Tired of trust falls? Weary of weird interactions when trying to build team unity? A few years back, Medina, Minn.-based Adam’s Pest Control decided to try something new to make its leadership team more close-knit during its annual strategic planning meeting.
The 11 participants met at a local bar and broke into three teams. The three-member team was given a handicap to be on equal footing with the two four-member teams. They were judged by Adam Pest Control’s co-owners (and siblings) Andrea Doop and Todd Leyse, on which team could make the best version of an as-yet-not-invented martini, “The Great Pestini.”
“We arranged for a private area of a bar at 4 p.m., so they weren’t too busy yet,” Doop tells Pest Management Professional. “We had a private bartender who could help the teams with testing, advice and more.”
Each judge could award:
- 1-5 points for appearance.
- 1-5 points for marketing, including a tagline and a logo sketch, using the color pens provided.
- 1-10 points for taste.
The judges were allowed to each award up to five points to one team for a secret criterion, so a perfect team could earn 50 points. Each team was able to send a delegate to meet with judges Doop and Leyse, and ask up to three questions to get a leg up on the secret criterion.
“For example, one team asked whether we like our drinks sweet, tart or strong,” Doop says. “We could tell them that sweet was a better direction to go.”
The marketing director was not allowed to participate on the marketing portion of the challenge, but the non-drinkers in the group were happy to use their creativity there.
Teams were given 30 minutes to complete the challenge. They were not allowed internet access,
but they were given a recipe for a basic gin martini so they at least had a starting point as an option. A vodka martini took the win.
Taste and a clever garnish are what made “The Great Pestini” winner stand out from the others, Doop says: “It used eight cherry stems, a lime, an olive and a cocktail stick.” pmp