This column is part of Globe Careers’ Leadership Lab series, where executives and experts share their views and advice about leadership and management. Follow us at @Globe_Careers. Find all Leadership Lab stories at tgam.ca/leadershiplab
As the chief executive officer of a company made up almost exclusively of young professionals, I’ve had to find a way to efficiently communicate ideas and changes across every department at our monthly meetings.
At our monthly meetings, called rallies, all departments gather for an hour to review recent growth and triumphs, and to outline the new goals for the next four to five weeks.
Successes and promotions are announced, employees are put in “the hot seat” with the CEO to discuss their roles and goals within the company, and milestones are acknowledged with applause and rewards.
Acknowledging achievements and setting new goals is fine, but if you are trying to create a dynamic culture for your team – while also finding a creative way to present information to them – traditional communication and meeting methods just don’t cut it.
For this reason, I recently implemented company-wide competitions that are based on popular game shows in an effort to engage my employees and get them excited about our work.
Over the past two months, my team has vigorously competed in Jeopardy! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire-style rallies where the questions that i pose as host contain critical pieces of information about the company and our strategy.
By the end of the meeting, everyone is laughing, chanting, stamping their feet, and posing for pictures together in a fit of positive corporate culture. And the winning team members get to brag about their victory until the next rally the following month. Such a strategy is ideal for startups, as it’s an inexpensive way to build camaraderie among your employees and to create momentum that spurs everyone on.
My team knows that working hard is just as important as playing hard. Our company culture is one of focus and professionalism, yes, but also of learning, sharing and having fun. The implementation of game show competitions is the best way to maintain that atmosphere while educating, equipping and empowering the team.
When getting your team involved in this sort of activity, consider the following tips for how to make it fun and productive:
1. Involve others in running the game
If you’re uncomfortable being the office Alex Trebec, consider giving hosting responsibilities to someone who has always dreamed of holding a microphone or enjoys being the centre of attention.
2. Create a different atmosphere
Do something a little different with the lighting, how chairs are arranged and add some music. The ambience can turn a regular meeting space into a Hollywood set.
3. Incorporate sound effects or props
Taking a leaf out of the show business playbook could result in some silliness and ultimately a more engaging activity. Maybe you have a buzzer that needs to be pressed for answering questions. As with most things, there’s an app for that. Sound effects such as background music or theme songs are great ways to keep the energy level up.
4. Throw in questions that teach people something about your industry
Don’t assume that every question you ask needs to be common knowledge within your organization. A handful of questions related to the business you’re in could add some spice and interest to the game. You might even learn a thing or two.
5. Offer a prize
Sometimes bragging rights aren’t enough. Offer the winning team a pizza lunch or let them leave work 30 minutes early one day. You want competition to be friendly but fierce.
David Ciccarelli (@davidciccarelli) is the chief executive officer of London, Ont.-based Voices.com, an online marketplace for voice actors.
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