Monday, 21 December 2015

Happiness Day 2015

In the words of Pharrell “It might sound crazy what I’m about to say” but get ready for a blog that covers Happiness Day 2015, the secret origin of the name Twist & Shout and a 90’s Glam Metal music video made by someone very close to us!

Every year, since time immemorial, the Twist & Shout team have cast off the shackled of the office and gathered together to put the world right. We call this day-long session Happiness Day, as the overall objective is to increase everybody’s happiness. That’s right, you heard us. The entire day is dedicated to increasing happiness!

In the old days (the black-and-white days) there was just a handful of us gathered round a single Pork Pie. It was a time when we could all fit inside one taxi-cab with room to spare.

These days though, the Twist & Shout team is a much larger, living, breathing entity of vibrant personalities. It’s now more important than ever that we all understand how every person and department feeds into one another. How our Media side relates to our Communications side, and how it all relates to our overall vision of changing the world. Changing the world for the better, we should say. We’re not Bond villains . . . yet.

So Happiness Day 2015 was a chance for us to introduce the whole team to newbies Katie Byres (Restricted Intelligence), Kirsty Mealing (Production Assistant) and Jamie Munro (Junior Editor), and then induct them into our wonderful cult.

This year’s Happiness Day was hosted at the picturesque Exchange Bar (conveniently located opposite T&S HQ). The Exchange has a gorgeous set of rooms, plenty spacious for our energetic activities, and possess that key ingredient; libation.

Our Glorious Leader Jim begins the Happiness Day with a talk about where we were last year, where we are this year and where we want to be next year. This is usually a sedate little talk that only involves five costume changes and three musical numbers that Jim has choreographed himself. Think of it as the State Of The Union Address but on Broadway.

After Jim’s talk we then throw ourselves into a series of Improv games. Now for anyone thinking this sounds like a lot of fun, you’re wrong! These are intensive games of Improv! These are Improv games that sort the men from the boys! The same kind of Improv games the play in the Special Forces! “Sir, yes and, Sir!”

It was then time to tackle the BIG QUESTIONS! What matters to us about the work we do, and how do we view the world? What do we like about the company and what do we hope it grows into? Who’s picking up the bar tab and how much can we spend?

We focused these big questions around four key areas; Learning, Doing, Caring & Being. Through exploring these topics we feel we can all increase our happiness.

So with Learning, for instance, our Glorious Leader Jim is interested in how people learn and how that can change behaviour. Whereas our Media Producer Richard is interested in how technology can enable learning and enable people to develop and progress.

Being is an interesting topic, it covers all the things that make us happy about our jobs and our lives. Our hobbies outside of work, what makes us passionate and driven. We like to explore what we can do to help everyone develop these hobbies and passions, even if doesn't directly relate to T&S. Because the more positive life experiences we have, the more interesting we are as people, the more stories we have, the more unique perspectives we can bring to ideas and projects. If we can help develop someone as a passionate, happy person, that means we’re developing them as a passionate, happy worker as well.

What emerged from our discussions on Being is that we want to put together more experiences and events as a team. Whether it’s sharing in somebody’s hobby or supporting the creative things they do outside of work, but making sure we do it as a team. And yes, that is “team building” but more than that, it’s experience building. And that’s important. Experiences are important. They make us fun and funny and passionate. They make us the kind of people who can write stories and make people laugh.

After lunch we had a mini-treat in the form of Nicola Ray, one of the founders of Twist & Shout. Many moons ago, Nicola and Jim decided to quit their jobs at an production company and strike out on their own. Nicola let us quiz her on the early days of Twist & Shout and what it was like back when Jim had hair. She also delivered a stunning session on photography, explaining what makes a good picture and the general rules to follow when creating an image.

Then came the VERY exciting part. Long shrouded in mystery, the secret origin of the company name! Those of you who thought it had anything to do with the Sixties dance craze or The Beatles, I’m afraid you’re out of luck. It’s quite simple really. Y’see back in the day, there were two of them, Nicola and Jim. Jim used to shout a lot, and Nicola used to dress like Oliver Twist.

So, um, yeah . . . pretty obvious when you think about it?

But Nicola’s contribution to Happiness Day 2015 was so much more than that. She, more than anyone, made it a truly happy day we shall never forget. For she introduced us all to a music video that she made with Jim in the early Nineties. Not just any music video, oh no. A Glam Metal music video for a band called WRAITH! We urge you now … do yourselves a favour and watch this early masterpiece!

After we finally recovered from watching that glorious video again and again (and again), we concluded our Happiness Day. We worked out what we want to do next year, how we can spend more time doing what we love and less time doing things that sap time and energy. We worked out how we can be happier in both our personal lives & at work, and how our happiness will improve the business. And we got at least two steps closer to changing the world.

Pretty standard stuff for Happiness Day.

1 comment:

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