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Holiday Party Disguised as Professional Development
December 14, 2018
By Brett Grischo

On average, people spend about a third of their lives working. A variety of research has found that around 70% of workers don’t feel satisfied with their career choice and/or job. As a guy that tries to live his life with a positive attitude, happiness and not taking anything for granted, those are disturbing statistics.

When I started Explore Communications over 22 years ago, I decided that I’d run my company with my heart. In other words, I’d think about all the employees’ perspectives and try to provide a culture and structure that they’d appreciate and feel inspired by in order to actually enjoy their jobs. Happiness is a primary value of Explore Communications.

There are a lot of ways to have happiness in the workplace. A great salary and benefits are certainly contributors, however there is a ton of research that identifies two things as the most important aspects of a job:

  1. Being recognized and praised for good work
  2. Being a part of the team

I think we do a good job of this at Explore. We celebrate our successes often and are great at giving kudos and thanks for work well done. There are no job titles on our business cards and internally, everyone knows they are an integral part of the well-oiled machine that is Explore Communications. We have to perform as a team or we all fail.

With all that said, a good party with the Explore team sure is a fun way to generate happiness! With the holidays upon us, work and personal life can be more stressful than ever. This year we thought we’d celebrate the holidays and each other by doing things that we all love:

  1. Laughing
  2. Throwing heavy dangerous sharp axes

Perhaps it is not needless to say that we were also imbibing in adult beverages (we had to sign some serious waivers – for the drinking and axe throwing, not the drinking and laughing). We may or may not have had a little liquid courage at the office before heading to our laughing engagement.

We all wore our red plaid lumberjack shirts and strange animal hats to the Voodoo Comedy Playhouse for our three-hour afternoon improv comedy workshop. Some may argue that this is a horrible idea and that I’m just stressing out my peeps but I have an awesome team that is open minded. Plus, it was a private workshop. And don’t forget about that liquid courage!

The key to the afternoon wasn’t to be funny, but rather to have fun. I’d say we nailed it. Lizz was our instructor and she was awesome. She warmed us up with tongue twister games and then taught us improv skits and scenes that we performed with many laughs, some long awkward pauses, plenty of nonsense and even some genuinely funny stuff!

The lessons learned from the workshop actually revealed themselves quite naturally but Lizz also made sure to tie it back to actionable methods for communicating better, presenting with confidence and working together as a team. It was quite brilliant. And silly and super fun!

Next up was dinner at Ignite where we devoured everything on the appetizer menu and for some reason let Becky order us all a couple rounds of shots. Cuz that’s a good idea before tossing axes. Finally, it was time for our three-hour session over at DAGAR for lumberjack fun.

Ironically, we were not allowed to imbibe at the comedy workshop, but we were allowed to drink at axe wielding. Perhaps that is why many of our throws were like this:

Click Here to Watch Becky & Sarah Axe Toss

There are so many great things about that three second clip. First, its shocking that neither of those throws stuck. Clearly that’s how they felt as you see Becky sort of protest-hop and Sarah mouth-protest as they fetch their weaponry.

We all got to practice and everyone had success. The axe coach sticks with you the whole time to make sure the safety rules are followed and to facilitate games. I’m not sure I can directly relate buzzed axe throwing back to being a successful advertising agency but it sure was a fun way to celebrate the holidays with all the work peeps.

Plus, it was fun to pull from my inner horror movie axe murderer character that I’ve been wanting to break out in the workplace. Success!






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