The Penguin Parade
The flightless fairy penguin of Australia stands less than a foot tall and is clumsy on land, where the fox is its natural enemy. Alone, one penguin wouldn’t survive for long. So, after each day in the water, they gather where the surf meets the shore, waiting until the last penguin joins them. Then shoulder-to-shoulder they march up the beach to their burrow. They support each other. They rely on each other. And everyone, except the fox, wins.
Here is how the penguin award program works: When someone helps you out, let them know it by sharing the penguin story with them. Give them a penguin trophy or squeezable praise. Explain that they are being recognized for their positive contribution, and they can keep the penguin award for up to 24 hours. Within the next day, they must recognize another person for their “good deed” and pass on the penguin. Each time the penguin award is given to a new person, it is important to let the recipient know the story of the Penguin Parade and the “passing on” tradition of the penguin award.
Some groups choose to start an e-mail chain that includes all staff members involved in the team building exercise. The first person writes a short message as described above and all the players receive a copy of the e-mail. Then the next penguin award recipient just adds their comments onto the original e-mail which then goes out to everyone. This positive reinforcer spreads the word to everyone.
This article written by Ruby Newell-Legner, a nationally recognized training expert and a friend of Baudville. Learn more about Ruby at www.RubySpeaks.com.