Category Archives: Just Jay

Do not take this sitting down!

CLO December 28, 2012

How far does a CLO’s responsibility extend in an enlightened, twenty-first century company?

Assume your silo walls are coming down. Pockets of your organization are beginning to resemble W.L. Gore or Google or the agile companies you read about in Fast Company. Self-organizing teams are popping up. R&D is increasingly crowd-sourced. For the first time in memory, lots of workers are singing from the same hymnal (it’s accessible on the corporate social network.) You are becoming a Cohesive Organization.

You’re the CLO. The New York Times tips you off to something that could improve your company’s performance while lowering your workers’ risk of heart attack, stroke, and metabolic syndrome. The intervention is somewhat controversial but the medical community agrees that it works. The cost is minimal. No manager in the company is clearly accountable for this area.

The issue is sitting down, namely the new finding that too much time spent sitting down is bad for your health. Office chairs kill.

Let’s use the Sitting issue as a case example. Read the facts and then decide whether you’d speak up and push for change or just let this one pass. Ask your peers what they think.

“What does a man do on two legs, a dog do on three legs, and a woman do sitting down? The answer of course is shake hands.” (That’s your ice-breaker for introducing the topic of standing while working to your colleagues).

Author note: What you’re reading is what I submitted. The CLO site has the version they printed. I didn’t expect to get away with the joke.

Mayo Clinic’s Dr. James Levine says “Sitting is the new smoking. It’s literally bad for you.” Levine points out that “People who sit more are more prone to cancers, breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon, I mean, multiple cancers. In addition, sitters are more prone to depression, to feeling blue. Even people who have mental illness, their illness is actually worse.”

Sitting more than three hours a day reduces your life expectancy by two years. Watching more than two hours of TV per day takes another year off your life. The more you sit, the greater your risk of having a heart attack or coming down with diabetes. Regular exercise does not counterbalance the bad effects of sitting.

Sitting makes you fat. Obese people sit an average of two and a half hours a day more than thinner people.

A few companies are consciously trying to promote standing up:

  • They have instituted walking lunch groups and yoga classes.
  • Timers remind employees to stretch, walk around, and take breaks.
  • People take phone calls standing up (which also boosts confidence and voice quality).
  • Companies are removing tables and chairs from meeting rooms. This leads to shorter meetings.
  • Savvy employees take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • People walk to others’ desks instead of emailing them.
  • Participants encourage everyone to stand at meetings.
  • People can order stand-up desks and even treadmill desks.

Let’s acknowledge that adopting less sedentary work practices will be difficult. People like to change but they don’t like to be changed. If you make standing while working compulsory, many employees will engage in a (forgive me for this) sit-down strike.

Difficult does not mean impossible. Remember when smoking was banned in offices? In restaurants? In bars? Many of us didn’t expect that to work any better than Prohibition, yet today it’s the law of the land.

Unlike smoking, where worries about second-hand smoke endangering non-smokers’ health led to regulation, people who sit excessively only hurt themselves (and perhaps increase their employers’ health insurance premiums).

Unlike smoking, standing can be implemented piecemeal. It can be voluntary. People can stand wherever they work; they don’t have to huddle outside of the building in the elements.

Standing all day isn’t particularly good for you either. Too much standing wears out ankles and knees and can contribute to bad posture. Standing for 50 minutes and sitting for 10 may be optimal.

That’s the case study. On the plus side, standing while working increases longevity and the likelihood of dodging diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity, and other maladies. On the negative side are the one-time cost of acquiring new furniture and the rebellion of workers who resist change. Net-net, it makes business sense to encourage workers to stand and to make it easy for them to do so.

What are you going to do as CLO? Are you obligated to share this knowledge? Will you advocate standing up for something that makes people healthier at little cost? If not you, who? If not now, when?

Is making the company a better place to work a CLO’s responsibility? Or is that someone else’s job? Yeah, I’d really like an answer to that one.

A Solution to the College Crisis


Corporate colleges


Higher education in the United States is broken. Costs are ouf of control. Students are dissatisfied. Graduates can’t get jobs. Says MIT’s Andy McAfee, “What’s going on is halfway between a bubble and a scandal.”

I propose we put higher ed back on track by founding Corporate Colleges.

Corporate colleges break higher ed into its constitutent parts and reassemble Continue reading


The Strip

Tripping through Texas

Closed on Sunday
because God’s service
is better than ours.

Barbed wire.

Cattle, oil, mesquite, prickly pear,
Cowboy boots, Stetsons, buzzards,
Roadkill, skunk smell, Hummers.

Bar-BQ, chichen fried steak,
Dairy Queen, Applebee’s, Sonic,
Enchiladas, chicken fried chicken.

Sheep and prickly pear and jack rabbits, but not to eat.

Ranches, hosses, antiques and tarnished Continue reading

Modularity, BMWs, & MOOCs

Recognize this? It cost me $1,000.

bmwWhen my car was detailed, this part of the steering column was damaged. It doesn’t come any smaller. You can’t buy these individually.

bmw1 bmw4bmw3



BMW has decreed that you have to buy all these parts, even when some of them are perfectly okay. (My car’s issue was with the collar thing-a-ma-bob in the center.)

Dumb design, eh? It’s Continue reading

MOOC Links

moocBusiness+MOOCs Hangout on Air
February 27, 9:30 am Pacific time.

Calendar link.

Join the Google+ Learning Community to stay in the loop.

Instructions for watching on YouTube will appear at the Learning Community at show time.

Clark Quinn will manage our back channel on Twitter. #QMOOC


Jay’s MOOC bookmarks

195 posts about MOOCs 14 articles on MOOCs

Using mLearning and MOOCs to Understand Continue reading

Canon PowerShot Sx50 HS

This is an amazing camera. Takes great shots. The show-stopper is x50 zoom.

x50-2 x50-3 x50-4 x50

These shots of the meditation chair in my redwood grove were all taken from the same location!

Meditation chair. 50x cam

Meditation chair. 50x cam

Meditation chair. 50x cam

Here are two cars filled with intangibles on the n-scale Internet Time Lines:

Internet Time Lines

and the caboose:

Internet Time Lines

Spring has sprung here in Berkeley. This is my neighbor’s back yard:

50x camera

50x camera

Here’s a meal of black bean soup Continue reading

Slow Learning and payback



Ten years ago I devoured this book and passed it along to Clark Quinn, who coined the term “Slow Learning” as a result. Here is his brilliant piece on Slow Learning.

The analogy is apt.

In the dark ages of American sophistication about eating circa 1950, common wisdom was tip was short for T.I.P. meaning “to insure promptness.”* Food in this country was so abysmal Continue reading


Business+MOOCs. Discuss.

February 27, 9:30 am Pacific time.

Join the Google+ Learning Community to stay in the loop.


Jay Cross
George Siemens
Stephen Downes
Dave Cormier
Center for Creative Leadership


Daphe Koller, Coursera
Curt Bonk

Who else should be there?





If you’re new here, be aware that Continue reading