Big brands are behind many flash mob events.  They are good for image; they create a personality for the brand; they drive engagement.  They have become a marketing tool, but don’t companies need those things internally too?

As we work with organizations to develop strategies, one of the biggest stumbling blocks is the internal culture.  If you are not open and transparent and, well, social, inside, you can’t fake it long on the outside.  Breaking the rules helps organizations to evolve their cultures.  The 3 big takeaways:

  • Don’t reward results – reward new behavior
  • Don’t optimize current operating processes and procedures – revolutionize! 
  • Don’t hire for cultural fit – hire the future, not the status quo

But, we think we also need to add something more.  We need to shake things up; we need to wake up! 

And that is what a flash mob does.  It makes us sit up and take notice.  It says we’re not tweaking or tip-toeing around the edges; we’re moving and shaking and having fun doing it!  And we’re doing it together, as a team.  Isn’t that what a social culture is all about? 

Flash mobs seem to offer opportunity in two ways inside corporate walls.
1. Stage a flash mob in the lobby; get employees out of their cubicles; get them talking to one another2. Use the creation of a flash mob as a team building exercise.

Confident that others have had this idea as well, we searched online for examples of organizations staging flash mobs internally to help change culture.  We have found a few.

Flash mobs as a team building exercise incorporate many of the aspects of successful social cultures.

  • Each person’s contribution is important
  • Trusting that everyone will participate honestly is key to the interaction
  • It’s about skill and enthusiasm, not hierarchy
  • There are a lot of small steps.  If you make a mistake, it’s not critical; fix it; catch up, and keep going
  • The overall dynamic exceeds what anyone can do alone 

…and it’s much more fun than hoping the person behind you will catch you when you fall backward, and less dependent on your athletic ability than a ropes course.

Have any of you experienced flash mobs inside an organization?