Today’s post is written by Tim Williams, a 2000 AIM graduate, an adjunct instructor for the AIM Program, and COO of Sesame Communications. We asked Tim to share his thoughts on his experience on organizational culture and team building.
Like many organizations, we at Sesame Communications can sometimes find ourselves interpreting the best path to common goals differently depending upon the lens we have inherited based on our position in the organization. Usually a quick meeting with clarifying questions, scenarios, and use cases can align everyone and get us on the path towards a successful project.
Sometimes, though, it’s important to ensure an alignment of spirit as well as intellect. No matter how tight knit the group, a little time to connect as people and come together around shared experiences can be a foundational element in forming and building an organization’s culture.
This year, our company’s biggest sales event was in New Orleans. After a long day of training and preparation for the upcoming show, we needed to get our team of thirty-four people to a restaurant for a team dinner. We could have all made our way there separately and had the dinner be the shared experience, but that’s a memory that would fade quickly. Trying to create an enduring memory and a strong shared experience, we looked to take advantage of the unique opportunities presented by the venue of New Orleans…so, naturally, we held a parade.
Yes, a parade. Complete with motorcycle police escort, a band, Mardi Gras revelers, and beads. Oh, and me starting the parade as a surprise by riding the escalator into the hotel lobby while drumming out some marching cadences.
No one remembers the dinner, but everyone is still buzzing about the parade and the unifying, galvanizing effect it had on the team. We began the show the next day and delivered our best performance ever from that event—including a few new customers who stopped by because they had seen us marching down the street and figured that’s a company they want to work with.
When it comes to inspiring an organization and achieving stretch goals, clarity of expectations and quality tools are obviously critical, but never underestimate the cultural impact. A little dash of creativity mixed with equal parts spontaneity, fun, and participation can work wonders on anorganization’s psyche, approach, and results.
About Tim Williams
Tim Williams, a 2000 AIM graduate and adjunct professor in the UO Applied Information Management Master’s Degree Program, is COO of Sesame Communications. He combines his passion for technology with his love of organizational culture to lead Sesame to innovative patient management solutions in the dental space and to teach AIM courses touching on organizational development and business process engineering… all while maintaining the ability to lead a mean parade.