Are You a Cog?

What is a COG?  COG is short for the term “Corporate Cog”

…an employee who is obedient, diligent, comes to work every day, on time and works for the money. They may have gone to school for their job and even received advanced degrees, but they don’t really enjoy what they are doing.  But they don’t hate it either.  It is just a job.

When their alarm goes off in the morning, they groan and have a hard time getting out of bed.

A COG can be at any level in the organization, from the CEO to the base employee.  They will usually do just about anything to keep the job – the job they really don’t care for.

They are often beat up at work and instead of fighting back, they take it.  They don’t rock the boat because they don’t want to be the next former employee.

Their WHY for working is to get a paycheck. They often go home exhausted, only to return the next day to do it again.


On the other hand, the DECOGGED employee is the opposite.  Yes, they are diligent in their job, but they also are creative, ingenious, and innovative. Their paycheck is a side benefit because they LOVE what they do.

When the alarm clock goes off in the morning, they are excited about what they get to do that day.

I have seen DECOGGED janitors, admin assistants as well as CEOs.  As with a COG, the DECOGGED person can be at any level.  They don’t have a problem rocking the boat because they know that thier job is a means to an end, not the end itself.

They understand WHY they are working, and it usually is not for the money, but for a higher purpose.  And it is not unusual to go home more excited and energetic than when they came because what they are working on they thoroughly love.

So, which are you?  Are you a COG or have you DECOGGED yourself?

If you have any symptoms of a COG, keep watching these videos to learn how to decog yourself.

Humanize Work: The Ninth Day (VIDEO)

It truly is a new day.

One where the old management model is breaking down and being replaced by a new model.  One that is much more flexible and agile.

But to achieve this, we need to Humanize Work.  We can’t keep working the same way we always have and think that we will be able to keep up.  Employee engagement is at an all time low. Traditional companies are throwing traditional solutions at the problem and coming up with traditional outcomes: not much.

Our organizational problems are new.  And they require new approaches.  The old methods will land us right back where we are sitting, which is exactly where we don’t want to be.

But under the bleak assessment of a current state is a bright future.  There is more in front of us than there is behind us.

And, personally, I can’t wait to see what is in store.

This video is a call-to-arms for those who are on the fence; for those who are wondering if they should take their company with them  on a leap of faith.

Not only can it be done, but it must be done to thrive.


And on the eighth day, the industrial age looked over its creations and said, “I need people to help me.” So it created the employee.

It said, ‘I need someone to arrive at the office early, keep track of money, answer the phone, field floods of emails, serve the customer, attend the boring meetings, and call me boss.”

So it created the employee.

This machine age said, “I need someone to give up evenings and weekends with the family at the last minute in favor of and stay up late to work on a PowerPoint presentation, only to have it scrapped for a new direction. Someone who will then temper his frustration, go to sleep, and show up early to work the next morning ready to take on the next challenge. Someone who will say, ‘Maybe next time’ and then keep working.

“I need someone who will be available on their cell phone at any moment, spend hours writing reports that no one will read, exhaust themselves until late in the night and be willing to return the next day, on time, to do it again, and never think about WHY they are working. Someone who will keep their opinions to themselves, will take direction and be obedient and diligent and too afraid to talk to management for fear that they may lose their job.”

So the the industrial revolution created the employee.

And at the end of the eighth day the machine age grew old, tired, and it died.

On the morning of the ninth day, a new economy was born. And it said, “The employee has been stripped of being human. To move forward we need to Humanize Work again.”

“What we really need is a group of connected individuals who are bold enough to stand up to the status quo yet not be toxic. Inspiring, but not autocratic. We need a group who is willing learn every day, to be disruptive when necessary, and work transparently. Who want to work because they love what they do, not just because they need a paycheck. Who will give trust as a default, not as an earned bonus. Those who will disrupt, rather than be disrupted.”

The new economy said, “We need people who will keep politics and policies to a minimum so bureaucracy and pride won’t get in the way of doing what is right. Those who will shed our old management model in favor of an environment of true collaboration and full engagement. For one that is flexible and agile – where innovation is not only in its outputs, but also in its operations. We need those who will create an environment that will allow for both diversity and unity; standardization and disruption; success and failure. We need those willing to pour their whole selves into their passion and to humanize work again.”

And on the ninth day, the organization was transformed.

This is your ninth day.

Humanize Work

How Would You Respond?

Remember this video I created a while back?


Every now and then someone leaves a message on Youtube.  Most of them are positive, some are not.

Like this one.

Actually, I welcome contrary views.  I don’t really appreciate it if the comments are a bit toxic, but we move on.

Last week this comment was posted to the video.  Obviously he’s not a fan of collaborative technologies.  I haven’t responded yet.  I thought I would just leave it out there for a bit and let it stew.

Actually, the idea that time is saved by using the message board instead of email, is ridiculous. Just think about it: how many lines of text does each person involved have to write and read in the email scenario? And how many in the second scenario? Right: exactly the same. The only gain in the second scenario has to do with digital space occupied by the messages. In the first scenario there is (too) much redundancy. So: good idea to switch to message boards, but please don’t use the ridiculous ‘hours saved’ counter! By the way: the second scenario has the disadvantage that the one-to-one messages sent in the first scenario that were meant to be private, would need email as an additional means of communication in the second scenario.

So what would you say?  How would you respond?

Just to add to it, I asked this question on Google+ and, as luck would have it, received another contrary comment.  This one more snarky than the first.  Again, no problem.  Actually, I found out this person is a troll and he was successful at sucking me in a bit.

After you read the comments, let me know how you would respond.

Humanize Work – We Are At War, But Who Is Our Enemy?

Let there be no mistake – we are at war.

Not war in the traditional sense, but we are fighting a force that is almost overwhelmingly too strong.


You see, we have been taught to go to school, learn, get good grades, graduate, and find a job.  Once there, they put you in a box on the org chart, give you responsibilities and your job is to be obedient, follow process and policy and, if you are lucky, you might climb the corporate ladder.  In essence, you are treated more like a cog in a machine, than a person.  This is what we are taught we should do and most of us do it diligently.

Then later in life – it could be 6 months later or right before we retire – we ask ourselves, “Why am I doing what I am doing?”  This usually creates the basis for a great mid-life crisis.

We are not fighting against evil men who are conspiring to turn every person into a cog and subjugate the human workforce.  Rather we are fighting against a cultural force that compels you, and me, your family and your friends to give up our passion and spend hours working toward a cause that either we don’t understand, can’t relate to, or we could care less about.  It is a culture that tells us that if we earn a paycheck, that’s good enough – we are lucky to get that.

To win this war it is a constant, daily fight within ourselves.  It would be so much easier for us to give in, just go to work and get the paycheck.  That is what we are expected to do.  But if we want a fulfilling career, most of us will need to work hard to focus on our personal purpose.

But if you don’t have one, then you are already losing the battle.

For those who have a passion and a purpose but may not have the courage to go after it – you’re not alone, but you are not getting any younger, either.  And your situation won’t be easier than it is right now.

But it IS your choice.

You can either be acted upon, or take control and act.

And now is the best time to start.


Changing the World of Work: The Inspiring Free eBook from Change Agents Worldwide

CAWW e-Book

Let me just get it out of my system now.


OK.  There it is.  That is how I feel about what we have created.

I was blessed to have 20 of the brightest minds in the industry join me in creating an ebook that is full of wisdom around the future of work.  What will it take to humanize business and shed the industrial era mindset of management?  Well, now you get to find out.

In this new free ebook there are 21 short essays on what it will take to change the way we work, how to do it and what it will look like.

And do you know how we created it?  For starters, not one email was ever written.  It was organized, written, compiled, and produced in a about a month’s time using a social network & wikis.  When we started out it was just an idea that no one person could pull off. To make it happen, people within the business stepped up and volunteered to help because they had particular knowledge or skills to fill gaps; people skilled on layout, graphics, marketing, social media, editing, ebook creation & styles, and the list goes on.

It reflects how we work together at Change Agents Worldwide.  Networked, not hierarchically. Managerless, but not leaderless. If it needs to get done we jump in and do it.  No dictates from on high.  No executive board setting the strategy.  All change agents are an equal part of the strategy.  And marketing.  And creation of products and services. And operations. And…

We work in the future – the way we teach others to do.  And we can help you, too.

Click here to get the free ebook.  It is also available on Amazon.

Warning: It might take some time to read – You just might need to put the book down frequently as you think about the ideas and how you can use them.

What is Your WHY? The Key to Coglessness

All of us need to be asking ourselves, “WHY” much more often.  Why are we working in the job we have?  Are we just working for the money?  It is because this is the only job we could find? Or it’s a job that will do for now?  Or is it because you hope to climb the ladder of success?

I bet if you were to do a survey, most people, if they answered honestly, would have one of those answers.

So, WHY are YOU doing the work you do?  

This question is they key to living a cogless life.

We must understand WHY we are doing what we are doing.  What is our purpose?  What cause are we trying to fulfil?

Mine?  It saddens me to see anyone live beneath their potential – to know that they have so much more within them.  As I work with clients I see business zombies – those who have so much more to give, yet have been beaten down by the modern day work culture.  I want to help them, and you, LOVE what you do, to live your passion and reach that potential.

But there is a trade-off.  Asking WHY will give you some answers you are not comfortable with.  

As Robert Caldera commented on the Decog.Me Google+ Page, Asking WHY “can be a more frustrating journey than to just accept things the way they are, but to not do so is denying who we are as human beings.”

What is your WHY?

Here is a test. Explain to someone what you do in your job.  Then, explain to them something that you love to do outside of your job and why you do it.

I bet when you talk about your job you probably will tell them WHAT you do.  But when you talk about your passion, you will also say WHY you do it.  And when you do, your eyes will sparkle, your voice will get excited, and you will smile and have an intensity that the other person can not only feel, but they will get excited with you.

You know that feeling I’m talking about.  You’ve seen it in others and you have seen it in yourself.

I challenge you to know why you do what you do, do what you love, and love your work.


To Disrupt or Be Disrupted – It is Your Choice – VIDEO

Change is happening so quickly, that it’s hard to keep up.

Products and services that once dominated the market and looked like they would always rule are now toppled by a competitor that came out of the blue.

Employees that felt secure in their jobs are being laid off because their skills – once cutting edge – are now no longer needed in the new, changed marketplace.

A younger generation is coming in the workforce and using words and concepts that mean nothing to you, and they are working in ways that seem reckless & irresponsible.

Suddenly you realize that your company, product or service could be on of those that people look back and and say, “Hey, do you remember…”

In that moment you have a choice to make.  You can either disrupt how your run your business, or be disrupted.  Because one of those will happen.

But you may say, “No, not us.”  And that is what the newspaper industry said.  So did the auto industry, the music industry, formal education, the timber industry, religious institutions, government bodies and even something as fundamental as the family unit.

So you have a choice.  Disrupt your internal operations, or be disrupted.  If you don’t make a choice, one will gladly be made for you.  There isn’t any middle ground.

Business Rules Have Been Obliviated – VIDEO


You must have a proven ROI.  Oh, wait.

The manager must have the final say in hiring his direct reports.  No?

Business strategy must come from the executives.  Right?

I don’t know if you noticed, but some of the rules that we have used in the past to run our businesses have been… pretty much obliviated.

Not just changed – they don’t exist.

In fact, I’m not sure if they have been replaced by new rules, or if we are living in undiscovered country.

Like what?

  • Like the balance of power in your company
  • What it takes to engage an employee
  • The mind set and work practices of the upcoming generation entering the workforce
  • Technology
  • The push for more a flat and less hierarchical organizational structure
  • Organization with less rules, less policy but more creativity…

Shall I go on?

Now I know many of you think that the rules haven’t changed THAT much.  You think that basically how we run our businesses in much the same we were taught in business school and how we have done it in the past.

That’s like saying that 1+2=3, which it does, but if we are to change one variable, the outcome can drastically change.  But too many companies are trying to make 11+2 still equal 3.

When you lose control over just a few rules – but not all of them – of how your company runs and one of those variables change, so does your business operation.

So let’s stop pretending we know what the rules are because right now, they don’t exist and new rules are being written as we speak.

Rather than play it safe and stay with the old, we need to be explorers and discover the new.  Only then will we realize that the old safe is actually more dangerous than the new risky.


Top 10 Career Thoughts You Will Have in the New Year


These are your top 10 thoughts you will have about your career in the new year

10.  When the alarm goes off you will moan, because you will still dread or only tolerate your job, with little or no hope in doing what you love.

9. You will remember that thing you love to do and start to get excited about it.

8. You will think about it all day and all night – and even during your regular job.  You will watch videos and read books about it.  You might even start a blog on the subject.

7. You will start making plans on how to make it your real job and you will tell your loved ones that you are going to dive in.

6. Dive in you do, but….  work will get really busy and you won’t get very far.

5. Your energy will fade for that thing you love, you will forget to write your blog posts, and you will realize that you must focus on what brings in the money.

4. The alarm will yet again go off.  This time you will not only hear yourself moan, but you will more deeply feel it because you already tried, but failed.

3. You will resign yourself to the fact that you will be doing the same job 10 years from now and there is little hope of changing.

2.  You accept it, and move on.

1.  Then, one day, something will click and you will know that nothing is going to stop you from doing that thing you love.  It may take time, but living in a job you only tolerate will no longer an option.  The passion you will have for that thing you love will overpower any roadblock you come up against and next year’s prediction will be completely different.


The Top 10 Ways You Will Work in the New Year

These are the top 10 ways you will work in the new year

10.  Those boring weekly meetings that put you to sleep and take up your precious time?  You will still go to them.

9. Your email will overflow and be unmanageable and yet you will still miss important information.

8. You will play political games.  Why?  Because that is the only way to get ahead and still avoid the landmines.

7. Your idea of working collaboratively will drive you to keep those weekly status update meetings and use distribution lists for your agenda and meeting minutes.

6. Learning will continue to be an event that happens instead of an intergral part of the way you work.

5. You will put more policies in place that further entrench in your employees mind that you still don’t trust them.

4. Phrases like “BYOD”  “Social Networks”  “Flatten the org”  “Transparency” will continue to be ignored as fads.

3. You only tell your employees what you need to – and no more – for them to do their jobs.

2. Your idea of employee engagement will be to give out that employee of the year award.

1.  And then something will disrupt your company, your team or your position and you will realize that the way you have been working, the way you have been organized, isn’t as effective as it once one.  That the principles you have been taught and practiced in your career are no longer relevant if you want to continue to thrive.

And you will be reach out to those who can show you a new way to work – because you will finally be open to the idea that there might be a better way.  That there are new rules of business and that to thrive, you must change.  Because if you don’t, change will happen, only you won’t have a say in the way it works out.

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