Now that I have a large team reporting to me, it’s hard to find a place for us all to meet. Even the largest conference room isn’t big enough. We meet in the atrium, and because of my busy schedule, we often do so at lunchtime.
I overheard some grumbling about this. Thinking back to my college days and my Intro to Psychology class, I decided to address the issue using positive and negative reinforcement. (Remember B. F. Skinner?)
I now bring my portable sandwich cannon to each meeting, loaded with several wrapped sandwiches from the deli downstairs. If I notice someone not paying attention, perhaps looking at their phone or whispering to a coworker — BLAM! — I fire a sandwich at them. (HR has advised me to avoid hitting the person’s face.)
Similarly, if someone asks a good question or makes an astute comment during the Q&A period, I lob a sandwich in their direction as a reward.
I’m glad I could use a modern, scientific management technique to resolve this problem. Since adopting this strategy, I’ve heard far less grumbling. Participation during meetings has also increased.