So I know I’ve written a fair bit about our work-wide plank off challenge lately. But seriously guys, this is amazing to see. Because this randomly issued challenge seems to have brought our workplace together in a way that nothing ever has in the ten years that I’ve worked here.
Even prior to throwing down this gauntlet, this place is night and day different from when I started here – in a good way. I mean, we weren’t awful when I started. But we were disorganized and dysfunctional and there was no sense of a team or looking at the good of the overall organization and our customers. We’ve revised processes, implemented new ones, tightened things up, and I can say without a doubt that we are probably one of the absolute best in the country at what we do. (Unfortunately there’s no official ranking organization out there to confirm it, but I stand by it.)
Even with all that these amazing folks have accomplished and how hard they have worked, there has still been some discord. We did a survey of staff a year ago and something that was brought up repeatedly is that people feel cut off from the rest of the departments – like there’s no interdepartmental collaboration and teamwork.
But all that changed on June 30 with the off-hand suggestion of a plank off competition. The suggestion of a little friendly competition lit a fire under people. And it’s so much fun.
One department is trying to win by stealth. They act aloof when we bring up the plank off, like they don’t care – but we know they’re totally practicing in secret and will show up on the day of in force. Makes it hard to do reconnaissance…
In another department a woman is trying to muster the troops to beat the stealth department and apparently they had a “practice” plank off yesterday – with rumors of a 4:30, 5:00, and 6:00! plank. We’re uncertain if that 6:00 time is legit or just trash talk to scare us all…
Speaking of trash talk, apparently my department is trying to win that award. I might have to bring some aloe vera to the competition for all those burns…
With this competitive edge now spreading beyond individual to individual, we’re thinking we’ll need to add a new award for department with the longest average plank – possibly throwing out the high and low times. (And I’m trying to figure out the logistics of how we’d calculate that…)
At this point, though, I feel like no matter what we’re all going to be winners. I know that sounds cheesy, but in addition to the health benefits we’re gaining a better work environment. All from something that will last less than ten minutes over our lunch hour.
On a personal note, that 6:00 plank rumor lit a fire under me, and over lunch today I set a new personal best: a 3:00 plank.