ACE Hires Bob the Clown For Leadership Skills

There are tons of great management and leadership books out there, from Jack Welch’s iron fist rule to Stephen Covey and his eight handy habits. It seems I get through about half of each book, then move on to the next great leader with even more insightful nuggets into human behavior.

I recently found a book buried deep in the bowels of a used bookstore called Managing to Have Fun by Matt Weinstein. It goes back a few years, but it brings to light one simple concept – if you’re not having a good time doing something that eats up 40, 50 sometimes 60 hours per week, what’s the point? And why can’t you have fun at work?

I say, yes we can!

Spring is always interesting at ACE because it’s the time of year when the rubber meets the road. Everything has to get put back together after a winter of projects from new bathhouses and ACE Lake renovations to repairs and road construction. And this year is no exception. We set some pretty big goals this year, and several of them are landing squarely in the lap of our beloved reservation manager, Brandi.

Her shoulders are broad this year with planning a move to a new building (the Welcome Center), setting up a new reservation system, learning a new phone system, training new Adventure Consultants and ensuring our guests get the same great assistance when they call. Granted, she isn’t alone in all this, but that’s a lot of change for one department.

Here enters Bob the Clown. On page 58 of Managing to Have Fun, the writer points out a great example of how to reduce stress in an office environment. This particular company provided a “stress-reduction dummy” with a bottom filled with sand and that staff could pummel when things got to be too much.

Well, I e-mailed Brandi and suggested this tactic may be good for her as well. When things got to be too overwhelming and her brain hurt from all the new logistics that have to be worked out, she may enjoy hitting something – like Bob the Clown.

Of course, she got a chuckle, but this is the best part, Brandi’s reply. Read on.

“Laughed out loud on that one. You want to know why? My kids have one. Whenever they get mad, I suggest they go whack the doll. It seems to work. At first, I was afraid they may think it’s OK to hit people. However, my fears were put aside when Autumn had a friend over. Her friend was mad at her for not sharing a certain Barbie.

“I heard Autumn tell her, “If you’re mad at me, just punch Bob (the inflatable punching person), and you won’t be mad anymore.” Of course, her friend told her, “Well, I’m not mad at Bob – I’m mad at you because you won’t share.” Autumn sat there for a second, and then told her friend, “Here, you can have the doll, and I’ll just go punch Bob.”

So Bob works.

Don’t tell Brandi, but we’re getting her a Bob the Clown punching bag.

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