Land Of 10,000 Stories: ‘High Five Tuesday’ Pumps Up The Office

Posted: October 12, 2011 in Uncategorized

I absolutely love this story.  It was first shared with me this past spring from my friend Mindy Meyer, who works with George Teagarden at Globe University.  Can’t wait to meet the guy and help spread the High Fives!

Original article and aired video can be seen at http://www.kare11.com/Land_of_10000_stories/article/%20941813/57/Land-of-10000-High-five-Tuesday-pumps-up-office-building

WOODBURY, Minn. – At the corporate offices of Globe University in Woodbury, 83-year-old George Teagarden and his high-fives prove the morning’s most reliable eye opener does not reside in a cup.

Teagarden drives to work each day at dawn to get the rest of the office in gear.

“It’s awesome to come to work and know somebody is going to smile at you every day,” says Molly Bendzick as George giddily prepares the office coffee a few feet away.

Making coffee for the office is a daily ritual. On Fridays George is also the one who brings the doughnut holes, spreading them out on a table beneath the bulletin board where pictures of employees’ pets are posted. That too was one of George’s ideas.

“It makes them smile,” says George as he glances toward the display of pets and their owners. “That’s what I want it for.”

But George’s greatest smile-generator is reserved for Tuesday mornings at nine o’clock.

“High-five Tuesday!” shouts George as he meanders between cubicles and offices, exchanging high fives with his co-workers. “Bam! bam! bam!” he proclaims on impact. “And this girl, she gets two,” says George as he high-fives a pregnant co-worker. “Bam! Bam!”

George is on a mission to put touching back in the workplace.

“I just feel it’s important to get people to smile and laugh for maybe a few minutes,” he explains. “I have a sense that it lifts people.”

It’s a philosophy George adopted during management roles with J.C. Penny, Control Data Institute and Globe University. He retired in 2006 as director of Globe’s Richfield campus, only to return to work the next day in Globe’s marketing department.

“Just getting people to smile and laugh and be silly. I think in corporate America, that’s something that’s not really focused on much anymore,” says Colleen Paynter, one of George’s marketing department co-workers. “George is sort of a legend here.”

In the span of 15 minutes, George exchanges high-fives and hugs with dozens of Globe employees, a notion he hatched on a Tuesday morning last year. “I wanted to do something warm and fuzzy,” he says.

It works for David Metzen, Globe’s provost. “You get off to a happy start in the morning, you feel good, no matter what’s happened to you the night before,” he says.

Not only was “High-five Tuesday” an immediate hit in Woodbury, it soon spread to several of Globe’s other campuses.

Carol Hoffman was visiting Globe’s Layton, Utah, facility when she encountered a piece of home. “Four employees walked through the lobby and all, ‘High-five!’ and ‘It’s High-five Tuesday,’ and I sat there stunned for a couple of seconds.”

Carol believes the difficult economy may be playing a role. “I think it’s spreading because people just need a reason to have fun,” she said.

For George, it’s all about making a connection with his co-workers as he reminds them, morning coffee should be the only source of the daily grind.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE.  All Rights Reserved.)

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Comments
  1. j Steves says:

    My employer is institutingthe High fives at our staff meetings. My only problem wih it is that I have been sick for going on three weeks with a cold I caught at work. Several of my coworkers also have it. Seems like a good way to pass arouond germs.

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