by Hollie Wegman ・ Office Hacks

Office Hack #22 — The Imagination Hack

Envoy is all about making things easier and more fun in the office. In that spirit, we are proud to bring you our new Envoy Office Hacks podcast series. Every week, we deliver the coolest, most ingenious, and just plain fun fixes people have invented to improve efficiency and productivity in their workplace.

“From the top down…” can have negative connotations, especially in the workplace. But in today’s Envoy Office Hack, “from the top down” is what enabled an incredible transformation: clock-punching employees turned ambitious visionaries.

O2E brands is the banner company for four different brands, 1–800-Got-Junk being one of them. Today, O2E is a multi-million dollar empire with a presence in three countries and growing. But not unlike a lot of companies, its start was modest and plagued with apathetic employees.

So the founder fired his entire staff and started again.

This time, Brian Scudamore knew he needed people who would put skin in the game, embody the company values, and think big — really big — about what the company could be. But where do you find these people? Or how do you help good employees to get there? This consumed Brian until he realized the solution was right in front of him. Literally.

“How do we take people and teach them about vision? Coming up with big ideas and dreams and goals of their legacy that they can leave their mark that they can leave on this business. I came up with a wall with this big empty space that needed some decorations on it… and I put a big decal up there that said, “Can you imagine?” ” Brian Scudamore, Founder & CEO of O2E Brands

Brian led by example and was first to add a “big, hairy, audacious” goal on the wall: Get on the Oprah Winfrey Show.

“I put my name below it as my signature that that was something I could see happen. Less than a year and half later, we were on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Got our 4 and 1/2 minutes of fame. Got to give her a big hug, and celebrate the fact that our little company of 1–800- GOT-JUNK was put on the marketing map with the help of Oprah Winfrey.”

Then others started to follow.

The next seemingly impossible feat: get 1–800-GOT-JUNK on Starbucks cups across the globe. Big? Hairy? Audacious? Yes! Accomplished? Also, yes.

“Ten million cups with a quote to the effect of “You are what you can’t let go of”. Freeing. No junk. That kind of thing. And then it said, “Founder and CEO of 1–800- GOT-JUNK”. Why that was cool was not that my name was on it, but that the company name was on it. Our phone number, how to reach us on the side of 10-million Starbucks cups.” Brian Scudamore, Founder & CEO of O2E Brands

Other goals on the wall include:

  • Can you imagine being featured in a Harvard business case?
  • Can you imagine (the company expanding to) a third country?
  • Can you imagine seeing the 1–800-GOT-JUNK logo on top of the Seven Summits?

All of these, by the way, have been accomplished. Well, almost…

“Here’s one that could seem impossible: seeing the 1–800- GOT-JUNK logo on top of the Seven Summits. — Paul Tizz. Well Paul Tizz climbed the first summit with a 1–800- GOT-JUNK sign of Kilimanjaro and has plans to climb more. Who knows?” Brian Scudamore

At the outset of this ‘imagination hack’, Brian hoped the wall would inspire and motivate people. And it continues to do just that. He is impressed at how this simple office hack has incentivized his staff to dream big and follow through.

When we have big green check marks beside goals that are done, it’s a chance to celebrate a win, something that we’ve accomplished together. It shows people that you can have impossible dreams or seemingly impossible dream but you can set out to make them happen. It’s challenging. It’s fun. You get to win together. Brian Scudamore

How to hack it

If you want to hack a wall in your office and turn it into an imagination repository, you only need a few simple ingredients:

  • A blank wall. Obviously.
  • Adhesive vinyl decals (custom-made recommended; cost varies)
  • Audacious goals!

And if you happen to be on the west coast some time and care to hop up to Vancouver, Canada, Brian says he’d happily give you a tour of his “Can you imagine” wall with tips on getting it started in your workspace.

Listen & Subscribe

You can listen to the full story in the Envoy Office Hacks podcast. Please subscribe to the podcast in iTunes — just click here and hit ‘subscribe’