It's easy to lose that loving feeling in a fast-growing company. Bryan Beaulieu, CEO of Skyline Displays Inc., a $45-million Burnsville, Minn., maker of portable trade-show exhibits, was looking for a way to unite his 250 employees and 350 independent distributors. "We had drifted apart," he admits.
So, for the annual sales meeting, instead of hitting the golf course, Beaulieu organized a project everyone would remember: building a playground. Area residents volunteered time and equipment; employees and the distributors donated engineering and carpentry skills. The cost? Four days of work and $60,000 -- the price tag of the usual trek to a golf resort. The event was filmed, and the tape is used for recruiting.
"Whenever we have a bad day," comments Beaulieu, "we go down to the park, watch the kids playing, and get revitalized."