Rolling up our sleeves and rolling out cookie dough isn’t something that happens often in the busy world of Staples Promotional Products.
But sometimes achieving the goal of increased collaboration between colleagues requires a break from the norm. It’s amazing how a little friendly competition can deepen a team’s sense of camaraderie. And it’s always a bonus when that break is also an opportunity for your brand representatives to do something good for the community.
In our case, a small team of corporate marketing and creative associates who often work closely with – but not necessarily in close proximity to – one another, gathered at The Culinary Center of Kansas City. None of us knew exactly what we were in for or who besides ourselves would benefit from our out-of-office experience.
As soon as our group had assembled at the beautifully set table where we would enjoy lunch, we learned our mission for the day: Cut out and decorate sugar cookies for the children of Rose Brooks Center, a domestic violence shelter in Kansas City. The facility is a national leader in the fight to end the cycle of abuse. Joan Dougherty, Director of Volunteers and Community Support at Rose Brooks, was there to tell us about it, and her stories brought some of our group members to tears.
If any of us had work-related gripes with one another, we were now totally inspired to set them aside so that together we may do something, however small, that might bring a smile to the face of someone who has lived through pain that no one should.
To accomplish the task, our group was divided into three smaller teams, each consisting of associates of varying levels of leadership within Staples Promotional Products. The exercise forced us all to work in tight physical proximity and see our colleagues through new eyes, as we figured out who had the best idea of how to tell a story with cookies or how to mix the frosting just right to make a pig pink.
In the end, we all saw our coworkers through new eyes. You just never know who will turn out to be a cookie painting champion! (Hint: Not me.)
The following day, Art Director and frequent YourBrandPartner contributor Stephanie Hertel and I were honored to deliver several dozen cookies to the Rose Brooks Center. We hope the kids didn't mind that some of our cookies turned out a little funny looking.
Has your company ever engaged in an afternoon of bonding over cookie baking – or some other non-work-related icebreaker? Share your experience in the comments below.
If you're in charge of planning a company team building event, consider helping participants commemorate the day with some promotional products.