what I am about to share -- that is more than okay and most certainly in alignment with my beliefs.
So, here is a short course, with some explanations, on how to accomplish the building of teamwork and coaching using my materials. In the next 30 days, I hope to complete my ongoing efforts to take these concepts (expanded, of course) and complete our newest Square Wheels toolkit. It will have additional illustrations and worksheets and all that support stuff.
I also am writing, "Coaching the Caterpillar to Fly,"
an article which will play on some of my common workshop
themes of change and leadership but focus on coaching.
A workshop of this title will be presented on March 16 at the
Excellence In Mississippi Conference in Biluxi.
Additional information will be available.
To get things rolling or to build on the teamwork you already have going, my suggestion is to conduct a simple and straightforward meeting using Square Wheels One, (as shown below) the main illustration and available FREE for the asking along with a detailed, 12-page Facilitation Guide.
Typically, I would suggest showing the illustration, introduced as "a model of how most organizations really work" and allow the people (in groups of 6) to discuss the key points. Be sure to allow them 5 minutes or so to generate a lot of ideas and then allow all the groups to share their ideas with everyone (cross-group).
In this way, each team of people gets to joke around and play with the main concept of how organizations really work and to play with the themes in the illustration. The goal of this effort is to establish the language of Square Wheels and the theme that the ideas for improvement (Round Wheels) already exist in the wagon.
What you are also doing is allowing team members to project some of their feelings and beliefs about their organization into their thinking and discussion. This builds a common knowledge base and a shared level of experience. They can joke around a bit and it also helps generate some creative problem solving momentum.
One option is to shift over to a discussion and definition of the Square Wheels as well as a discussion of potential round ones. (I'll keep this short, because this has been discussed in depth elsewhere.)
One key to building effective teams is shared information, a sense of shared purpose, and some common goals. By using the Square Wheels One illustration in this way, we accomplish that.
Another of my beliefs is that teams need to have ownership. My oft-stated position that,
"Nobody ever washes a rental car."
merely restates the REALITY that people need a sense of individual and group ownership in order to care for something. In the workplace, people need this sense of ownership of problems and opportunities / solutions in order to be expected to implement and resolve problems.
If it is your problem or the problem of another work team, the incentive and motivation to fix it are often less than the minimum needed for generating results. One gets the "lip service" and the apparent agreement for action but not the committed engagement one needs for implementation and followup.
By allowing the group to creatively play with the concept, it is much easier to get them to implement a solution, as a group, and to share the risks of doing things differently -- lessening the perceived risk of failure greatly. This also helps generate the peer support and group recognition of success to operate. These are much more powerful intrinsic motivators than the typically mis-applied "extrinsic rewards." (Isn't that in reality, an operational oxymoron?)
So, the teamwork part of this discussion evolves from these groups of people sharing a few laughs, a common perception about the problems, and some incentive and support to close the gaps and apply the round wheel ideas that are most generally already within the group.
Since this is a newsletter and some of you are highly qualified team leaders, this will end the formal presentation of these themes. Let me know if I should expand on this later (mailto:Scott@squarewheels.com)
You might find our "Us / Them" Illustration to be a simple tool to generate discussion.
The Transition to Coaching Improved Performance
I can get really long-winded about the most common problems in coaching. But I won't. In my thinking, the typical and most critical issues are simple:
We TELL other people what to do or to do differently
We do it in a way that THEY perceive is an attack
We do not respect their ideas (at least in how we approach the issue)
Performance improvement is uncomfortable - much like any other change
We do not get their active involvement in the change effort,
and we thusly do not ever gain their ownership of the problem nor their real commitment to make an improvement.
As that old saying goes, "Other than that, everything is fine!"
For the purposes of this article, we will assume that the person is ABLE to do better but that they do not see their current level of performance as an issue or a problem. They are unaware of any negative impacts and have probably been doing things this way for years. If the person is actually unable to do the task, then no amount of coaching will make a difference.
There is an old (and not totally flattering) saying that addresses the inability of people to do the job:
"Never try to teach a pig to sing.
It wastes your time and just annoys the pig."
Coach only those people who are able to improve their performance. Allow or adjust differently for people who are not capable of performing.
Most performance problems are almost like bad habits. They simply exist and occur without much actual thought. In some cases, the performer freezes because of fear or they are incompetent but those, in my experience, are much less common.
At the same time, "The Round Wheels are already in the wagon." Most people have the resources they need to be more successful. They are just not making good choices. Their intentions are positive and they are working hard, they are just not getting the results nor are they motivated to do things differently.
In reading Darcy Hitchcock's website, I came across the phrase, "bucket puller." In my Square Wheels thinking, these are the people at the back of the wagon who are trying to move things forward but with buckets tied to their waists and dragging behind. They do this because they have always done this...
The key is perspective. And engagement.
So, to make a very long and highly emotional discussion and process most simple, consider doing something like this:
AFTER the individual is comfortable with the Square Wheels metaphor and the general themes, have them join you in a comfortable situation where the two of you can discuss performance improvement. Share the cartoon again (have it in front of you like a worksheet) and bring up the key points in a conversational way.
Now, share your concern about some current performance and try to focus on specific behaviors and results as best you can. Keep the discussion specific and avoid saying things the other person might view as personal attacks. You might say something like:
"Gail, that Square Wheels metaphor is a good one -- we all can benefit by "stepping back from the wagon" and identifying the Square and Round wheels. If this is a good time to talk, let's take a couple of minutes to discuss some ideas about improving your performance.
In the past 30 days, your quality has been good but there have been issues of what might be considered low productivity. If you look at these measures and results, you can see that they are near the bottom of the group's statistics.
I believe that you have some Round Wheels already in your wagon about what might be done to improve results.
Can we put our heads together and come up with some ideas?"
Delivering feedback effectively is the key, as is generating a willingness to engage is some discussion. Your comments should be based on the results and your observations. Describe your perceptions in a straightforward fashion. The details should be clear and understandable and you should avoid what might be perceived as a personal attack. Thus, focus on behavior.
Your goal is to create a mutual understanding of the situation while focusing your attention on improving future behavior.
If the person is generally detail oriented, you might choose to specify what you see as the Square Wheels and give some details about the performance. If the person is concerned about the group and what people think of them, you might frame your discussion into how the performance might be impacting the overall progress of the team.
Pick some style that will communicate nicely with that individual and keep the discussion focused on the behaviors and Square Wheels and not allow it to focus on the attitudes or your perceptions of their beliefs. All you need to do is get the other person to understand your concern and share in the problem solving activity.
By using the illustration, you can more effectively get them to DISSOCIATE themselves, somewhat, from the situation. They can see themselves as one of the wagon pushers and you in the process of communicating the view from the front with those at the back. It is subtle but it is effective. And it reduces emotionality.
Once you have stated the problem, you can expect them to justify their behavior with some reasons (or excuses). That is okay, normal and expected -- it represents a good opportunity for you to listen to their thinking and a way for them to get involved in the discussion. It has been my experience that they too know that these are merely excuses -- they may sound a bit silly to them, too. Be careful in addressing the excuses, since there is a tendency to attack these and put them on the defensive.
Your goal is to simply move toward getting their ideas about what they might do differently and not to pound them into the ground and prove you are right! You win the battle and lose the war!
Remember that your communications will transition from a focus on the Square Wheels into a discussion of some possible Round Wheels that they might employ. Lastly, you will move into a future-oriented mode about what they will try to do differently and later into ongoing discussion of changes. It is about continuous continuous improvement!
This shift will begin when you start to ask them what Round Wheels they might be able to use to improve the situation. If they are involved with you with the Square Wheels as something in their behavior that they need to improve, you are offering them a useful "vehicle" to start a discussion of possibilities. Wait until you have some indication that they see their current performance as something that they need to improve.
Let the wagon roll and do not be impatient. By the end of your discussion, you should get at least one idea that they could begin to use that would impact the progress forward.
Once the two of you have that one idea for them to try, give them the power and authority to do it. Make sure that they will not be roadblocked and that they have the responsibility to get this started.
It is important to ask them if they will try to use it (get a specific commitment) and set up a time in a few days (assuming it is something they can try quickly) when you and they can get together to talk about it. This immediate followup and feedback then allows you to recognize and reward the desired behavior and get a longer term commitment for its continued use.
Even if you came into this meeting with a specific thing that YOU wanted THEM to do differently, it may be more fruitful if you let them try THEIR idea rather than yours.
They own their ideas - just as you own yours. The likelihood that they will change should be higher with their idea! And maybe they can try your idea later... It is an ongoing process of improvement.
While this may sound like a simplistic approach to resolving difficult performance issues, you are:
getting them to admit that their current performance is not satisfactory
getting them to suggest ideas about what they could choose to do differently
getting them in a situation that they are changing because they have ownership of the problem and ownership of the improvement
putting yourself in a position to praise improvement
and lots of other principles also apply. You are generating perspective and commitment to action with a much lower emotionality quotient.
And, to do this effectively, you do NOT need a whole lot of other tools and specialized training.
Use what you accomplished with your team to set the stage for performance improvement with individuals. The team support can exert lots of positive personal peer pressure on the lower performing individuals. (It can also work in reverse, which is why you want to engage and enlist the teams first!).
Here is a post sent to the Teamnet listserve that I called:
One Last "Moron Empowerment" Post
Some concepts are really simple; Reminds me of a joke:
You have all seen a flock of birds like ducks or geese or pelicans in the sky -- and you find that they always fly in a "V". Did you ever notice that one side is always longer than the other? Know why?
There are more birds on that side.
This is NOT rocket science, and empowerment is not a difficult concept in and of itself. Kinda nice actually in that if I do something, it will have wonderful benefits on everyone including the people and the customers. Wowie! BUT empowerment is a bit difficult to IMPLEMENT.
When it comes to teams and performance, there has been a lot written about the theme of empowerment. Over the years, my views have changed from believing that one could empower another to not believing that I have ever had that power (and responsibility).
One of the reasons that empowerment is thought not to work well is simple:
BOSS spelled backwards is self-explanatory. *
(* Note: for those international readers who would not necessarily understand this American euphemism, this is a bit of a joke. BOSS spelled backwards is SSOB or "double SOB. SOB is a common reference to a "son of a (female dog)." It is used as an insult in many cultures. This last word starts with a "b" and rhymes with "witch." The reference is that the boss commonly is thought to behave as a double SOB, not a highly flattering reference...)
A Gallup survey released in mid-August (1999) found "nearly 25% of employees feel angry at work" and "the most common cause of workplace anger -- cited by 11% of those questioned -- was "the action of supervisors or managers."
When an employee is "being empowered" and thus asked to take risks, they leave themselves wide open for negative feedback by The Boss. My mother always called this Constructive Criticism, meaning that she was allowed to share as much of this as she wished in order to make me better.
Generally, "Constructive Criticism" is defined by psychologists as meeting the clinical definition of punishment. CC is also a prerequisite for most performance appraisal systems, BTW, which tend to be an annual event to justify not giving the person a raise but structured as a tool for performance improvement.
Public punishment generally occurs once. Then, the employees go underground with their behavior and doing things for the customer, doing it but declining to accept any responsibility for it. Or, they construct the situation to actually attribute the behavior to another (and sometimes innocent) party. If punishment continues, then the behavior will stop or the employee will leave (or in the case of anger, "potentially lead to the kinds of explosions of rage we have seen," according to Donald Gibson of Yale and a co-author of the Gallup study cited above).
One of the best perceived customer service improvement ploys goes something like this:
"Oh, that comes under the standard 9-day response period and we will not be out to your premises for at least that many business days BUT what I can do is move this up on the list so that you will only have to wait 3 days for them to be out there."
"Oh, sure, you can mention my name in your testimonial to the company President, his name is Billy Baker and he can be reached at..." (Note: This behavior is best done when there is a 2-day backlog of work and the likelihood of meeting a 3-day commitment is most excellent).
The best definition of empowerment I have ever heard was:
"An invitation for responsible initiative"
(by Steve Ewing, company president)
This was backed up by his corporate commitment to improve service quality, clarify the mission and vision and all that. He got some good results over a period of a couple of years of effort focused on customer service and perceptions.
More generally, we see these kinds of definitions in the literature:
Empowerment implies individualistic forbearance pyramided upon a congruent pragmatic organizational ideology. Success requires vertical integrity without innuendo and rhetoric and desired behaviors must be imbricated in and adhered to a completely luminous operational alignment. Flexible compartmentalization is expected. Individuals must exhibit an emotional intelligence and fabricate responses congruent with the ideology and recapitulate with the culture ecologically. Results will be measured and evaluated.
There is often little actual corporate commitment to this kind of initiative. But, consulting firms will be most pleased to help you construct your customized model to align with your desired results. Certification is optional. And the "investment" can be significant.
Cosmetic Empowerment is more common. It is structurally exhibited by managers as: "Yes, but..."
A Potential Solution:
If you would like to empower the people in your organization, my suggestion is that you hire a very well known consulting organization ONLY after your top management team suggests (and budgets) it and arrange to pay them an exceptionally large amount of money. (The latter is most important --this CANNOT be done cheaply or the effect will be lost.)
When failure results, the lack of results will be ignored by the senior managers and soon forgotten by them because of the natural tendency toward repression of negative emotional experiences.
DO NOT try to manage and implement this yourself, since you are establishing yourself as an obvious target for the "constructive criticism" that will be apparent in your next salary review or performance appraisal (which is designed to improve your performance).
Or, you could wind up starting your own consulting firm... Moron that later,
I'm still playing with this one but...
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE BOSS AND A COACH
The Boss gives Constructive Criticism
The Coach allows positive self-reflection
The Boss is in your face
The Coach gets you to think and consider
The Boss steps on your toes
The Coach stands in your shoes
The Boss pulls out your hair
The Coach pulls out his own hair
The Boss pushes hard to get you to perform
The Coach leads and pulls you along
The Boss uses extrinsic rewards
The Coach focuses on intrinsic rewards and regular praise and recognition
The Boss is a spectator for your efforts
The Coach is a cheerleader and coach of performance improvement
The Boss shaves with a dull razor on your face (or legs)
The Coach shaves with a new razor on his own face (or legs) and allows the use of shaving cream!
The Boss bangs your head against the wall
The Coach pads the walls and at least gives you a helmet!
The Boss screams at you publicly
The Coach smiles and says, "Well done" even when she knows you can improve
The Boss considers your life his life and acts accordingly
The Coach has their own social life
The Boss is open to his ideas
The Coach will encourage your ideas
Point Made * - Teaching The Cat to Bark like a Dog.
Now it is not easy to teach a cat to bark like a dog. But it can be done, like I did with Scooter, the family cat.
What you need is a good plan of action. A brief search on the Internet will give you a good idea of the physiology differences - the cat will need to loosen up its vocal chords to accomplish that and will also need to learn to exhale much more abruptly. It is relatively easy to accomplish this -- I can also supply the specific colored Powerpoint slides that I constructed and used to explain this and set up the performance feedback and reward system. I also used an audiotape of Adrienne, our standard poodle as a model, which is also available.
I designed a very elegant teaching plan and assume that he's learned. Now all I have to do is get the stupid cat to do it!
* Point Made is an idea for simple but powerful short themes. Contributions most welcome.
All the above materials © Performance Management Company, 1999
Square Wheels ® is a registered servicemark of Performance Management Company
SOME CORPORATE JOKES:
New Work Place Lingo
"JOIN OUR FAST-PACED COMPANY": We have no time to train you.
"CASUAL WORK ATMOSPHERE": We don't pay enough to expect that you'll dress up; well, a couple of the real daring guys wear earrings.
"MUST BE DEADLINE ORIENTED": You'll be six months behind schedule on your first day.
"SOME OVERTIME REQUIRED": Some time each night and some time each weekend.
"DUTIES WILL VARY": Anyone in the office can boss you around.
"MUST HAVE AN EYE FOR DETAIL": We have no quality control.
"CAREER-MINDED": Female Applicants must be childless (and remain that way).
"NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE": We've filled the job; our call for resumes is just a legal formality.
"SEEKING CANDIDATES WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE": You'll need it to replace three people who just left.
"PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS A MUST": You're walking into a company in perpetual chaos.
"REQUIRES TEAM LEADERSHIP SKILLS": You'll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or respect.
"GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS": Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want and do it.
**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Deanna Sinclair, Detroit Lakes, MN**
CORPORATE ASTROLOGY (note: this is just humor!)
Astrology tells us about you and your future simply by your birthday. The Chinese Zodiac uses the year of your birth. Demographics tell us what you like, dislike, whom you vote for, what you buy and what you watch on television. Well, the Corporate Zodiac goes a step further: simply by your job title, people will have you all figured out...
MARKETING: You are ambitious yet stupid. You chose a marketing degree to avoid having to study in college, concentrating instead on drinking and socializing - which is pretty much what your job responsibilities are now. Least compatible with Sales.
SALES: Laziest of all signs, often referred to as 'marketing without a degree', you are also self-centered and paranoid. Unless someone calls you and begs you to take their money, you like to avoid contact with 'customers' so you can 'concentrate on the big picture'. You seek admiration for your golf game throughout your life.
TECHNOLOGY: Unable to control anything in your personal life, you are instead content to completely control everything that happens at your workplace. Often even YOU don't understand what you are saying, but who the heck can tell?! It is written that the Geeks shall inherit the Earth.
ENGINEERING: One of only two signs that actually studied in school, it is said that ninety percent of all Personal Ads are placed by engineers. You can be happy with yourself: your office is typically full of all the latest 'ergodynamic' gadgets. However, we all know what is really causing your 'carpal tunnel'...
ACCOUNTING: The only other sign that studied in school, you are mostly immune from office politics. You are the most feared person in the organization; combined with your extreme organizational traits, the majority of rumors concerning you say that you are completely insane.
HUMAN RESOURCES: Ironically, given your access to confidential information, you tend to be the biggest gossip within the organization. Possibly the only other person that does less work than marketing, you are unable to return any calls today because you have to get a haircut, have lunch, AND mail a letter!
MIDDLE MANAGEMENT / DEPARTMENT MANAGEMENT / 'TEAM LEADS': Catty, cut-throat, yet completely spineless, you are destined to remain at your current job for the rest of your life. Unable to make a single decision you tend to measure your worth by the number of meetings you can schedule for yourself. Best suited to marry other 'Middle Managers', as everyone in your social circle is a 'Middle Manager'.
SENIOR MANAGEMENT: Catty, cut-throat, yet completely spineless, you are destined to remain at your current job for the rest of your life. Unable to make a single decision you tend to measure your worth by the number of meetings you can schedule for yourself. Best suited to marry other 'Senior Managers', as everyone in your social circle is a 'Senior Manager'.
CUSTOMER SERVICE: Bright, cheery, positive, you are a fifty-cent cab ride from taking your own life. As a child very few of you asked your parents for a little cubicle for your room and a headset so you could pretend to play 'Customer Service'. Continually passed over for promotions, your best bet is to sleep with your manager.
PROJECT MANAGER : Eternal optimist, used to dealing with change and incomplete information on a daily basis. Afraid of your team i.e. having to ask them to work harder and harder, caught between the whims of the senior managers and the lack of attention applied to the project work by middle managers. Always get hammered for not delivering what the business needs and yet get the next project they want executed. Should not marry anything other than a liquor bottle.
**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Jon Griffin, Los Angeles, CA**
Useful Metric Conversions
**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Bret Whissel, Tallahassee, FL**
Useful information the mathematically challenged
1 million microphones = 1 megaphone
2000 mockingbirds = two kilomockingbirds
10 cards = 1 decacards
1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin
10 rations = 1 decoration
100 rations = 1 C-ration
10 millipedes = 1 centipede
3 1/3 tridents = 1 decadent
2 monograms = 1 diagram
8 nickels = 2 paradigms
2 wharves = 1 paradox
Point of View....obviously from the point of view of a disgruntled woman!
**Contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Eric Hernandez, Pleasanton, CA**
THE FAMILY PICTURE IS ON HIS DESK:
He must be a solid, responsible family man.
THE FAMILY PICTURE IS ON HER DESK:
She probably puts her family before her career.
HIS DESK IS CLUTTERED:
He's obviously a hard worker and a busy man.
HER DESK IS CLUTTERED:
She's obviously a disorganized scatterbrain.
HE IS TALKING WITH HIS CO-WORKERS:
He must be discussing the latest deal.
SHE IS TALKING WITH HER CO-WORKERS:
She must be gossiping.
HE'S NOT IN THE OFFICE:
He's meeting a customer.
SHE'S NOT IN THE OFFICE:
She must be out shopping.
HE'S HAVING LUNCH WITH THE BOSS:
He's on his way up.
SHE'S HAVING LUNCH WITH THE BOSS:
They must be having an affair.
THE BOSS CRITICIZED HIM:
He'll improve his performance.
THE BOSS CRITICIZED HER:
She'll be very upset.
HE GOT AN UNFAIR DEAL:
Did he get angry?
SHE GOT AN UNFAIR DEAL:
Did she cry?
HE'S GETTING MARRIED:
He'll get more settled.
SHE'S GETTING MARRIED:
She'll get pregnant and leave.
HE'S HAVING A BABY:
He'll need a raise.
SHE'S HAVING A BABY:
She'll cost the company money in maternity benefits.
HE'S GOING ON A BUSINESS TRIP:
It's good for his career.
SHE'S GOING ON A BUSINESS TRIP:
What does her husband say? Who else is going?
HE'S LEAVING FOR A BETTER JOB:
He knows how to recognize a good opportunity.
SHE'S LEAVING FOR A BETTER JOB:
Women are not dependable.
(Whoa, don't flame the author or the publisher!) < :-0
In Hastings, England in August, a 17-year old girl died after complications from a operation to remove a 1 foot long, 10 inch wide and 4 inch thick hairball that was the result of her habit of chewing her hair. Rachel Haigh was admitted to the Conquest Hospital complaining of stomach pains, according to Dr. Nora Patel. Coroner Alan Craze (really!) ruled her death accidental.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reported the following correction:
"Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwillllantysiliogogogoch station in Wales was misspelled in an Associated Press caption with a photograph that appeared yesterday. The Union-Tribune regrets the error."
I was at the airport, checking in at the gate, when the airport employee asked, "Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?"
I said, "If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?"
He smiled and nodded knowingly, "That's why we ask."
The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it is safe to cross the street.
I was crossing with an intellectually challenged co-worker of mine, when she asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals to blind people when the light is red.
She responded, appalled, "What on earth are blind people doing driving?"
At a goodbye lunch for an old and dear co-worker who is leaving the company due to "rightsizing," our manager spoke up and said, "This is fun. We should have lunch like this more often."
Not another word was spoken. We just looked at each other like deer staring into the headlights of an approaching truck.
I worked with an Individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the life of her could not understand why her system would not turn on.
Sighting #5 (a rare "double sighting"):
A friend had a brilliant idea for saving disk space. He thought if he put all his Microsoft Word documents into a tiny font they'd take up less room. When he told me I was with another friend. She thought it was a good idea too.
Sighting #6 (from Tech Support):
Tech Support: "How much free space do you have on your hard drive?"
Individual: "Well, my wife likes to get up there on that Internet, and she downloaded ten hours of free space. Is that enough?"
Sighting #7 (from Tech Support):
Individual: Now what do I do? Tech Support: What is the prompt on the screen?
Individual: It's asking for "Enter Your Last Name."
Tech Support: Okay, so type in your last name.
Individual: How do you spell that?
Sighting #8: Auto Mechanic
When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told that the keys had been accidentally locked in it.
We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver's side door. As I watched from the passenger's side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered it was open.
"Hey," I announced to the technician, "It's open!"
"I know," answered the young man. "I already got that side."
from Jorge del Castillo - email@example.com
© The Department of Redundancy Department Copyright Department Copyright, 1999
When you write copy you have the right to copyright the copy you write. You can write good and copyright but copyright doesn't mean copy good - it might not be right good copy, right?
Now, writers of religious services write rite, and thus have the right to copyright the rite they write.
Conservatives write right copy, and have the right to copyright the right copy they write. A right wing cleric might write right rite, and have the right to copyright the right rite he has the right to write. His editor has the job of making the right rite copy right before the copyright would be right. Then it might be copy good copyright.
Should Thom Wright decide to write, then Wright might write right rite, which Wright has a right to copyright. Copying that rite would copy Wright's right rite, and thus violate copyright, so Wright would have the legal right to right the wrong. Right?
Legals write writs which is a right or not write writs right but all writs, copied or not, are writs that are copyright. Judges make writers write writs right.
Advertisers write copy which is copyright the copy writer's company, not the right of the writer to copyright. But the copy written is copyrighted as written, right?
Wrongfully copying a right writ , a right rite or copy is not right.
Copyright 1991 Shelley Herman S.P.E.B.S.Q.S.A., Whittier Chapter. Adapted and Appended by Scott Simmerman. If you wish to copy or write this as copy, please be certain to copy right the copyright -- contributed to Swenny's E-Mail Funnies by Carter Olson, St. Paul, MN
"I know you believe you understand what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant."
S.I.Hiyakawa and sometimes attributed to Richard Nixon
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