Organisational Origami: The Business Fortune Teller

My picture nameGreetings all and welcome once again to Steve's Guide To Productivity For Idiots. Let me rephrase that: You'd have to be an idiot to take my advice on productivity, since I'm so disorganized my productivity estimates are like Shakesperean tragedies: Despite a lot of thought and effort, and lots of talking to myself, everyone usually winds up dead. I got a new job and I'm completely lost. Well, that's unfair. I wouldn't say I'm completely lost, just mostly lost. I'm aware that there are important things going on, but I'm not really sure exactly what they are, or what I should do about them, like a blind-folded man at a nude beach. I just don't get it and it's taking me a while to catch on. I'm assured that this is normal and that I'll eventually get the hang on things, but it's been kind of stressful.

And this got me to thinking: Maybe I need to really look outside the box for my organizational inspiration. Maybe I need to go with a proven technique employed for years by 9 year old girls to determine their friends love lives and future careers. That's right, it's time to break out the fortune-tellers!

My picture name
Anyone who's been a child at some point in their lives will likely remember how the fortune teller works. You fold a piece of paper up several times until you've constructed a device as pictured at left, a fortune teller. Now, I want to be clear, this type of fortune teller is not like those cheesy horoscopes you see in small-town newspapers, or the fortunes in fortune cookies. No, the fortune teller has been proven time and again in countless experiments in classrooms all over the world, where people are supposed to be doing their math assignments.

It also, in my own home, proved exceedingly difficult to make. Yes, I'm ashamed to admit it, but, despite the fact that countless girls too young to open their own bank accounts can build them, I wasn't able to construct a fortune teller. I had all the necessary supplies, paper and scissors. I had the desire. What I lack, sadly, is the mechanical ability. Yes, it's sad but true. I guess it's back to velcro shoes and safety scissors for me.

Still, I think the idea is sound. For those of you who haven't recently been an annoying pre-teen girl, here's how the fortune teller works: You ask the person what their favourite colour is, and then to pick a number between 1 and 8 and you flip the fortune teller around vigorously according to those answers and then lift up the appropriate flap and then you reveal their future to them, something like You're going to travel around the world, or You're going to be famous.

It seems to me that this should translate very easily into the business world. Picture the following scenario: The board has convened an emergency session to discuss an impending hostile takeover. Everyone concerned has given their reports and the final word goes to you. There is a palpable sense of worry in the room, almost an air of desperation and all eyes turn to you, the man, hopefully, with the plan. The chief looks in your direction, the big man placing his hopes for himself and his company all on you, and says, "Jenkins, I hope to hell you've got something up your sleeve, or we're in serious trouble."

You look away, down at your briefcase and close your eyes for a moment to clear your thoughts, gently massaging your temples. Then you open your eyes and your briefcase and rifle among your papers for a moment, searching for what you need. You pull out three small objects in your closed hand and hold them under the table.

You look up grimly at the chairman of the board, a look of stealy determination and concern on your face, and say in a gravely voice, "Boss, what's your favourite colour?" "Um, blue." You move the fortune teller back and forth 4 times. "And pick a number between 1 and 8." "Uuuuuum... 7?" Again, you move the fortune teller.

You slowly and carefully put two small pink hairclips on either side of your hair and, grasping the fortune teller in your hand, you rise to reveal that you're wearing a plaid mini-skirt and pink shoes. Pealing back the panel of the fortune teller, you read what it says, and looking up at the astonished chairman you say, "Wow boss, like, bad news man. It looks like you're going to be forced out in a hostile takeover and be indicted. Tough luck. Anybody else want to try?!"

Honestly, I don't know what you people would do without me to keep you on track. Well, that's all I can do for you this week. Until next week, you will receive important insight about a business opportunity from a mysterious woman with terrible 80's hair.

Steve Sharam
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once again, great work

once again, great work steve. i'd hafta say this is my favorite of all yer articles. and that says a lot considering i was the subjectter of one.

does a wave!
... who was one of those who spent countless hours making all sorts of sizes and styles of these fortune telling devices (and still uses tarot for some decisions...


Thanks. Yeah, I didn't think it was possible to find a more interesting topic than you, but there it is. Wonders will never cease, apparently.

I've been unceasingly amazed at how people have actually managed to take my crazy suggestions and use them for real productivity, so let's see them try with this one. Mwahahaha and so forth.

I don't use tarot any more for decisions, too complicated. I simply throw the I someone! That seems to solve most problems, actually. It's a heavy book:)

Steve Sharam

Deciphering Symbology at Work...

Interesting. My current research examines the relationship between the ninja/pirate archetypes in Annie Guru's theory of Rotational Equilibrium. Under normal circumstances I would employ a questionnaire, zap a few students in the fMRI scanner or just misquote Roger Sperry. However this Organisational Origami Fortune Teller of your's is a godsend. Granted I will have to ask one of the young women from engineering to knock me one up but I will still have enough funding left over to buy a giant chocolate gateau... :D

BTW. Try not to worry about your job, young Steve, the key is confidence and pseudspeak. No one really has the foggiest idea what modern art is so you can say what you like and if you do come a cross a Titian on your wardrobe door watch out for bad tempered monks and men in Tweed jackets. ;)

But what about the other 25%?

Soembody once said that 75% of life is showing up. Yeah, but the other 25% is a lot harder. No, it's true, everything comes together in time, though I honestly hadn't thought of zapping people. Sadly, my art gallery deal with traditional pieces, so I actually have to have some idea what I'm talking about. Life isn't always fair.

Steve Sharam

I confirm also it is my

I confirm also it is my preffereed article. And it made me ROTFL (Or at least almost because I'm at work and I'd better keep quiet but it was difficult to stay still).

Glad to hear it:)

That's what we strive for around here. DIYPlanner: Making you more efficient at not being caught not doing your work.

It's what we do people.

Steve Sharam