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Bring a Stuffed Monkey to Your Next Staff Meeting (Just Hear Us Out)

Use this unconventional tactic to encourage self-criticism in your shop.




Encourage Self-Criticism

To make the most of your staff’s screw-ups, reward them — ideally with a goofy prize like a stuffed monkey, says Kim Scott, a former top Google executive, in her book Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity. Bring the monkey to an all-company meeting and tell the group that whoever confesses to the biggest screw-up in the previous month (or whenever) wins the prize. On top of a stuffed toy, “they get instant forgiveness and — this is most important — they get to teach everyone how not to screw up,” Scott says, adding that before long, you’ll have people competing to tell their biggest mistakes. “It totally changes the tenor of the meeting — admitting failure becomes safe to do, and it is a surprisingly effective way to foster a cultivation of innovation,” she says.

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