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3 months ago

Want Seriously Good Work? Hire The Team Who Laughs.

By Morgan Moran

Who would you rather slog through a tough project with – Kevin Hart or Christian Bale?

Humor is one of the most powerful forms of emotional expression and team connection. A spontaneous snort/organ-splitting laugh/doubled-over wheeze all have the ability to leap-frog hierarchies and cultural divides to say, “I get you. And I got you.”

Gobs of scientific benefits support LOL-ing at work:

  • Lower depression and anxiety
  • Increased beta-endorphins for a healthier immune system
  • Deeper community amongst team-members
  • Less burnout, more loyal and productive workers

So how do we encourage the haha that leads to the aha at Flagrant?

Using Improv To Sneak-Attack Team Building

Flagrant partners with Jessie Shternshus of The Improv Effect to bring down employee walls and facilitate open conversations that otherwise wouldn't happen on their own.

Often when we have non-work conversations with work colleagues, we grow closer, more trusting and more accountable to one another. Jessie has helped tense executives laugh and cry together at Groupon, Getty, Crayola and the United Nations.

Telling One Word Stories

What it is: An improv technique that tells a spontaneous group story, one word and one person at a time.

Why we do it: Aside from loving an absurd story, this exercise trains us to think in sprints and to be better listeners.

A One Word Story

Hosting Retrospectives

What it is: Looking back on a project on both the design and client side to revisit what worked, what didn’t and what could be improved.

Why we do it: A high-stress moment is usually funny or highly teachable in retrospect. Looking back together allows us to move forward for the better.

Encouraging Appreciations

What it is: Specific call-outs to team members who had a significant impact on a fellow co-worker or project.

Why we do it: Often our Appreciations are non-work-related, revolving around being a good buddy, a solid listener and a thoughtful partner. This cements the importance of not just being good workers, but being good humans.

Creating Fake Product Reviews

What it is: Completely unnecessary products that actually exist in the world – with a Flagrant spin. After a company Zoom, we go into breakout rooms to find a bizarre product image waiting for us. Each team names the product and writes the (FAKE) accompanying pitch. We then re-assemble and present our products ala Mad Men.

Why we do it: More cross-pollination amongst team-members. Giving different employees a voice. Rapid-fire creativity. A means to lighten the mood and connect before burying ourselves in daily to-dos.

Fake Product Review

Holding Sticky Note Games

What it is: A 6-month goals assessment originally dreamed up by Table XI. The Sticky Note Game is conducted by the feature employee, an internal champion they nominate, and their manager. On a joint Zoom call, each person "sticks" personal and professional goals to a Figma board for 15 minutes.

These can range from "befriend a senior citizen" to "help people laugh more easily at work." For the employee, it's a self-assessment. For the other participants, it's an observation of the employee's strengths and growth opportunities. After those 15 minutes, the three participants come together to review, group and discuss.

Why we do it: This exercise visually maps out goals while revealing crossover. The strengths of the employee feel seen and validated through an exercise that is collaborative and non-intimidating. The employee is then empowered to manifest their goals and build upon on them in another 6 months. Hurrah!

Morgan Sticky Note Game

Letting it All Hang Out at Clap and Cringe

What it is: A group forum to share our best work – and all the WTF moments that got us there.

Why we do it: Normalizes the failure that accompanies growth. Allows people to laugh at and accept missteps while building empathy and resilience.

Psst! We're always looking for people, like you, who are interested in learning and motivated to get better to join our remote team. Get in touch!