Let’s say you’re the CFO of a real estate development company in Houston.

Let’s say you and your team has been working their tails off for many months.

Let’s say it’s an absolutely gorgeous spring day, in the low 70’s, no humidity.

Well, if you’re like this client of mine (who gave me permission to share this story), you’ll get a “wild hair” and close up shop for the afternoon and take everyone to the zoo!

My client, let’s call her “Jane,” and 14 of her staff went on a spur of the moment “field trip” to the zoo. They had an absolute ball! After all, it’s not every work day you get to pet four inch cockroaches and ride a carousel with your colleagues.

Jane also gave some funds to a few of her staffers to buy animal toy gifts from the gift shop. The next day everyone got one of these as a memento for their desk to help them remember the fun they had.

This little outing gave her staff a huge morale boost. They had a great time and got to connect with each other on a personal level. Jane used to do more of this when her staff was smaller, but like many of us, over the years, some of those good habits had slipped.

The next morning, her staff came to her office and gave her flowers and a thank you card. One of them commented that “you throw the best staff meetings!”

If you have a staff, when was the last time you celebrated with them, maybe even for “no good reason”? If you work solo, you still need to get out and have some fun, refresh yourself with something out of the ordinary.

In The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner, one of the best selling leadership books of all time (and my leadership bible), one of the five leadership practices is called “encourage the heart” and one of the two corollary commitments of that practice is to “celebrate the values and victories by creating a spirit of community.”

This is exactly what Jane was doing last week when she took her team to the zoo.

“Community may not be the stuff of ordinary organizations, but it is the stuff of great ones, ones with strong cultures,” said Kouzes and Posner.

What can you do this week to celebrate your company culture and your team?

See you at the zoo!


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