Like My Blog? Please click the like button and share it with your friends!

Custom Search

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Digital Gatorade Dump

It is Super Bowl week. The matchups are set and the Pro Bowl has been played and we are all waiting anxiously to watch the game and see who wins. It is this annual event and the college bowl games that started me thinking about this topic. It has now become an iconic and time honored tradition that the winning coaches of the big college bowl games and many NFL playoff games (and probably the Super Bowl) gets doused with a bucket of Gatorade at the end of the game. This is referred to as a Gatorade dump, or shower, or bath. I found more articles and stories using the term “dump” so that’s how I’m going to refer to it here.

Why is this done? Is it a little payback to a coach who has worked you like a rented mule for the past umpteen months? Maybe. There might be just a touch of truth to that- but all in good fun. However, that’s not really the reason. Is it tradition now that the practice has been established for many years following the New York Giants popularization of the practice during their glorious run to the Super Bowl title during the 1986-87 season? (Yes, I’m aware of the claim that the ’84 Bears started this but it was made mainstream by the ’86 Giants) Again, maybe- but it’s more than that. It is a creative, light-heartedly fun way for guys to publicly express their emotions and say “Well-done coach, congratulations!” without being too mushy and emotional.

When I started thinking about this little ritual that we’ve all become so familiar with and why it has lasted so long I began to think, this is really cool- the guys expressing themselves in a manly way, the coach accepting a little recognition from his players in a manly way. It’s a bonding thing in addition to being a hardy congratulation. And then I began to think, wouldn’t this be great if we could do this to the people in our own lives who have lead us to some sort of victory. Wouldn’t it be cool to dump a little Gatorade on our boss, mentor, or friend as a way to say, “Great job on landing that new client!” or “You really rocked that project!” or simply “Hey, thanks for getting me through that colossal meltdown I was having.”

Well, it would be a little messy and the recipient may send you the cleaning bill for soiling his or her power suit- and the office carpet- with flavored sports drink. Plus, it really isn’t acceptable to go around drenching your boss with icy cold liquids no matter how flattering you are with your verbal praise in the process. But if you have a really great boss, coach, mentor, etc. you may want to show him or her your gratitude- publicly, so the person gets the recognition he or she deserves. After all, a really great boss especially is hard to come by, maybe even more so in tough economic times. And they have been praising your work and helping you build your career.

So you want to do something nice for them, but you don’t want to seem like a kiss up or that you are just doing it for a raise or promotion. Maybe you can’t purchase a gift for them because of company policy. You could just tell them but that is pretty boring- appreciated but not really exciting or motivating. You could buy them a drink after work but that takes the public part out of it unless you can get the whole office to schlep down to the nearest watering hole to celebrate. Offices used to have parties to celebrate these sorts of grand achievements. But with so many budget cuts that’s likely not an option. There are the old stand bys- pats on the back and handshakes- and the new acceptable alternatives- high fives and fist bumps. But the occasion might call for more than just that alone.

Add to that the fact that many people work remotely in virtual teams and rarely if ever spend time with the boss or project manager in person. ? It is very difficult to physically show them your support. Or what if you just admire the work of those selfless people who put their lives on hold- even on the line- to help victims of tragedies (like the relief workers in Haiti) or who serve our country through the military? So what can we do? Can we take the Gatorade Dump in the football world and apply it to the workplace or world outside of football?

I think we can. My suggestion won’t change the world or come close to expressing all the gratitude and recognition that is rightly due some Marine who has given his blood and guts to fighting for our freedom. But it is something we can all do that will only cost us a minute of our time and still be a pretty cool way of expressing our gratitude. I’m suggesting a digital or virtual Gatorade dump. I don’t know how it’s going to work visually yet. Perhaps some of you designers and artists out there can put together something to show this visually. Maybe an app. designer can design something for the iPhone and other smart phones. In the meantime, how about just posting something on your Twitter or Facebook status updates mentioning the accomplishment? Better yet, write it on their Facebook wall for all the world to see (sorry, its work related so post on your LinkedIn profile instead and be sure to write them a nice recommendation prominently mentioning this recent accomplishment).

I suggest writing something like, “I want to send out a #DigitalGatoradeDump to Joe Smith for that awesome project we just completed!” Or, “Congratulations @BizDevSarah for winning that new client and making our sales quota this quarter! Here’s a big #VirtualGatoradeDump for you!!” Use your preferred term for the practice (shower, bath, dump- or whatever fits in the tweet). Maybe we can try it to see if it brightens someone's day a little without making us get teary eyed or appearing like too much of a brown nose (you might want to coordinate with other co-workers, teammates, etc. to help with that aspect).

Let’s give it a shot. It will only take a minute. Go ahead and try to find someone you want to thank or congratulate today. Try hitting up the Super Bowl winning QB with a little digital shout out that includes the digital Gatorade dump tag. Thank a soldier or Red Cross worker doing the same. Make it a cool thing you can do to express gratitude while keeping your emotions in check. And make sure you use the # (hashtag) symbol so that it spreads around and people can search for Digital or Virtual Gatorade Dump recipients to know who deserves a physical, or digital, pat on the back. Who knows, it might just make someone’s day. I’d like to hear your comments and suggestions on this so please leave them below.

© Gavin Head 2010.

No comments:

Post a Comment