At a company-first sales conference, we'd scheduled Tommy Lasorda as a surprise second-day speaker. My boss (a very different boss than in yesterday's post) was set to emcee the whole conference, yet at the end of day one, he said, “I have to spend the afternoon with Tommy Lasorda, so you emcee tomorrow afternoon.” Startled (and a little worried) by his comment considering there was no script and no rehearsal time, I took on the assignment the next day.
As it turned out, it was an incredible opportunity to be in front of the entire company’s sales team for a whole afternoon. With a pretty boring agenda of speakers, it created opportunities as the emcee to be interactive, funny, and get the entire audience to stand up and scream at the top of their lungs. That night, so many people came up to say they had no idea I was funny. In one afternoon, I went from being a quiet research guy to having a personality within the company and incredibly shaping the next decade of my career.
There are tremendous benefits for your team members (and for you) when you're willing to create ridiculous challenges and great opportunities to make them grow in ways no one else would ever imagine.