I called a sales meeting in the middle of the month. We were behind budget and my people were expecting me to pull out one of the latest video training series. Things were tense. I did pull out a video, but it wasn't the customary training video. It was the movie "Tommy Boy" (still one of the best sales training videos on the market!) starring the late Chris Farley. I ordered pizza and soft drinks. The reps were surprised, and it immediately loosened things up. They went home that night and came back the next morning more fired up than I had ever seen them.
We eventually hit our sales goal that month because our people seemed more relaxed than ever. I think it was also about their leader being more relaxed, since how you control your energy as a leader is reflected in the performance of your people. I use the aforementioned movie, and other movie clips, to drive home the relaxation-creates-focus point in seminars. I also show a four-to-five-minute video before our sales meetings to loosen everyone up and get them in the right frame of mind. And I rotate the responsibility of hunting down good sales meeting videos amongst the reps. Many of the managers I work with are now constantly on the hunt for Sean Luce-approved movie clips to show at their next seminar. It's almost impossible to get people motivated or to get their creative juices flowing without allowing them the luxury of screwing up, laughing, and having fun.
Celebrate your screw-ups, have fun, and get back to work.
Here is a fun test, reprinted with permission from Trainingmag.com, that you can take to determine whether you are having enough fun at your company or not. There are no right or wrong answers, although this should give you some ideas on how to lighten things up back at the office.
Check off the answer in each category that best describes your workplace. Add up your points and check out how your company rates based on the scale at the end of the test.
Our company has casual-dress days from time to time. (1 point)
Our company has a casual-dress day at least once a week. (2 points)
Wearing a suit in our company means you're either going to a funeral or you're interviewing for another job. (3 points)
Our CEO wears a gorilla mask. (4 points)
We don't wear clothes to work. (7 points)
We can post "Ziggy" or "Family Circus" cartoons on our interior office walls. (1 point)
We can post "Dilbert" and "Far Side" cartoons on our exterior office walls. (2 points)
Cartoons are included in meeting agendas, memos, and many other pieces of official corporate/company communication. (3 points)
Our sales manager has hysterically funny cartoons tattooed on his/her back. (6 points)
Mild, nondisruptive pranks are tolerated once a year on April 1. (1 point)
Whoopee cushions are allowed year-round. (2 points)
No one thinks twice when Joe's office is completely reassembled in the women's rest room and he works there all day. (4 points)
Food fights are encouraged in the office or company cafeteria. (5 points)
We bury our general manager in some kind of wet food like cottage cheese at every major gathering. (8 points)
We have a winter holiday party every year. (1 point)
We have our winter holiday party in July every year. (2 points)
We celebrate Groundhog Day. (3 points)
Our Bastille Day celebrations include a re-enactment of the storming of the prison. (4 points)
Our winter holiday party occurs on a cruise ship in the Caribbean and lasts five days. (10 points)
5. Ice Cream
Our health plan does not expressly forbid us to eat ice cream. (1 point)
Ice cream is allowed on the company premises. (2 points)
Ice cream is often available during special events. (3 points)
A serious supply of ice cream and toppings is always available to employees. (5 points)
Ice cream is allowed in performance-appraisal meetings and may be used as a weapon by either party. (7 points)
10 or less: Check your pulse. Take two rubber chickens and call a humor consultant in the morning.
11-17: Under the fun margin. Lighten up and go out for some ice cream.
18-23: Pretty good, but have you hugged your boss lately?
24-29: The correct balance between work and fun.
30-38: Get back to work. This ain't South Park!
Sean Note: Focus always follows fun!
Sean Luce is the Head National Instructor for the Luce Performance Group and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.