4 Ways to Transform your “Give-me-candy” Zombies

I love this time of year! As an upstate NY kid, I have fond memories of apple cider and donuts from Schutt’s, pumpkin carving, corn mazes, and haunted houses.

Now as a parent, I love seeing the children dressed in their costumes on Halloween. They’re adorable as they parade around the neighbor amongst the beautiful fall foliage.

Trick or Treat!

But, I can’t help but wonder if I’m the only one who notices that Halloween, at its foundation is a relationship that is haunted by conflict.

“Give me candy or else!”

It’s all in the name of good fun when it comes to children dressed in costumes, but that mindset can erode a business culture’s enamel.  

How would you describe your work place culture?  Is it a trick or treat?

Are your colleagues confident about challenging the status quo of “good enough” for the possibilities of great?  Or do they hesitate, believing their ideas will be received like Dracula passing out raisins on Halloween night?

Spider Web

Great companies have clear missions and strong connected cultures. 

On Halloween, the mission is clear: Have fun and grab as much candy as possible, regardless of how scary that is for most parents and dentists.  Well, maybe not the dentists.

When it comes to collecting sacks of candy, the most successful kids utilize connectivity and spin a strong spider web across their domain. They analyze trends from past Halloween nights, act by positioning themselves in front of sweetest houses, and adjust their routing by using timely data (e.g., texts, Instagram, Snapchat).

Some kids are even savvy enough to recruit a parent to drive them to the highest quality neighborhoods.

Hire them (in 10-15 years or so), because many businesses leaders could learn a lot from these children. They demonstrate how connectivity drives optimal results.

No Zombies Allowed

I love the flow of Halloween night.  In our neighborhood, it starts with the younger children dressed as Dora, Madeline, Batman, or Peyton Manning.  Yes, I’m a Broncos fan.

They are polite, they put effort into their costumes (or at least their parents do), and they appreciate the treat (well, except the raisins). 

As the night goes on, gloom arrives on our doorstep. Costumes lose their creativity, and the words, “trick or treat” sound like mumbled zombie grunts. And worse, treats become an expected entitlement.

Is your work place filled with energetic, enthusiastic team members, or shackled by “just-give-me-candy” zombies? 

The good news is that you don’t need to be terrorized by zombies at work. Try these four steps to transform your team:

1.     Role Model Belief: As the leader show up with a “we all win” connected approach, and encourage discussion to drive innovation, engagement, and connectivity.

2.     Incentivize Connected Effort: Create incentives and recognition that promote cross-function connectivity. Because united groups will always collect more candy.

3.     Celebrate your Wins/Setbacks: Publicly celebrate your wins, regardless of size. They become your momentum.  At the same time, find ways to celebrate your setbacks as well. Don’t let the pursuit of perfection get in the way of progress. Every moment is an opportunity to become better.  

4.     Solicit Feedback: Engage your zombies. They may be one “what do you think of …” or “I need your help with, …” request away from transforming out of the land of the walking dead.