Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
Jeff Sloan, co-founder of Start-up Nation, talked at a Microsoft conference about creating your own business. He is a serial entrepreneur of electronics and various other media.
Jeff and his brother were promoting one of their gadgets at a conference and they bumped into a woman who was juggling, so they started juggling with her. They got to talking with the woman and hashed out a distributorship to sell the juggling balls throughout North America.
Their juggling package was the number 1 item sold for Father’s Day back in 1992.
They positioned their product as “Stress Relief for the Busy Executive.” An item that has been around since the pyramids in Egypt was the best selling product for fathers in the US. Jeff was able to do this because of a relationship that he created with the department stores.
He went into all the major department stores that were willing to sell his juggling kit and attended their crack of dawn staff meetings before the store opened. Jeff told the group that they weren’t going to have a regular meeting.
He dumped the balls out onto the table. As the balls rolled around on the table and fell to the ground, he smiled and explained to them that they were going to learn to juggle.
Imagine a man walking into your staff meeting with this big brown box in his hands and everyone is just waiting to hear what he has to say. You expect him to give some motivational speech about sales quotas, but he just stands there. He opens one flap of the box, pushes the box on its side and balls of every color come rolling out.
The smiles light up on everyone’s faces.
He announces that everyone will learn to juggle during this meeting.
I bet they had a blast with this fantastic team building exercise.
After that meeting, when customers came into the store, the employees had this great memory of how much fun they had learning to juggle. They gladly promoted the product.
The store made gains and so did the employees.
What you can do
So why not get your employees together once a month to learn a new skill? Create one around selling products or learning people skills. Whatever brings people together and makes them laugh.
Not every meeting needs to be business related. You can make the gathering “just plain fun” once every quarter. There should be no strict agenda, just a chance to gather, create and laugh.
You can start off with juggling. Even if no one knows how to juggle, you can watch a video on how to juggle on YouTube. You’ll create laughter, fun and best of all – you will build relationships. You’ll find that some employees will pick it up quickly and start helping their co-workers learn how to juggle.
This will build trust and confidence.
Create a teaching and learning environment and you’ll develop a company that will nurture each others growth.
How about you?
What was the best team building exercise you’ve ever been a part of?
Help a co-worker today and send them to the Happy at Work Project. Have them get started on taking their happiness and success to the next level.
I was honored by Justice E-learning as one of the Top 50 Career Management Bloggers. Check it out. It’s a good list and not just because I’m on it.
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Image courtesy of hans s