To make sure employees don't clown around with the customers who fuel the growth of Sequent Computer Systems, the company depends on one of the most famous clowns of all, Bozo. More than a hundred "Bozo boxes"--receptacles to collect fines from employees who criticize a customer or supplier--are strategically located in conference rooms and hallways. Anyone caught by a fellow employee criticizing a customer or supplier must drop a quarter in the nearest box.
As the Beaverton, Ore., computer manufacturer grew from $4 million to $354 million during the past decade, former president Scott Gibson admits, "We had drifted a bit into the arrogance that comes from success." The Bozo boxes keep employees humble, and all proceeds go to the needy.