By Dan Rockwell
I intentionally lock my wife out of the house.
I lock her out because I love her.
She isn’t a wild-eyed drunk. She doesn’t need time to cool off after losing her temper.
Going for the deadbolt:
I can hear the front door open when she takes out the mail. It’s twenty steps to the deadbolt from my office. Or maybe she walks out the backdoor to tend her bird feeders. That’s when I unexpectedly strike.
Hiding in waiting is awesome.
The more unlikely the timing, the better the experience. It might be August or January. There could be rain or snow.
From the outside, she taps on the glass and peeks in. Usually I quickly unlock the door. Occasionally I stand with crossed arms and smile. She gives me a dirty look.
There’s no mystery. She’s never spent a night in the car.
Occasionally, through the windows in our family room, she sees me creeping toward the door. We both run. Sometimes she wins.
Sometimes she sees me heading for the door and doesn’t bother to run. I lock the door anyway.
Lessons from locking my wife out of the house:
#1. Silly mischief energizes environments. It doesn’t harm. It doesn’t cost money.
#2. Noticing someone says they matter. Locking the door requires attention. She’s on my mind.
Tip: Silly mischief is dangerous in distrustful environments. It only works when people know you care.
- Add gas to a colleague’s car once a week for a month. Then stop. (Especially fun if they buy a new car.)
- Gradually remove the office supplies and pens from a team member’s desk.
- Gradually rearrange bookshelves.
- Put an item on their desk two or three times a week. (Sticky notes, a penny, a book on etiquette, or breath mints.)
What makes silly mischief work? Not work?
What silly mischief might you suggest for work environments?
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Photo credit: iStock