It is always fun to see folks wear t-shirts of their favorite college football team at work. As we roll into September, the hint of cooler air is on the way and the tailgating has begun. Our corporate campus is in Charleston so we see lots of Clemson and South Carolina t-shirts. There are also plenty of other schools represented like Notre Dame, Florida, Georgia, LSU, Stanford, Michigan, WVU, and so on. What I love to see is the passion that people have for "their team".
That passion comes from a sense of belonging, a sense of pride, a connection to tradition and a desire to win. People paint their faces on game day, hang flags from their front porch and drape their automobiles with all sorts of team gear. It is exciting and fun.
A similar phenomenon happens with many college and pro sports. That team identity and passion runs deep. It is also passed on from generation to generation within families. I grew up in a Steelers family. I have never known anything but loyalty to my Steelers. My kids are also Steelers fans.
Companies can learn from this type of passion and identity. Organizations should have traditions and visual identifiers that should stoke the fire of passion in their people, their customers and partners. At Benefitfocus we create a lot of t-shirts, banners, cups, and even cow-bells with our logo. We give them to our associates and our customers. We have traditions and we create events to celebrate our shared successes.
This weekend our team had a big software release and many folks were in the offices. We had party stuff for kids and pets. We had college football on all over the place with plenty of tailgating food. It was fun to see all the college football t-shirts and also plenty of Benefitfocus t-shirts. Team passion and identity is key to success for any sports team and for any company. Fan the flame. Have fun with it.