Vincent van Gogh 1853 - 1890
During his career he only sold
"Van Gogh's finest works were produced
in less than three years in a technique that grew more and more
impassioned in brushstroke, in symbolic and intense color, in
surface tension, and in the movement and vibration of form and line.
Van Gogh's inimitable fusion of form and content is powerful;
dramatic, lyrically rhythmic, imaginative, and emotional, for the
artist was completely absorbed in the effort to explain either his
struggle against madness or his comprehension of the spiritual
essence of man and nature."
I toured the Van Gogh Museum in March
while in Holland to speak at the PSA Holland
convention in Noordwijk which is not too far from Amsterdam. My wife
Irene has been 'introducing ' me to museums on our trips. Van Gogh
was a tortured talent whose artistic excellence was not appreciated
until well after his death. That did not detur him from expressing
himself and capturing his vision on canvas during his brief and
"Vincent van Gogh, for whom color was the
chief symbol of expression, was born in Groot-Zundert, Holland. The
son of a pastor, brought up in a religious and cultured atmosphere,
Vincent was highly emotional and lacked self-confidence."
1860 and 1880, when he finally decided to become an artist, van Gogh
had had two unsuitable and unhappy romances. He worked
unsuccessfully as a clerk in a bookstore, an art salesman, and
unsuccessfully as a preacher in Belgium. He remained in Belgium to
study art, determined to give happiness by creating
"In 1886 he went to Paris to join his
brother Théo, the manager of Goupil's gallery. In Paris, van Gogh
studied with Cormon, inevitably met Pissarro, Monet, and Gauguin,
and began to lighten his very dark palette and to paint in the short
brushstrokes of the Impressionists.
"His nervous temperament made
him a difficult companion and night-long discussions combined with
painting all day undermined his health. Van Gogh then began to
alternate between fits of madness and lucidity and was sent
to the asylum in Saint-Remy for treatment. In May of 1890, he
seemed much better and went to live in Auvers-sur-Oise under the
watchful eye of Dr. Gachet. Two months later he was dead, having
shot himself 'for the good of all'."
the museum where millions have visited, it is hard
to imagine labouring a lifetime without seeing any positive
results, as well as struggling to keep your sanity. I was amazed at
the richness, variety, and the vastness of his body of work.
Van Gogh definitely saw the world
differently than his counterparts and countrymen.
He painted with passion
and abandonment and created a vast collection of art for those
remain to view and ponder.
- What do you do with passion and
- What do you do without regard of
acclaim or recognition?
- What can you accomplish in the
world when you follow your passion and leave the results to the
- When will you unleash that
month. Keep following your passion. Amazing, we are
now launching Year 6 of our Ideas @ Work ezine... who would have
thought! We appreciate you being with us along the way and invite
you to share this ezine with your friends and colleagues.
Portions of this note were
adapted from a shortened version of Van Gogh's
Pictures... 1) Sunflowers 2) Bob
in front of Van Gogh and his bio.
My long time friend and fellow
NSA member, Barbara Glanz is one of my chief
cheerleaders... she is a delightful lady and continues to inspire me
in her quest in "Spreading Contagious
Enthusiasm"(TM) around the world... as she does in
the lives of thousands... This note came to me early April and, with
her kind permission, I am thrilled to share it with you.
"Happy Employees Create Happy
By Barbara Glanz
Have you ever seen
a company with unhappy employees who had happy customers? I
Employees need managers who can empathize
with their stress and pain and who honestly try to create an
environment in which they feel valued and respected despite
all the changes going on around them. Then they can be their
best for their customers.
According to an article by
Kenneth Kovach in "Employment Relations Today," when
employees were asked what they valued most about their jobs,
the top three things employees reported were:
appreciation for the work they've done and
(3) A feeling of
being "in" on things
Each of these
motivators relates to an element of the type of caring,
spirited workplace managers can create for their
with employees in regular and creative ways.
* Hold informal
"grapevine sessions" to control the flow of the rumor mill.
These open discussions can be held either on a regular basis
or can be called by any employee. Managers must be prepared to
listen and to be completely truthful and open. Even when they
can't share specific information, they can honestly explain
why and when it will be available.
* Spend time out in the
field with employees. Ask them how you can help make their
jobs easier. Work alongside them. Even let them teach you what
they do. For example, Southwest Airlines has a mandate that
every manager must spend 1/3 of his or her time
indirect touch with employees and
customers to create a stronger feeling of
* Take at least one
employee to breakfast and another to lunch each week. Ask them
for their ideas to improve the organization and thank them for
being on your team.
* Hold a voluntary
"Good News Hour" once a week for 30 minutes before the workday
starts. Everyone can share good things that have happened in
their lives and work during the last week.
2. Create an
ATMOSPHERE that makes employees enjoy being at
* Celebrate everything
you can--meeting of short term goals, the end of the budget
process, winning grants or new customers, extraordinary work,
safety successes. We know that happy employees are more
* Create some special
places for employees. A group of employees at one organization
stayed late one night and decorated an empty space all in
black. When the rest of the staff returned the next day, a
large banner over the entrance read "THE WHINE CELLAR!" They
brought in stress toys, cartoon books, treats, and stuffed
animals, and this became everyone's favorite place to go. You
might also consider creating a "TIME OUT" place for employees
who are over stressed. Because of a lack of space for this,
one organization purchased a Porta-Potty!
* Encourage daily affirmations throughout
the organization. Land's End and IBM have created small cards
to thank one another internally. Other organizations use "Pass
It On"(TM) cards with sayings such as "The
difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little
EXTRA!" to give to both employees and customers. A pat on the
back, a short note of thanks, or a voice mail message from a
manager can refill employees' emotional bank accounts for
weeks! A spirit of gratitude throughout an organization will
raise the level of all interactions. Create a "Just Because"
committee or an Attitude Support Team with volunteers who have
a passion for the positive.
employees with RESPECT.
* Sponsor a Family Day
at work. The American Hospital Association holds an annual
"Day for Play at Work" celebration at which families of
employees can enjoy games, display, prizes, and a tour of
Mom's/Dad's workspace. It is designed to teach family members
what it is like to go to work and how important they are in
supporting the employee.
* Establish a Code of
Conduct listing the specific behaviors you will use in
interacting with one another. Gain employee input and ask them
to personally sign the Code if they agree to uphold it.
Include in it such behaviors as "If I have a concern with
someone in the organization, I will go directly to that
person." Then, when one employee begins to gripe about someone
to another, all the person has to say is, "REMEMBER THE CODE!"
This will do wonders to uplift your
* Pass out their
paychecks personally so you get to know all their
* Create a Human Level
database. Collect information such as employees' hobbies; do
they play an instrument, sing, draw, or speak a foreign
language; special interests such as golf, bridge, tennis;
favorite sports; books and movies they like; places they have
traveled; organizations and support groups to which they
belong. This becomes a terrific way to network internally.
Informal classes, support groups, travel groups, and perhaps
even a company choir or band will spring up. People can find
others to help them with problems both at work and at home,
and the company will discover resources it never knew it had.
Best of all, employees are seen as whole persons, not just
ENTHUSIASTIC about your work.
* Francis Likert said,
"If a high level of performance is to be achieved, it appears
to be necessary for a supervisor or manager to have high
performance goals and a contagious enthusiasm as to the
importance of these goals." Are you a contagiously
enthusiastic manager? Are you helping your employees focus not
on only a job description but also on their very important
work? How is what they do each day making someone's life
better? That new sense of purpose will boost self-esteem and
add a depth of meaning for which they are
* Enjoy your employees.
Help them to "lighten up" and not take themselves too
seriously. Find ways to poke a little fun at yourself.
Research shows that the most productive workplaces have at
least ten minutes of laughter every hour. At Artex
International the three owners of the company surprised
employees at an all-company function by creating a skit. Since
they were in the middle of a quality initiative, the owners
demonstrated various quality tools to illustrate their varying
degrees of hairlessness! It is something the employees will
never forget. Have you ever worn a Halloween costume to work
when it WASN'T Halloween? How about a dart board with your
picture on it in the breakout room?
* Work on a community
project. Care about the world outside your lobby. Martin Buber
said that the fastest way to overcome depression is to do
something for someone else. In organizations we often become
so in-focused that we forget there is a needy world outside
our doors. Work groups have helped rehab community
playgrounds, built houses for Habitat for Humanity, cleaned up
highway areas, and even cooked meals for the homeless. Not
only is this a team building activity, but it also helps
change perceptions about one's own
Former Secretary of
Labor Robert B. Reich said, "For six months now, I've been
visiting the workplaces of America, administering a simple
test. I call it the 'pronoun test.' I ask front line workers a
few general questions about the company. If the answers I get
back describe the company in terms like 'they' and 'them,'
then I know it's one kind of company. If the answers are put
in terms like 'we' or 'us,' then I know it's a different kind
As managers, you can
have a direct impact on the kind of company yours is.
Listening to employees, caring about them and their families,
creating an atmosphere that promotes joy, and presenting
yourself as a human being will result in a workplace that can
survive the changes, stress, and fear of the unknown . It will
also result in delighted customers!
Barbara Glanz, CSP,
works with organizations that want to improve morale,
retention, and service and with people who want to rediscover
the joy in their work and in their lives. As an
internationally known speaker, trainer, and business
consultant who has a Master's degree in Adult Education,
Barbara lives and breathes her personal motto: "Spreading
Contagious Enthusiasm(TM)." She has presented on
all seven continents and in all 50 states since 1995. For more
information, she can be reached directly at 941-312-9169; Fax
941-349-8209; email: firstname.lastname@example.org;
website: www.barbaraglanz.com .
Last Minute News
May will be very busy...
Presented at D42 Toastmasters
Convention in Edmonton on May 1st. It was great to reconnect
with my TM family and see so many of my CAPS Edmonton Colleagues
on the program.
Presenting a leadership program
for a client on May 6th based on my Power of One program.
Bruce Steak night
on May 7th.
Have a couple of client proposals to follow up
on, including finalizing details of my Russian trip (June 9-19th).
Need to prepare for a couple of programs the 1st week of June.
As always, writing to work on and some new marketing ideas to
Got started on one of our summer projects. Adding
to the ground level deck we did last year so it will now wrap
around to the house on the left. Resurfacing the upper deck
and putting in stairs to connect down to the Mojito Deck. Then
we will be redoing the rails and finishing off with a shaded
area outside the bedroom. It will be something I can work on
between trips and as a break from writing and client projects.
We will also be expanding our garden areas on the north side
of the house and putting laminate flooring in my office. Time
permitting, creating an office for Irene as well.
What a wonderful family
tradition we have created...
Week. Irene and I recently returned from my 2nd
annual BD week, held this year in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (15-22nd).
I can hardly wait to see where we hold it next year. Cuba last
year, Puerto Vallarta this year....hmmm
Pic: This is so cool with the
sunset in the background. I can see why they have a photographer at
the resort to take these kinds of
Lucky for me, Irene is great with
her camera, as well as a Diva in the web-design
field...and her clients tell her that!
was supposed to be muted as soon as I said my 'bridging' line... had
I known it wasn't I might have been a bit quieter....
Bob 'Idea Man' Hooey
would be pleased to be a part of your success team and to
work with you to help make your conference, meeting,
or training event a success. For more information about customized
keynotes, professional and personal leadership training and
coaching, or seminars/retreats, please visit http://www.ideaman.net or call our Creative Office
at: (780) 736-0009 for availability.
Ask about a customized conference,
coaching or training package to suit your specific career,
company, or organizational needs.
Ask about our innovative leadership
and/or sales leaders' motivational training programs.
Picture: The T-shirt
says it all! Brought the T-Shirt back from our trip to Australia
last January. Same shirt, different paradise (Mexico)... we need to
embrace and enjoy each day to the fullest. Make life and
adventure. A speaker friend of mine wrote me recently,
"You really know how to create a life". I am working on it
If you are new to our
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a very pleasant and relaxing Birthday Week with Irene
in sunny Puerto Vallarta.
Here is a great
customer service story for you: Irene asked for a
'little' coffee and a 'lot' of Kahlua, which is exactly what
our waitress, Juventina delivered.
My friend Lea
Brovedani sent this card for my birthday. I share its
message with you as we celebrate our 6th birthday in serving
you with this monthly e-zine.
you enjoy life
Just think of
the year ahead as a journey.
It's an old
curvy road that's seen a lot of travelers, but never anyone
quite like you.
Put a few miles
See all there is
to see, and don't forget to stop for pie.
As long as you
keep your tank full of wonder and your mirror full of memories
it should be one sweet trip!"
its clear, positive message. We'll be working to make
our ezine better each month including playing with the size of
example, we might shorten the summer and Christmas
issues to keep in touch but not add to much reading to your
a fellow traveler on this road to adventure.
that we have 5 years of Ideas @ Work issues, I have an
do you think about doing a best of e-book to gather some of
the more impactful Points to
me a note and let me know what you
Bob is a
professional speaker, author, leadership, sales, and business
He is proud to be an active
professional member of these amazing groups of people
dedicated to polishing their craft and to better serving their
clients and audiences.
Bob is the co-founder and a
past president of CAPS Vancouver, an honorary founding member
of CAPS Sask., an honorary member of CAPS Halifax, as well as
being an active member of CAPS Edmonton. He served as CAPS
National Director (2000-2002).
He would be happy to
discuss how he can work with you to equip and motivate your
leaders, their teams, sales teams, or volunteers to grow and
Call him today at 1-780-736-0009
to explore leveraging his innovative Ideas At Work
with your organization.
Ideas At Work!
10 Creativity Corner
Alberta T0A 0Z0, CANADA