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Six Words: Stronger Workplace, Lotsa Fun

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Written by Dan Hoffman

Almost every business owner I talk to lately has experienced a tough year.  Staffs were broiling, whining, anxious, stressed.  Cuts hurt trust.  And trust is the foundation of effective teams, so that's not good.  I thought I’d repost this blog entry to give some props to Larry Smith ( who is building a business around a fast and effective exercise we did a few months ago.

Teammates need to get to know each other, so they can have candid relationships.  So we're back down to the foundation of Pat Lencioni's Pyramid from Five Dysfunctions of Teams.  When they do, they care more about each other's approval, ask for help quicker, and hold each other accountable … and so up the pyramid to getting results.

I'd send everyone to a rope's course if we had time.  (Or if they wanted to, or if there was a decent ropes course within 2 hours of Manhattan, or if it worked over video conferencing for all of our offices.)

So we brought in the world's expert in encapsulating someone's story in the shortest time possible.  Larry Smith, Editor-in-Chief of Smith Magazine, web pioneer, within the first 16 people to do a deal with a young Twitter, journalist who's cranked out pieces for ESPN, Rolling Stone, Slate, and the editor of the NY Times Bestseller "Not Quite What I Was Planning" - an entirely crowd-sourced book of Six-Word Memoirs.

One hour, everyone, six words, sharing.  We learned some great stuff about each of our 100 staff in NYC, Rochester, Chicago, and Australia.  It was hilarious.  Now we have a quiz every day challenging you to match the memoir to the employee.  We've expanded to have everyone use their FLIPs to make video bios and are going to label them on our portal with their six-word tag. And we got to spend a little time having people write six-word elevator pitches for M5.  Here are some memoirs, some staff photos and videos of the event:

Erin - Rainy days always make me smile.

Kamal - Lazy guy stuck in workaholics body.

Chris - Forced community service taught me plenty.

Raquel - Wild red stars laugh with rum!

Christina - Loving goth chicks with pink hair.

Franko - Mad science, unconstrained panic, love work.

Demetri - Gay with no fashion sense - damn!

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