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That Guy’s Tips for Corporate Success, #7 October 1, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Tips for Corporate Success.

Anything that your company announces by way of a company-wide naming contest is doomed to failure.

There are three ways to go about telling employees you have something new and cool coming to the office:

1. Send an e-mail explaining it to them.
2. Hold a training session and provide food.
3. Have a naming contest.

Somewhere in the corporate handbook is a section on “making the employees feel like they matter”. Chief among those is “let them have a tiny bit of input so they don’t derail your master plan”. Well, why not just hold a naming contest? Let the employees submit names for something they don’t understand — not what it is, not how to use it — and pick the one you like best. Offer some sort of prize that makes it just worthwhile enough so that the employees think it’s actually worth their time.

But the problem is that the employees don’t know how to use the new thing, or even what it is, and they certainly can’t see it yet because of course it’s not even close to finished.

They certainly can name it, though.

Keep an eye out. Next time your boss’s boss says “come up with a cool name for this awesome thing”, watch what happens when that awesome thing actually starts being used. And keep track of just how much you yourself use it.

It should be easy. You won’t.


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