We hold a weekly “Kangaroo Kourt” to try to eradicate the little things that are an annoyance in the workplace.
We set up rules and then use this process to enforce them in a way that is lighthearted and fun so that people understand their importance and know that they will be called for antisocial behaviors.
It happens as part of our “Good News Friday” meeting, where every employee in the company (about 22 people) talks about something good that happened the previous week. After that, we segway into Kangaroo Kourt, where each person gets to cite anybody who has been guilty of an infraction of the rules.
There typically needs to be a witness, and since this is all done in fun, when an infraction occurs it generally becomes public knowledge to those in close proximity. Each person so accused gets one free pass and on the second occasion has an opportunity to defend themselves against the charge. The whole room then gets to vote, using the Roman gladiator thumbs up/thumbs down mechanism. If a majority shows thumbs down then the person is fined between $1 and $10 depending on the seriousness of the infraction, and the money goes into a general kitty, which is used to buy bagels/donuts/pizza.
There is a published list of rules. Anyone can submit or suggest an item for the list at any of the Kourt Sessions, and we look for a majority vote as to whether the item is worthy or not and to the amount of the fine. The list includes:
This last one is an interesting illustration of the way the process works. If an employee comes in dressed in a way that could be considered marginal, instead of having a potentially ugly confrontation, we simply take a digital photo, distribute it at the meeting and have everybody vote.
The key is that we, the jury, are pretty lenient. It’s not about the money; it’s about getting the desired conduct and being "placed on trial" is usually sufficient penance. We look down on anyone going out of their way to catch someone, and if we felt that the accusations represented a personal attack it would be easy to recognize and control and would also give us a "heads-up" that there is a problem that needs to be privately discussed.
It works because it is lighthearted, involves everyone and is genuinely democratic. Anybody from the CEO down can be challenged and held accountable and we have found that it is very effective in eradicating anti-social behaviors. It gives us an opportunity to discuss the issue in an open forum making everyone aware of what we hold to be important in our culture, and in many cases just talking about it greatly reduces occurrences.
Dennis Labriola, President, Admit Computer Services, Farmingdale, NY. www.impact-sys.com
As published in Tips from the Top®. Copyright by TAB Boards International, Inc.For more information, please visit www.TheAlternativeBoard.com
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