A few weeks ago I did a workshop for a pharmaceutical company in Iceland called Medis as part of their 30 year anniversary and strategy kick-off. As you can see, they kinda liked it :) The guy in the front row in the blue suit is their CEO Valur Ragnarsson.
Now, as we all know a workshop itself changes nothing so we always work with our clients to come up with a plan that will actually make a difference in the workplace. As part of that plan, I challenged Valur to come up with something he could do that would be fun, easy and visible – just to show people that he is committed to creating a happy workplace.
And a few days later he sent me these pics where he’s making fresh waffles and pancakes for his employees:
What an awesome idea :)
I asked Valur how he liked the experience and here’s what he said:
I thoroughly enjoyed it – the biggest joy I actually got out of observing the reaction of the colleagues !
FYI we did not announce anything but simply showed up in the corridor without notice and took people pleasantly bysurprise….. now it will boil down to a plan and team supporting this (which we have in place already btw).
The only problem was that the smoke alarm kept going off, so they had to temporarily disable it :)
Well done, Valur!
Just to be clear: We’re not saying that you can turn an unhappy workplace into a happy one, by having the CEO make pancakes :)
What we’re saying is that upper management can support the process of creating a happy workplace by doing something fun and unexpected that shows employees that they are committed to the goal and willing to go a little bit outside of their comfort zone.
3 thoughts on “The CEO who made pancakes”
What a great read and a wonderful boss! Nothing like seeing the CEO roll up his sleeves and get his hands dirty.
What I noticed from my past experience, is that a CEO that gets involved with his/her employees knows what’s it like to be in the bottom. It’s as if he’s been there and raised his position. On top of that, he cares about his employees.
Great CEO story. When entry level college grads make a site visit, they will notice how many execs are actually reachable. I used to work with Amazon and met Jeff Bezos on my first day. Great way to connect with employees is to be visible.