Giving Our Teams a Boost
2020 has been a rough year to say the least. I have heard some people say that they wish we could rewind and have a do-over, which might be okay. At this point though, I am thinking, “lets just wrap it up and make 2021 much better.” Who would have thought that a virus would bring so much chaos, concern, and stress to 2020! I think 2020 has taken its toll on both business owners and teams, more than we sometimes realize. Working remote is not all that some make it out to be, and in these times, even having everyone in the office has its challenges.
With that in mind, I think it bears some thought as to how we can lead our teams positively. How can we inspire enthusiasm and engagement in this strange environment? I would like to relate a story of something we did here at CTaccess, because it really underlined this need to create enthusiasm within the team and get outside of our normal routine.
Over two years ago, we set some aggressive goals for customer ticket response, plan, and resolution time. There was lots of concern at the time about meeting these goals. It really changed who we are, as we found ways to meet those goals. At the beginning of December 2020, we passed 100 straight weeks of meeting our goals and taking our service to our customers up another notch. At this point, I will pause to give a HUGE round of applause to the team. It has been an awesome ride and ALL their doing! We could not have made it without everyone staying focused and taking action! We started with agreement to try this new way of doing things and ended by consistently crushing it!
To celebrate this important success, we had talked about how we would celebrate. Maybe a weekend company trip, a full day outing or something else fun together. Who knew it would be in the middle of a pandemic! Because none of those things seemed to be doable, we had to find a new way to celebrate our big achievement. Our Admin team was on it!
We had joked around about going on a cruise together to celebrate our success, and so they decided we would do a virtual cruise. They planned a weeklong virtual cruise, and it was pretty awesome! The team is still talking about it. Each morning we were greeted by the “cruise director” at the door dressed for the port we would be in that day. We got a boarding pass at the start; in Hawaii we were greeted with a Lei to wear and an Aloha. We visited many ports, and in true cruise fashion, ate way too much food. Take out Chinese in Hong Kong, barbeque in Honolulu, Italian food in Rome, smoothies in Cozumel and more. There was also an event or competition each day. We had some rad costumes for decades day. The Hawaiian shirt competition brought out some seriously awful attire, and the captains of the ship also sported captains’ hats. We even played some bingo and Jeopardy!.
It was easy at the start of all this to wonder, if this distraction could dull our ability to get work done, or create a lack of focus, but it turns out that it was worth it. Celebrating together was great, and it created a shared experience that really brought us out of the stagnant routine. I found myself seriously missing being greeted at the door each morning!
This experience got me thinking just a bit about how we all could use a bit of an uplift, and how it might do us all some good to have a little fun with our work family, whether we are in person or remote. While the pandemic might increase our need to do something fun and get out of the pandemic funk, I think we often exist in a little too much of a work mode that is all getting stuff done and not enough fun.
What can we do to inject more fun into our work life? I recently set a daily reminder to prompt me to be enthusiastic. Sounds a little lame doesn’t it. Why did I do this, you might ask? Because I tend to be a focused guy. I bore in on something and drive myself to the finish line. I sometimes shut out everything around me. The reminder to find something to be enthusiastic about and express myself about is a good one!
One of the other things we have been doing in our company standup meeting is to inject a joke into the twice a week meeting. This is harder than you might think, and sometimes the groans create a chorus, but it is definitely true that smiling is good for you and laughter is like medicine.
By the way, did you hear about the son who asked his dad about how humans came to be on the earth? The dad replied that God created Adam and Eve, and we descended from them. The son was not quite sure, so he went to get his mom’s opinion. She explained that over billions of years and through evolution from monkeys we humans came to be. The son went back to his dad and said “Dad, what gives, mom says we evolved from monkeys!”. His dad quietly replied, “Well, she was just talking about her side of the family!” …and I can hear all the groans now!
We are all feeling the weight of the pandemic, so let’s be purposeful about stepping outside of our deep concern and have a little fun. Fun may look a little different these days, but to be honest, most of us could have a little more fun even when things are normal. So, find a way to brighten your team’s day. Tell a joke, bring in food, have a Hawaiian shirt competition, or just do something to make someone smile! Let’s go into 2021 with a smile!
Scott Hirschfeld is the President of CTaccess, an Elm Grove IT support company that has been helping small businesses stop focusing on IT and getting back to doing business since 1990. Under his leadership CTaccess provides the business minded approach of larger IT companies with the personalized touch of the smaller ones. Connect with Scott on LinkedIn.