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On zombies... or... in defense of silly

by Karin Hurt November 4, 2011

This Halloween, one of the call centers I support sent me an awesome pic, reps everywhere dressed as zombies... Awesome costumes, big fun... And I already knew the tag line..."best results in months."  Of course.

The thing is, I come from a long lineage of leveraging costumes as a leadership methodology. Okay... Maybe that is an exaggeration... But I do have awesome (and apparently inspiring) memories of my dad dressing up every Halloween at work as his current project... wackiest of which was "date a warehouse" (data warehouse)... You get the picture...

I have spent much of my career finding excuses to wear wigs, sing songs, and inspire others to do the same.  My "best of" pics lining the walls of my office include my entire leadership team dressed as the gang from Star Wars, Diana Ross and the Supremes, and other "you just had to be there" moments.  As I have grown to more senior levels of the business, I have gotten more of the "just be careful" look, but then support as what seems crazy, gets an inspired response..

A few reflections on why this works out,..

- Costumes are silly, and silly is fun.  We all need that.
- Fun makes us real... Real creates connections... Connections inspire awesome customer experiences.
- Teams long for a leader to show they are vulnerable... Nothing says exposed like a blue wig...
- Risk taking is an important leadership competency, it's a bit gutsy to ask your team to follow you into a costume... maybe it will make the next risk easier to take
- Silly creates lasting team experiences which draw the team together... "Remember the time she had us all...."(they may complain, but I guarantee the guy who resisted the most has a picture of that day in his office)
- it says fun is good... Let's make more... And send me your pics...

I would love to hear your stories...