Red Nose Day was May 26. When I was asked if I’d take pies to the face from my employees for donations, I didn’t hesitate to say yes. In fact, I liked that Comic Relief calls Red Nose Day a FUN-raiser, I am an advocate for fun in the workplace, always have been.
When I agree to take a pie to the face, I’m not just raising money for a great cause, I’m letting my staff know I’m human and approachable. Come on, what’s a better stress reliever after a long morning than tossing a pie at the boss?
This is my way to show everyone at Global Connections that I’m down to earth. I’m just an average guy with a job to do, like they have a job to do. No one is better or different than anyone else. We’re all part of the same team we just have different roles. Just because I have those three CEO letters after my name doesn’t make me intimidating or scary. I want everyone to feel like they can smash a pie right in my kisser.
Sometimes, you’ve got to put on a bra and skirt when everyone needs a pick-me-up. Let me explain.
A few years back, we were having a brutal winter in Kansas City—I’m talking three to four degrees below day after day. The weather was so nasty everyone had the winter blues. So I put on a coconut bra, a grass skirt (with shorts of course) and flip flops and hosted a Parrot Party. I greeted staff in that getup outside as they came to work handing out donuts. We barbecued burgers for lunch outside, too, and had ourselves a luau in January. Put a bright twist on a cold snap, lifting spirits in the name of good fun.
And nothing can lighten a load or break tension faster than a good old fashioned prank. I’m known to welcome new staff members with a strategically placed fart machine. I walk around the departments telling jokes to people daily. I’m also a master practical joker—filling cubicles up with packing peanuts, organizing snowball ambushes in the hallways, tin foiling office supplies—you really never know what I could be up to around Global Connections!
Why would I do all of this? To keep the place fun.
Should you do this? Well I don’t know.
I’m self-taught at what I do. I didn’t start my career in Corporate America. When I started Global Connections in 1996, we were casual Friday every day before Casual Friday was a thing—being based in the Midwest that says a lot about how different the culture was back then.
I can’t say our way is better or claim to know the best way to run a business. There are companies way bigger and more successful than mine that are suit and tie. For me, I like the casual, open door policies I’ve put into place. It’s what I envision for my company—a welcoming, crazy and fun atmosphere people like to come to every day.
This is how I chose to live my life. Complete with pies, parrot parties and pranks.
This article was original posted on Tom Lyons on LinkedIn.