Aug 04

Being Steve Cody

Guest post by Laura Zanzal

August 4 When my alarm went off Thursday morning, I got up, started to get ready and then thought to myself, “Wait a minute!  I’m the CEO!” I was back in bed faster than you could say, “Laura Zanzal, managing partner and founder.”

To prep for my job role as Steve, I carefully packed my gym bag and studied options for my turkey burger.  All kidding aside, my day as Steve was informative and flew by. It was an eye opener to how demanding his schedule can be as well as how many impromptu, yet important, meetings Steve is expected to attend. Furthermore, it was interesting to see how “quick on your feet” and confident you have to be in this job role. In one particular meeting I sat in on, Steve was expected to work with a select few to come up with some humorous ideas for a client – in just a few hours. While I’m used to brainstorming and deadlines, I’m not in a position where I’ve ever had to think of an idea and run with it almost immediately. It was definitely interesting to watch ideas bounce off one another, with a more serious tone than what’s typically found in a brainstorm.

Being Steve though definitely had its perks. Between a spacious office with a—gasp—door to a personal assistant who happily called my roommate with Happy Hour specials, it was definitely comfortable and I look forward to these perks as my career progresses. As much as I hate to say it though, I did miss being in the trenches. I was disappointed that I didn’t know the “gossip in the cubes” and missed all the casual conversations through the cube walls. Once you are all alone in an office, it really makes you realize how fun your Peppercom family truly is.   

All in all, I think the job swap was an excellent idea. During my reign as Steve Cody, I found myself telling everyone about the swap – from friends and family, to even those employed at Steve’s gym. The common response, “Wow, your boss is really cool. I wish I could do that.” More companies should embrace the job swap, since it was a great learning experience for both myself and Steve, and I think both of us now have a greater appreciation for our jobs.

Jun 24

It’s time to stand-up for the power of comedy

Peppercommers Brendan Mullin and Doug Feingold made their stand-up comedy debuts this past Thursday night at the New York Comedy Club.

June 24 - Brendan Mullin

This alone would warrant a blog since it takes some serious intestinal fortitude to perform stand-up. But, in so doing, Brendan and Doug were also completing the third part of our most unique management training program.

You see, we include stand-up comedy training as part of our Peppercom State management development program. We contract with Clayton Fletcher, a professional comedian, and train each and every level of our organization.

In addition to learning the four distinct types of comedy, our employees are given tips on how to better project their voice, 'read' the non-verbals of an audience and grasp the nuances of pacing and timing. After each 'performs' five minutes of original material in front of their peers, our employees later sit down with our strategy consultant who reviews a videotape of their stand-up to point out areas of improvement.

Our various comedy workshops have been terrific for the individuals involved and absolutely awesome for overall team building and morale enhancement.

Brendan and Doug took the final steps last week by performing live in front of at least 80 people.

Other agencies may be a little stronger in speechwriting or CSR. And The Holmes Report may have named a larger firm for having the best workplace in the industry. But, no one, and I mean, no one, better understands the strategic, competitive advantages of comedy than little, old Peppercom.

Stand-up comedy training isn't right for every organization. In fact, I can think of a few PR firms whose owners would never, ever buy into anything so 'radical' as stand-up comedy training. But, it works for us. And, while The Holmes Report may ignore the trend, Ad Age certainly hasn't (Download AdAge Comedy Article). 

We live in an era in which nearly every kind of business finds itself unable to afford pay increases or bonuses. By partnering with a stand-up comedian like Clayton, however, we've paid a little, but gained a lot. It's high time other business leaders stand up and take note of comedy's strategic role in business.

Did you miss the live show? Download Brendan Mullin's Stand Up Video.