Follow the orders and DIE..

Avoid the Corporate Zombie Syndrome


Glazed eyes, droopy shoulders, aversion to natural lighting, a permanent butt print in your office chair

A serious condition is spreading like fireweed across corporate America. The symptoms include glazed-over eyes, droopy shoulders, cramped hands, aversion to natural lighting, and a permanent butt print in your office chair. This condition is called “Corporate Zombie Syndrome.” It can strike when one spends far more time looking at a computer than not, or hasn’t talked to a real co-worker—except through WebEx meetings—in months. But don’t worry, there is a simple cure that can alleviate these symptoms and get you out of your corporate zombie state. That cure is to get out there!


The technology age that we live in provides everything imaginable at our fingertips, which creates an environment by which we can do many jobs without leaving a desk. There are days when I am quite productive without leaving my office, or even my chair. Although, some very important components of your professional career are lost when you hide behind your computer screen, so it’s important to make sure you take the time to get out there to advance your career.

Don’t eat alone. It is a common scene in many businesses—people eating lunch hunched over their computers, dripping mustard in their keyboards, and trying to type with one hand while eating with the other. This type of rushed food frenzy is not only bad for your digestive tract, but bad for your professional life as well. While it is OK to eat lunch at your desk when you are on a tight deadline, make a habit of taking the time to eat lunch outside of the office with co-workers, prospective clients, your boss, or your team. Everyone has to eat lunch. Why not make this a time to build rapport with the people whom you work with or for?

Be visible. If you are hiding in your office, you will definitely not have a random chance encounter that will lead to great business or networking opportunities. While the chance of meeting someone you could help or who could help you varies depending on where you go, there is at least a possibility of a fantastic chance encounter occurring, but only if you leave your office.

While working in your office, be visible by keeping your door open. People will more likely come in and talk to you without feeling they are disturbing you. If you, like many professionals nowadays, work from home, switch up your scene every now and then by going to a coffee shop near a business park to get your work done. When you are visible, you are accessible to the opportunities that the world has in store for you.

Be proactive. Getting out there is not just about passively waiting for opportunities to arrive at your doorstep. Be proactive by getting involved in organizations. Project managers can do this by approaching the local Project Management Institute (PMI) chapter and seeing how they can help. The more you help others succeed in their initiatives, the more likely you are to succeed. Give this idea a try and offer to help out at the very next local PMI chapter meeting you have—you might be surprised by the results.

Build your social capital. As a society, we need to be more aware of the forms of capital that are accessible to us besides monetary capital. Social capital, which is made up of the people you know and the connection you have with them, is a very important source of capital that you need to cultivate throughout your career.  

The New Zombie Society Need !!


2013/05/06 · by Karel Nijs · in Change management, Creativity & innovation. ·

Corporate zombiesYou have probably heard of the corporate athlete by Jim Loehr. The HBR article describes how you can keep yourself fit at corporate level. They give tips like taking breaks, clearing your head, and physical exercises.

So we know that there are fit and unfit corporate athletes, but I would like to add another employee type, the corporate zombie. Corporate zombies are the day walkers among the others. The ones who are at work, but are not really at work. You probably know a colleague who acts just like this.

Are you a corporate zombie?

  • Take the test below.
  • You work from nine to quarter before five. The last quarter is dedicated to looking or waiting at the time-clock.
  • You only follow your job description. Everything else is not your concern.
  • You are known for your idea killers.
  • The last training you followed was obliged by your team leader.
  • Initiative is for others.
  • You like to complain processes and procedures, but hate it to participate when there are initiatives to solve it.
  • You are known for your skepticism with corporate change projects.
  • You best discussions are the gossip sessions in the coffee corner.
  • Before giving your opinion, you first look to your left and right to check if anyone else is listening.
  • Do you recognize at lease five of these characteristics? In that case it’s time for a change!

Some tips to overcome zombieness

  • Are you sure doing the right job? Check your talents, find your passion.
  • Work at your enthusiasm and motivation:
  • Find purpose in your job. Even if you don’t like what you are doing right now.
  • Evaluate your day. Write down one thing that went good.
  • Ask more autonomy to fill in your day job.
  • Unlock your creativity. Participate in creativity exercises or games.
  • Engage in after-work events. Get to know your colleagues on another level.
  • Avoid using idea killers (eg. like “yes, but…”), but see through the idea and discover its possibilities.
  • Find a mentor, explain your situation and plan a weekly meeting where you discuss the passed week.

To end with a quote:

Do or do not. There is no try. – Yoda, Star Wars

Meaning Is the Antidote to Corporate Zombies


We've all seen the glassy-eyed, open-mouthed and wildly carnivorous creatures roaming around. No, I'm not referring to extras on The Walking Dead; I'm talking about your co-workers. Despite productivity levels reaching an all-time high, morale is flagging and more and more people are just going through the motions. There are fewer people doing more work which leads to fewer breaks, longer hours and less sleep. Factor in the "always on" business culture due to technology tools and you have the recipe for "presenteeism" where hordes of employee zombies wander through the hallways of offices around the country. Reanimating these dormant personalities may not be easy but it can be done. One of the most effective strategies: give them a purpose.

Money has been proven to be a short-lived benefit, and according to a great economics study from Daniel Pink's book Drive can even have an inverse effect on employee motivation for knowledge workers. Additionally, younger generations are shifting the balance from monetary focus to other rewards like work-life balance, recognition and autonomy. To be clear, money is important and employers should compensate their workers fairly enough to take the issue off the table entirely. However, the "carrot and stick" business mentality is nearing the end of its usefulness. Instead, we need to find ways to help our employees find meaning in and passion for their work again.

Instilling engaging processes is easier said than done but here are some guidelines to help in this endeavor:

Employees are only as Engaged as their Managers

Dynamic, eloquent founders and managers are an absolute must in the office. Management must be clear on the company's mission and vision. People will not work hard and smart for businesses that are only focused on lining their pockets. In order to attract the right type of people and have them execute well, management must clearly define the pathos and goals of its business to inspire employees. There has to be a larger message that helps guide the company's decisions. In McKinsey & Company's "Increasing the 'Meaning Quotient' of Work," authors Susie Cranston and Scott Keller recommend businesses create their mission around one of four areas:

Society - "We will make the world a better place to live"
Customer - "We are going to change the way the world buys cars"
The Working Team - "We are going to be the best place to work for marketers"
Themselves - "We are going to invest significant resources to aid your professional development and growth"

Trust Your Employees

Rather than oppress knowledge workers with the always on workplace, use it to your advantage by enabling autonomy. The 9-5 work day is standard throughout corporate America but can be counterproductive. Production-oriented goals are much more effective than simply throwing man hours at a project. Forward-thinking companies are recognizing this and shifting from "owning" an employee's time to "owning" the result. Allowing people to work where and when they want is not only possible, but more productive.

The mental component of this tactic cannot be understated as it gives employees a huge boost as they feel enabled and empowered to do their jobs how, when and where they do them best. Of course, managers will need to know their employees and censure those that cannot handle this kind of responsibility but it stands to reason you would likely not want to employ people that could not handle that responsibility.

Foster Sparks, Not Wet Blankets

This goes beyond a friendly staff and warm-toned paint on the walls to more of the emotional state of the business. Are people mocked when they ask questions or propose big ideas? Does your organization adhere to a strict hierarchy where managers parse out action items and do not take feedback from their staff? Businesses with these types of toxic environments create 'worker bees', i.e. people that can perform mundane tasks when they are asked and deliver exactly what they were asked to do, but do not provide any extra value to the company. These clock punchers feel disenfranchised and must be given the opportunity to communicate as equals to their managers and peers so they are continually developing their skills towards advancements within the company.

When it comes down to it, avoiding presenteeism and encouraging engagement comes down to culture. Cultures are not easy to create but can be very easy for a few bad apples to destroy. Ensure your employees are aligned around a common goal that gives them meaning and sense of purpose. Ensure that managers are engaged and have the skills to engage their employees and recognize the signs when an individual begins to slip into "zombie mode." Voluntary one-on-one mentoring programs are also helpful in establishing a baseline of trust and respect for employees. Junior staff can learn the ropes and have a resource at the company to voice their concerns and struggles outside of their reporting structure, while more experienced workers can gain another sense of purpose by sharing their experiences and advising newer employees on how to affect positive change. Fully engaging every employee is certainly not easy however, when it comes to bottom line results I can think of nothing more important or profitable for the company.

Corporate Zombies Lets Fight

Nice Articule

Nice articule about Corporate Zombies.