For me this season is about laughter, fun and getting together with loved one’s. It can be challenging to keep positive and focus on all the good in the world when there is much pain and suffering in other places.
In the spirit of Christmas the team at RedBalloon decided to do something completely fun, colourful and joyous… and attempt a Guinness World Record.
What do you get when you combine hundreds of red and white suits, 30 of the best surf instructors Sydney has on offer and one of the world’s most famous beaches? A Guinness World Record for the world’s largest surfing lesson!
RedBalloon is the proud owner of this new record, because an Aussie Christmas isn’t complete without surfing Santas – 320 of them to be exact.
I was honoured to be there when the team broke the record, but even more honoured to witness the teamwork, focus and dedication that went into the event. This week I sat back to reflect upon the three key lessons we took away from this momentous occasion.
- Take risks
When our PR team were brainstorming ideas for their annual Christmas campaign, there were plenty of good ideas thrown about that were significantly less risky than hundreds of surfing St Nicks. But our team are big believers in taking risks – always have been. There were so many factors at play… Would more than 250 people show up (that was the previous record)? Would the surf conditions be safe? Would the weather be on our side? Would we receive all necessary council permits in time in order to partially take over Australia’s most famous beach? Would we be able to get enough available surfing instructors?
There were dozens of risks similar to these that the team needed to address, map out and conquer, and conquer they did. In our lives (both professional and personal) there are times when we need to take that scary step forward. But as Mark Zuckerberg said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that is changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”
- Work hard, play harder
There are six values at RedBalloon, which we are known to hire and fire by. They are integrity, generosity, leadership, sense of humour and fun and little dog with a big dog personality. I had worked in some pretty serious places prior to founding RedBalloon, but I had also worked at Apple. At Apple we worked hard and played hard, and I always went home thinking my day had been worthwhile. So I wanted to start an organisation where I wanted to go work. It might sound selfish, but if I was going to choose to be away from my children I wanted to make it worthwhile. So RedBalloon employees go to work every day knowing it’s OK to laugh and have fun. This is the busiest time of year to our team, ramping up to Christmas Eve where we sell an experience on our site every 3 seconds. They are working incredibly hard, and yet so many members of our team went down to Bondi Beach, donned a Santa suit and hit the waves. They had an incredible time and went back to the office feeling energised and ready to face another busy day. If we don’t take time out to have fun and connect with the other people we work with then we’re not succeeding. We never take ourselves too seriously.
- Teamwork makes the dream work
This was a quote that was printed on a poster at the event throughout the registration area. Teamwork was key on the day. There were multiple teams working together to pull the event off, and if anyone wasn’t pulling their weight it would have been noticed. There were some very strict rules and regulations provided by the Guinness World Records team, and we had an official adjudicator there on the day making sure we played by the rules. The lesson needed to be taught simultaneously – not easy when you’re working with more than 300 people. And yet it was seamless. The instructors were incredibly professional, everyone who signed up to take part was working towards a common goal and above all else, it was fun!
Sometimes what we need more than anything is to have a good laugh at ourselves. All the best for the season.
This post first appeared as part of my LinkedIn Influencer selection