Saturday, February 20, 2010

‘One best way to a perfect team?

Incentives, rewards are passé. The new way to boost performance, believes an ad agency, is providing employees with an ‘open’ environment!

While we figure out how our ancestors made the best of naturally available ‘accessories’ like leaves, stones and bones, it isn’t difficult to imagine that for our ape ancestors, the body hair was enough to protect them from the temperature differences. But would you believe us if it was said that perhaps people in the prehistoric era or the great apes could perform their tasks better as a result of being stark naked? Well, a new experiment certainly suggests so! When a design and marketing company, onebestway in UK, wasn’t performing too well and was on the lookout for a way to improve its employee performance, they were “approached by Virgin and asked to take part in an hour-long documentary, filmed over a one week period in June 2009. The objective of the film was not to be naked, but to explore the possibility that they became so bonded as a team that they would be comfortable working naked!”

But does working without a stitch actually boost morale of employees? “It doesn’t boost morale, but it does create a better team. We are closer and we work more quickly because we now feel we have nothing to hide from each other. We speak openly to each other whereas in the past we may have kept things inside, hidden. Additionally, we now have more fun! We have shared something unique and fun so, in a way, the morale is better because we are generally more upbeat and proud of who we are and of what we do,” says Michael Owen, Senior Account Manager and Managing Director, onebestway. If we were to imagine the same experiment being conducted closer home, surely there will be very few takers for this rather radical (to say the least) experiment. But weren’t the employees at onebestway apprehensive too? “Yes there were apprehensions but – to be crystal clear – there was absolutely no convincing and encouraging going on at all,” continues Michael. “The nakedness was never anything more than an exciting and rather scary option. A goal yes, but not one that anyone was encouraged to do beyond what they would naturally want to do for themselves, personally. On the last day of work (with clothes on), people were full of excitement.

They were scared too, as this is a scary thing to do, and no one knew what anyone else was going to do. In fact, no one may have taken their clothes off – this was a possibility. People really ended up enjoying this though, and no one regrets doing it. This experiment was a personal journey for everyone involved. It was not a sexual thing; it was just a liberating and interesting experience. It was difficult to concentrate, but not because people were necessarily looking at each other, but because it is just so unusual. The result of the experiment is that we are faster and braver. We are not afraid to share ideas, thoughts, problems and feelings, and onebestway is a much more adventurous creative agency now.” So, while the world may today hold that professionalism is about clearly drawing a line between one’s personal and professional lives, here the two were intertwined in such a way that nothing that is supposed to be personal, remained personal.

So would such a move really end up in office ‘performances’ improving? Well, we don’t know about that, but there’s at least one sure shot advantage – lower expenditure on work clothes!
For Complete IIPM Article, Click on IIPM Article

Source :
IIPM Editorial, 2009

An IIPM and Professor Arindam Chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist) Initiative

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