The following is a guest post by Jared Lawrence, Vice President of Revenue Services for Duke Energy and Classroom Central Board of Directors.
In an auditorium at Duke Energy’s Charlotte headquarters in late October, leaders in the company’s customer operations organization crouched over tables, frenetically stuffing pens, pencils and erasers into pencil packs. The first to complete one hundred packs, and pass a post-race quality assurance check, would claim bragging rights and Classroom Central T-shirts. Sounds simple, right? Ah, but there was a catch… each of the ten teams was required to select at least one member to compete blindfolded. And any member not blindfolded was only permitted to use one hand—try zipping a pencil pack with one hand behind your back!
The exercise was designed with three objectives in mind. First, it was intended to promote team building, and after a long day of discussing strategic plans and KPIs, the reenergized smiles and laughter signaled success. Second, it provided a hands-on illustration of several operations principles, including bottlenecks, capacity and throughput. Finally, and most importantly, one outcome from the competition was certain: one thousand grade school students would come out ahead when they received their packs of much-needed supplies.
The exercise was preceded by an introduction to Classroom Central and its mission by executive director Karen Calder and board member and Duke Energy employee Jared Lawrence which set the stage for the competition. And although only one team walked away with the t-shirts and bragging rights, the others were buoyed by the knowledge that they had just helped one thousand students in need!
How does your company or group get creative with team building and giving back to the community?