Is this the end of hugging in the workplace?

I just read an interesting 9th Circuit opinion . I can see the lawyers telling us there is now a no hugging rule in the workplace. According to the court “hugging can create a hostile or abusive workplace when it is unwelcome and pervasive”.

Apparently the boss in this case did way too much hugging for way too many years. Apparently the plaintiff couldn’t take it anymore. She felt the hugging had sexual overtones. And maybe it did.

There is a sliding scale of creepiness when it comes to hugging. And there is a personal space scale too. Most people are OK with a good natured hug. However, “chest to breast” hugging can be creepy and unwelcome. Some people don’t like being touched at all, maybe for some very personal reasons.

I like hugging people. Mostly friends and family. But there have been occasions where someone I had just met needed a hug and I gave it to them.

What I won’t do is be creepy about it.

PS it’s probably too creepy to pull a sandwich hug at work.

The Future of Work

Ask yourself this: how will AI, robots and other advanced technologies affect the future of my work or that of my loved ones? Am I prepared for it?

Because it will affect us, whether you are 60 and thinking about working for at least the next 10 years or if you are 24 and just getting started in your career.

In a recent blog post I shared my Workplaces of the Future Checklist.

I also encourage you to watch these five TED videos discussing the subject.

A renaissance — the coming end of human work | Kevin Surace

How the future of work is not “Jobs” | Rudy Karsan

How to Become Relevant when a Robot Takes Your Job | Pablos Holman

Why Are There Still So Many Jobs? | David Autor

Jobs of the future and how we can prepare for them | AvinashMeetoo

What you will learn is the change coming our way is happening super-fast! More so than the vast majority of people realize.

It all comes down to thinking, doing and feeling. Technology will replace or effect non-cognitive, repetitive tasks first (like vacuuming or cooking hamburgers). Then the non-cognitive non- repetitive tasks(like estimating the cost of auto-repair or simple tax returns). Then it will attack the cognitive repetitive tasks (including things like financial planning, data analysis, surgery and legal briefs).

The jobs that will remain for most will be cognitive, non-repetitive jobs like sales reps, teachers, therapists, nurses, entertainers and entrepreneurs.

My caution remains this: don’t think this won’t be affecting your job! Jump on the front of this curve and you will benefit greatly.  Lag behind and you can get quickly turned into a dinosaur…no matter your age.

Remember, you will either eat technology or be eaten by it!

Again, if you haven’t done so check out my Workplaces of the Future Checklist

All the best, Don

PS want to bring the GreatHR Executive program to your town? Check out the feedback from my most recent workshop.

A Profound Conversation about Health and Thoughts on How it Affects Your Culture

I’m a health nut and learn as much as I can about nutrition, exercise, etc. Over the years I have learned much from Dave Asprey and Bruce Lipton.

This podcast is a profound conversation between two of the smartest people in health. When you listen to it think about the following:

  1. It’s all about how we produce and manage energy.
  2. While we all have our DNA’s our environment affects who we are more than anything else.
  3. First there is the mental environment. Do you have a positive mental attitude? Do you love and seek love? Do you believe?
  4. Then there is the physical environment. You are in a petri dish. What’s the culture like? Is it wholesome? Energizing? How’s it affecting your performance?
  5. When things can’t grow anymore on their own they have to collaborate.
  6. It’s collaboration and cooperation… not competition that drives evolution.

Now think about how those six thoughts apply to the whole. To your family culture? Your company culture?

How is energy generated at your company? Is it generated by stress? Some stress is a good thing. It’s why we work out. Too much stress results in overuse, injuries, resentment. Too much stress is energy depleting and not sustainable. As Joseph Campbell said “Work can be a life draining affair.”

Is the energy generated by engagement at work? Do people feel energized on their way to work? Do they still feel energized on their way home? The challenge here may be maintaining that energy level, especially in times of great external stressors or the sneaky complacency of success.

What is the mental environment at work? How do you and your employees think about the work they do? How do you try to pump up that thinking? Do you brand a thought experience to your employees? Like IBM did when it suggested everyone THINK. Or Ford did when it said Quality is Job #1. Or as Lexus says A Relentless Pursuit of Perfection. Do you have thought billboards on the walls? Everywhere? That change positions so they stay fresh?

Remember, thoughts are things.

What’s the physical environment like? Does it look like an energizing place to work? Well….does it? Is there good light, fresh air, cleanliness?

I remember working with a printing company years ago. They had 120 employees and 3 shifts working on these big Heidelberg printing presses.  There was a ton of drama and shift wars going on. And the place looked like a mess. When I asked about that the CFO that brought me in justified by saying we are a printing company and they are all messy. When I asked why that was the case he didn’t seem to have a good answer.  Here’s what I had them do. Over a weekend they brought in a painting and cleaning crew and extra equipment. Employees would be paid overtime if they wanted to help paint and clean. They had a clown and bounce house for kids out in the parking lot and refreshments for all.

Most employees participated even if for just a few hours each. By the end of the weekend that place looked amazing. No printing company that CFO knew of ever looked so good. And it changed the culture. Things were left tidy by each shift. The wars stopped. Customers were brought back into the shop for tours. Workers took new pride in themselves. And they had a 1.3 million turnaround in 6 mos.

Remember this: your physical environment is always communicating. It is never not communicating. So make sure it is an energy giving story.

Last thing about the “physical” environment. Each one of us is a physical environment. I have preached forever in the value of making sure your employees get very health food at work. One of the best investments you can make to build and maintain energy. If you listen to this podcast you will know why.

What’s the cultural environment feel like? How well can people grow in it? Can everyone see a growth path? Is the culture energy giving or energy draining?

How do we foster cooperation and collaboration? Slack is great but that’s just part of the equation. How do we talk about it, engineer for it and incentivize it?


Like I said an amazing conversation. Tell me what you think about it.



Down Mexico Way…

So I was in this fun bar in Cabo and what did I see? Their motivational poster! What would happen if you hung this up at your company?

The Change is Coming, the Change is Coming!

Sometimes change can feel like some monster lurking in the deep, ready to pounce on us in an instant. Nice calm day one moment, disruption the next.

People are in fact losing jobs…and companies… to AI and robotics and other technologies. But it should come as no surprise.

Woe be the unprepared. (I think that was the Boy Scout motto)

Are you prepared for the change coming your way? Have you given serious thought to how these technologies are lurking up behind your business or career?

To help you I have summarized a presentation I give on this topic. Click here to download Managing the Crazy Changes Coming Your Way. I know you will like it!

In addition, here is a checklist addressing The Future of the Workplace.

Here’s to being prepared, Don