Move over, Reagan, because food is the real great communicator. Food is the single universal trait that unites all people across borders and religions. In a hundred years, scientists will probably have determined that a bacon double cheeseburger is the cure for all social anxieties. Until then, we will just have to know in our hearts that food is a great way to tear down the barriers, and Dr. Harold Kerzner agrees. In a blog post, he writes about how dinner meetings can really inspire the best work out of your team.
Chiefly, Kerzner notes in his experience that an informal meal can be a remarkable way to watch opponents become comrades. Disagreements are able to be explored in a casual atmosphere and potentially hashed out thanks to the mediating power of food. That a single meal can manage to connect people and unify their vision on a project so quickly is more than enough to justify the price tag of the meal itself. Studies show that workers are more productive when they feel the company has invested personal interest in them as individuals. Workers are even more productive when they interact with each other outside of the workplace. Dr. Kerzner gets a little extreme when he suggests inviting workers’ entire families to attend these dinner meetings, but he offers several reasons all the same, quoted here, why you should try it:
- If you are like most people, you discuss your job at home with your family but your family has never met the people you tell them about.
- Your spouse may not have any understanding about project management and having a discussion with other spouses can be helpful.
- The spouses will have a better understanding about the pressure and stress that team members must endure.
- Your family will be better able to help you manage your stress and may get tips from other spouses on how they help their spouse manage stress and pressure.
Whether or not you choose to invite the whole neighborhood to dinner, the point stands that a meal every now and then can be an exceedingly effective way to get your team working at the highest possible level.