Mike Veeck’s book Fun is Good provides not only a step-by-step guide to a more fulfilling workplace for anyone, but is sewn together with examples of promotions tailored by the master of sports promotions.
Fun is good is ideal reading for anyone who wants to get more than a paycheck out of their life’s work, and is even more for anyone working specifically in sports marketing and promotions.
This month we review Veeck’s book, noting not only the broader lessons of creating joy and passion in your workplace but we pull several promotional ideas from the dozens of examples in the book showcasing the mind of a true sports pioneer. I took to dog-earing the pages that I found useful examples of sports promotions, but had to change my method after I found most pages were bent…bottom line: the book is packed with ideas that you can implement immediately in your everyday workplace and event production.
The Fun is Good Philosophy
The Fun Is Good philosophy has transformed a half-dozen money-losing or startup teams into a combined $20 to $30 million business. The Fun is Good philosophy evolved because Veeck noticed too many people leading lives that are not as fulfilling as they could be. Businesses are not nearly as prosperous as they could be because they are missing a Fun is Good culture, where creativity and irreverence are valued and where it’s ok to take your job seriously, but not yourself seriously. Fun is good is simply sound business (Source www.funisgood.net)
The Book Review
Fun is Good is broken down into three parts and includes several vignettes from notable executives and friends of Mike Veeck who share his vision, including members of the St. Paul Saints Staff, the Chairman of Outback Steakhouse, “Mattress Mac” Jim McIngvale, the creator of cow chip BINGO, and a powerful moving account from Mike’s daughter Rebecca. The first part of the book focuses on how to create the proper atmosphere in your workplace, keeping fun at the center of your life whether you work in sports or at a steakhouse.
Part two focuses on specific ways to make the Fun is Good philosophy part of your workplace. Mike Veeck shares stories about his Hall of Fame father Bill Veeck and how he used the same philosophy with all of his teams, creating some of the most classic sports promotions along the way. The book concludes with a call to spread the word through mentoring and volunteering.
The book clearly crosses over from a sports marketing audience and presents Veeck’s philosophy to employees across the business spectrum. The successful book appeared on the New York Times Business Best Seller list.
As Veeck shares his vision for a joyful and passionate workplace, he peppers the book with examples from his experience in sports. While the examples are clear and transferable regardless of your industry, for those of us in sports we are blessed with the most obvious and useful examples: Direct sports promotion examples. As we review the book, we have selected a handful of the promotions from the book to share. These examples only scratch the surface of what you will get out of the pages of Veeck’s Fun is Good. If you want to fill your head with promotions, passion and excitement for sports, we recommend you get a copy for yourself (and your staff and your boss).
As you can see the book will help anyone enjoy their career and life more, but it provides those of us operating in Veeck’s world a sampling of the promotions, ideas and thinking that have made him a legend.
The Right Attitude
Chapter Two is focused on creating the right attitude for yourself and your employees. Treating others how you would want to be treated. To that end, one of Veeck’s team started a simple promotion to encourage employees to treat each fan as they would want to be treated at the ballpark.
Cultivating positive people in your organization is an important part of implementing the philosophy. One team executive followed the example of Delta Airlines (who provide passengers with a “thank you” postcard that travelers can hand to Delta employees for exceptional service. Delta rewards employees who receive those cards). Charleston RiverDogs’ Jim Lucas started a program where he would hand several fans entering the ball park small custom pins. Each pin was on a card explaining that customer service was important to the team and they should reward any staffer who provides exceptional service by giving the staffer a pin. The employees proudly wore the pins and displayed their commitment to customer service right on their lapel. Employees never knew who had the pins, so they end up treating everyone like a VIP.
The Human Touch
Veeck’s Fourth Chapter is on the Human Touch, that is, never taking things too seriously, to have fun and caring about the people who are along for the ride with you. The promotion example here is an interesting one you have probably heard of by now.
Veeck’s Fort Myers Miracle started Kid’s Day years ago pumping up the “Take your Kids to Work Day” idea into “let kids take your job for the day.” The idea was such a huge success that many (or even most) professional teams have lifted it and are using it every year now. Kids take over. Reading the PA announcements, changing the bases between innings and serving up the hot dogs. It’s an idea that wouldn’t hold water if you took yourself too seriously ….which is why it started in the minor leagues and has proven to be so successful it’s been copied by everyone. Safe to say any CEO who is too focused on the bottom line wouldn’t let kids serve the soda, however in Veeck’s world this is both justified and encouraged (and successful).
Lessons from Dad
Mike Veeck was handed a huge advantage in life …a legendary father (and boss). Mike recounts many of his “Lessons from Dad” in Chapter Five. Lesson Five is Never Lose your Childhood Curiosity. Ask “why not,” not “why” when wild ideas are presented. The elder Veeck’s open mind helped usher in countless innovations that we all see as natural now, which were considered cheap theatrics at the time. Comisky’s exploding scoreboard was a Bill Veeck creation as was the inclusion of post-game fireworks. This chapter could make a great book all by itself and is packed with wisdom and insight from the senior Veeck.