Much like I wondered whether Santa was real as a kid, I often wonder if there is a real-life Michael Scott out there somewhere. This week, I think that I found the answer!
When sales took a slump for a Provo, Utah, company, a supervisor came up with the idea of “waterboarding” one of the salespeople to motivate the workforce. The supervisor — let’s just call him “Real-Life Michael” — had coworkers hold an employee down. Then, Real-Life Michael poured a gallon of water over the salesperson’s head and face. Real-Life Michael then told his workers that they should work as hard at making sales as their tortured coworker did at trying to breathe. It is Michael!
Of course, unlike in Scranton — where I don’t think they have a courthouse — the employee filed a lawsuit against the company. He is going to make some money.
We’ve written about hazing before — like when Dwight set up a wrestling match between Ryan and Mose so that Ryan could overcome fear. Not good ideas.
The areas where we really have problems are more subtle. When well-meaning supervisors engage in motivational exercises, we really need to look closely. Often, we see these exercises turn into scenarios where there can be embarrassment for some employees or even false promises to “winners” of a contest. So, if your company has motivational exercises or contests, you’ll want to scrutinize carefully. Otherwise, we might discover that Michael has cousins in your neck of the woods!