One of the great joys of being a CEO is being able to punk your team on the first day of April. What tricks do you have up your sleeve for April Fools Day at your office? Here are some of the winners from my playbook.
1) Dress Code
April 1st is a great day to email the team to let them know that with success comes the necessity to dress the part. It needs to sound like an email from HR and include a date and time (later that month) for a company-wide webinar on the new policy. Ideally include some photos of dress that is acceptable and unacceptable now. Alternatives: you are working to recruit more Millennials and need the staff to dress more "Millennial-friendly".
2) Unexpected Merger
What better day to announce an unlikely merger or acquisition than on April 1st? The key here is to make sure the email reads and includes the details and tone of a real email announcing a merger. It also needs to be a viable merger or acquisition idea that the team would find shocking but believable. The best is one in which the partner is an organization adjacent to your category and not directly in it.
3) Site Hacked
Your website is your storefront. It is critical that it represents your organization well. When your site is down or busted it often sends the organization into a tailspin. You would't want it to appear a mess for the outside world, but your tech team can display an alternate home page that is only seen by your team on April 1st. Make it look like a competitor hacked your system and turned your home page into an ad for their services. Or just puts some not so subtle bugs on the page that would quickly catch the attention of every member of the team when they get to work in the morning.
4) CEO in Prison
While I was traveling in China, my assistant sent an email to the team and board stating that I had been detained in China by the government for suspected spying. In the email they introduced an interim-CEO with a link to a (was my muppet alter ego). This one had great potential but blew up on me. Several board members from Fortune 100 companies didn't click on the video, thought it was real and engaged their corporate counsel to rescue me from China. They weren't very happy when it turned out it was a prank. Sorry, again.
Ever been victim to a good office prank or orchestrated one of your own?