15 June 2016

Let the Games Begin (With 97% of My Colleagues)

Let the Games Begin (With 97% of My Colleagues)

Unless you’ve been living under a giant rock – which seems very unlikely – you know that the European Championship football started on the 9th of June in France. You can hear about it on the radio, see it on the television, and see it in the stores. There is no hiding from it. Even when you are talking to your colleagues, I bet it’s a real challenge not to talk about who might win the Henri Delaunay Trophy.

As time went by, I felt the need to participate in this “hype” with all my colleagues. I therefore decided to organize the bluecrux Cup, which is a typical prediction game in which you try to forecast the outcome of the tournament – from complete match results in the group stage to who will be the 2016 champions.

Taking into account the lessons of our change methodology MOUNTK, I set myself the ambitious target that 100% of my colleagues needed to participate. Knowing that there are always people who have no natural interest in football, I knew this was going to be quite a challenge.
I quickly realized that the key to success was not to have the fanciest game-mechanism or template that my colleagues had ever seen, but that the actual key question was:

How do I motivate everyone to take the time to fill in a template that includes all group stage matches and five knockout rounds?
Based on the information from some of my friends, I determined a typical prediction game within a company that looks like this:
An informal mail is distributed to a (select) group of colleagues. This mail contains the rules of the game and a template that you need to fill in. If you want to participate, you need to pay a certain entry fee. The winner or top performers of the game receive a monetary prize based on the number of entrants.

  • It is clear that this standard process would never work if I wanted all of my colleagues to participate.
    So using this standard process as a starting point, I made the following changes to create a process that – so I hoped – would motivate all of my colleagues:
  • The first step was to remove all obstacles that would prevent people from joining: Make the participation free and make the template user-friendly and self-explanatory.
  • The second step was to create an incentive that attracts everyone: Remove the prize-money concept, and replace it by prizes that everyone would be happy to win. In this case, bluecrux was happy to sponsor movie tickets, a dinner voucher and a wellness voucher for the winners.
  • Finally, if I wanted my message to be heard by everyone, I needed to stay away from email communication as much as possible. I therefore asked if I could present the bluecrux Cup for the first time at one of our internal meetings. This created extra visibility, and an opportunity to explain the concept of a prediction game to people who were not familiar with it.


How did this approach work?

The submission deadline has recently passed, and I can tell you that 31 out of 32 colleagues filled in their templates! It was fun to see how colleagues who normally aren’t into football reached out to friends and family for advice. It is not the 100% I was going for, but in the end I can say, “Mission accomplished!”

Let the games begin!