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spike bullet February, 1997 - The Lighter Side of Work

ISO 9000 - Fun Standard (update version 1997.1)
The Lighter Side of Work - Reminders for practicing the Fun Standard

ISO 9000 - Fun Standard

spike bullet Author's Statement:

Permission granted to copy, distribute, modify and reuse in any form. Send additions and requests for the latest version to the author. Hope you enjoy!

Use the force,

William Stewart (seven [at]

spike bulletISO 9000 "Fun" Standard

Document number: 37IWS

Date Effective: Today

Owner: Everyone

Approved by: No One

spike bullet 1.0 Purpose

Standards are being written in organizations around the world for manufacturing, documentation, software development and other processes.

However, success and failure in most organizations is most dependent on employee satisfaction. Employees who describe their work as actually being "fun" are several times as productive as those who, for example, describe their jobs as "unrelieved, living hell without the upside".

This document identifies activities to increase the chances of having fun in the workplace. Addition of the final ingredient, the actual "fun" itself, can only be done by you.

spike bullet 2.0 Definitions

  • Fun: Consisting of animation, bliss, buoyancy, cavorting, cheer, chuckles, delight, ecstasy, frivolity, frolicking, gags, gaiety, gladness, glee, happiness, jests, jokes, joviality, joy, laughter, light-heartedness, merriment, mirth, play, pleasantries, quips, rapture, sport, tranquility and witticism.
  • spike bullet 3.0 Process

    The organization shall be predisposed to cooperation, tolerance and goodwill.

    spike bullet 3.1. Managers will:

    • Define their job as an employee of the rest of their organization.
    • Provide all resources required by staff to do their jobs.
    • Mandate attendance at no more than four hours of meetings a week. Call regular meetings in the late afternoon. Always provide an agenda.
    • Ensure that progress reports require less than thirty minutes a week to complete.
    • Place the highest priority on planning to make overtime as unnecessary as possible.
    • Assign responsibility, authority and accountability as a single package.
    • Make a regular practice of MBWA (management by walking around).
    • Have lunch one-on-one with a junior member of the staff at least once a month.
    • Make it known that promotions will be based purely on merit, plus proof that at least one subordinate can do the candidate's job as well as they can.
    • Give credence to bottom-up estimates, refraining from imposition of unsupported schedules.
    • Provide a feedback mechanism for employees to communicate to the top levels.
    • Take action on constructive suggestions.
    • Ensure that marketing positively and realistically represents organizational capabilities.
    • Share credit for all successes. Take responsibility for all failures.
    • Implement profit-sharing with all levels of the organization.

    spike bullet 3.2. Employees will:

    • Place first priority on fulfillment of the goals of the whole organization, refraining from construction of individual empires unrelated to business goals.
    • Respect all personnel independent of their area of expertise.
    • Share their knowledge with other personnel.
    • Never employ technical double-talk.
    • Say they don't know when they don't know.
    • Write documents so they can be understood. Prize brevity. Attain clarity.
    • Relate to their boss the way they would like employees to relate to them if they were the boss.

    spike bullet 3.3. Human Resources will:

    • Ensure that all personnel receive at least three weeks of vacation a year.
    • Enable at least three weeks of unused vacation to be carried over from one year to the next.
    • Facilitate flexible working hours. Allow overtime hours to be taken in time off.
    • Provide all personnel with adequate medical, dental and disability insurance.
    • Repay expenses within three business days.
    • Ensure that jerks, meanies and evil spawn of slime receive corrective action, followed by psychological counseling if required. Unresponsive cases will be allocated to peripheral groups, where they are unable to do damage to the rest of the organization and have to work exclusively with each other until reformed.
    • Ensure that all personnel receive at least two weeks of training annually.

    spike bullet 3.4. Facilities will:

    • Ensure that all personnel can see at least three live plants and one outside window from their working area.
    • Ensure that bathroom stalls are at least three feet wide, toilet paper has a roughness level less than plywood and water taps stay open at least ten seconds after being turned on.
    • Make printable white-boards and markers in at least three colors available to all staff.
    • Provide all personnel with a computer no more than two generations old, a word processing, spreadsheet and graphics package, email, news group and world wide web access to the Internet.
    • Use only incandescent or full-spectrum fluorescent lights throughout the office area.

    spike bullet3.5 Support Staff will:

    • Eliminate bureaucracy and interdepartmental turf wars.
    • Facilitate smooth functioning of the organization in all aspects for which they have responsibility.
    • Shorten cycle times and decrease the complexity of processes.

    spike bullet 3.6. All personnel will:

    • Strive for excellence and continuous quality improvement in all aspects of their jobs.
    • Maintain a sense of humor.
    • Voices will never be raised - occasional laughter excepted.
    • Never promise results that cannot be delivered.
    • Provide notification as far in advance as possible when circumstances prevent fulfillment of a commitment.
    • Never spread harmful gossip about other personnel.
    • Maximize discussion of co-workers positive aspects.
    • Respect all co-workers as human beings of equal value.
    • Be gender, disability, religion and color blind.
    • Never try to increase their sense of self esteem by decreasing that of others.
    • Refrain from interrupting other members of the organization.
    • Actually listen to the opinions of others.
    • Change their minds without hesitation when improved ideas are advanced by others.
    • Refrain from complaining, making constructive suggestions for improvement instead.
    • Congratulate others at every opportunity. Mention specifics.
    • Erase white-boards at the end of each meeting.
    • Never come to work with a contagious or infectious illness.
    • Take coffee from the second pot. Make a new pot when the second pot is empty.
    • Smile at least twice an hour for at least five seconds each time.

    spike bullet 4.0 Exit Criteria

    • This process ends when all personnel look forward to coming to work at the start of each day and leave with a real sense of joy, self-worth and achievement.

    Failure to have fun will not be tolerated!!

    spike bullet 5.0 Version Update

    • This issue supersedes all previous versions and takes precedence over constitutions.

    spike bullet6.0 References

    The following references are applicable to this document.

    1. Scott Adams; The Dilbert Principle.

    2. Norman Augustine; Augustine's Laws.

    3. C. Northcote Parkinson; The Law.

    Please send additions, comments and requests for the latest version to William Stewart at seven [at]

    Thanks, William for promoting and spreading laughter! Truly, laughter is the medicine of the gods!

    The Lighter Side of Work

    spike bullet Anthony's Law of Force

    Don't force it, get a larger hammer.

    spike bullet Brooks' Law

    Adding manpower to a late software project makes it later.

    spike bullet Cann's Axiom

    When all else fails, read the instructions.

    spike bullet Clarke's Third Law

    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

    spike bullet Cropp's Law

    The amount of work done varies inversely with the amount to be done.

    spike bullet Cutler Webster's Law

    There are two sides to every argument unless a person is personally involved, in which case there is only one side.

    spike bullet Finagle's Law

    Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it makes it worse.

    spike bullet Gummidge's Law

    The amount of expertise varies in inverse proportion to the smaller of statements understood by the general public.

    spike bullet Gilb's Laws of Unreliability

    1. Computers are unreliable but humans are even more unreliable. Corollary: At the source of every error that is blamed on the computer you will find at least two human errors including the error of blaming it on the computer.
    2. Any system that depends on human reliability is unreliable.
    3. The only difference between the fool and the criminal who attacks a system is that the fool attacks unpredictably and on a broader front.
    4. Undetectable errors are infinite in variety in contrast to detectable errors, which by definition are limited.
    5. Investment in reliability will increase until it exceeds the probable cost of errors, or until someone insists on getting some useful work done.

    spike bullet Gumperson's Laws

    1. The outcome of a given desired probability will be inverse to the degree of desirability.
    2. After a salary raise, you will have less money at the end of the month than you had before.
    3. The more a recruit knows about a given subject, the better chance they have to be assigned to something else.

    spike bullet Harvard Law

    Under the most rigorously controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, volume, humidity, and other variables, the organism will do as it damn well pleases.

    spike bullet Heller's Law of Management

    The first myth of management is that it exists.

    spike bullet Hoare's Law of Large Programs

    Inside every large program is a small program struggling to get out.

    spike bullet Imhoff's Law of Bureaucracy

    The organization of any bureaucracy is very much like a septic tank - the REALLY big chunks always rise to the top.

    spike bullet Law of Computer Programming

    1. Any given program when running, is obsolete.
    2. Any given program costs more and takes longer.
    3. If a program is useful, it will have to be changed.
    4. If a program is useless, it will have to be documented.
    5. Any given program will expand to fill all available memory.
    6. The value of a program is proportional to the weight of its output.
    7. Program complexity grows until it exceeds the capability of the programmer who must maintain it.
    8. Make it possible for programmers to write programs in English and you will find that programmers cannot write in English.

    spike bullet Meskimen's Law of Quality

    There's never time to do it right, but always time to do it over.

    spike bullet Murphy's Law of Thermodynamics

    Things get worse under pressure.

    spike bullet Murphy's Third Law

    In any field of scientific endeavor, anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

    spike bullet Murphy's Fourth Law

    If there is a possibility of several things going wrong, the one that will cause the most damage will be the one to go wrong.

    spike bullet 90% Rule of Project Schedules

    The first ninety percent of the task takes ninety percent of the time and the last ten percent takes the other ninety percent.

    spike bullet Osborn's Law of Consistency

    Variables won't, constants aren't.

    spike bullet O'Toole's Commentary on Murphy's Laws

    Murphy was an optimist.

    spike bullet Rudin's Law of Crisis Management

    In a crisis that forces a choice to be made among alternative courses of action, most people will choose the worst one possible.

    spike bullet Rule of Accuracy

    When working toward the solution of a problem, it always helps you to know the answer.

    spike bullet Sattinger's Law

    It works better if you plug it in.

    spike bullet Sevarenid's Law

    The chief cause of problems is solutions.

    spike bullet Shawl's Principle

    Build a system that even a fool can use and only a fool will want to use it.

    spike bullet The Law of Possibility

    If it happens, it must be possible.

    spike bullet The Ordering Principle

    Those supplies necessary for yesterday's experiment must be ordered by no later that noon tomorrow.

    spike bullet Truths of Management

    1. Think before you act; it's not your money.
    2. All good management is the expression of one great idea.
    3. No executive devotes effort to proving themselves wrong.
    4. Cash in must exceed cash out.
    5. Management capability is always less than the organization actually needs.
    6. Either an executive can do their job or they can't.
    7. If sophisticated calculations are needed to justify an action, don't do it.
    8. If you are doing something wrong, you will do it badly.
    9. If you are attempting the impossible, you will fail.
    10. The easiest way of making money is to stop losing it.

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    Page updated: May 11, 2023    

    The 10th Need: Mischief    :)

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