If You’re in Management, You’re in Show Business
It was once said by an education consultant that in the United States, there is much more money spent on entertainment than education. When you fuse the two for learning purposes, the results can be dramatic. One company I know boosted their bottom line by spoofing game shows for training purposes. After several years of using the obligatory pie charts and overhead projectors to stoke productivity and raise customer satisfaction, employees responded with suppressed yawns and weak outcomes. Meetings were as exciting as a TV test pattern, so management solicited the aid of employees to spiff up the process.
A committee of employees was formed to produce “Zero Defects Day” meetings, with the condition that they stay within the budget. They made their debut with a spoof from an American TV game show called Wheel of Fortune. It featured a female manager in the role of TV host Patrick Sajak, and a bearded employee wearing a wig, a dress, and high heel shoes as Vanna White, which provoked hilarity. Each committee member had a role, from announcer to cameraman to producer.
After the usual presentation of facts and figures, the show began. Other employees participated too, and later gave the meeting rave reviews. Responses transformed from “Oh no, not another ZD Day,” to “I wonder what they’re up to next quarter.” You might ask, “What is so effective about a couple of employees impersonating game show hosts?” The meeting was a success in building employee morale by promoting fun, creativity and spotlighting hidden talents. Co-workers began to see each other in a new light, with renewed respect and camaraderie.
More parodies of TV shows ensued. In order to emphasize the cost of mistakes in manufacturing, they produced a game show called, “The Cost Is Right,” in which contestants guessed the cost of specific defects in their manufacturing process. That was followed by “Foundry Feud,” which challenged participants to answer questions about quality awareness.
Management found that the show biz approach was effectively communicating messages about quality, which was a great improvement over the old style “slumber” meetings. The payoff—after five years, late delivery was reduced by 40%, returns from one division were reduced by 85%, and defects in another area were cut by 77%. Remember — there is no business like show business!