I was at my long time friend’s home for this past Thanksgiving.  He also works in the software development industry. So he was telling me about how his team is doing and we were discussing how he could challenge them next.  During this conversation he happened to mention something he did in passing but I quickly steered the conversation back.

He starts his meetings with a “bad dad joke”.  Nothing more, simply starts meetings with a bad dad joke and then proceeds on.  Immediately, I see the potential in this approach:

  • creating a little tradition/culture
  • encourages laughter (even if it’s a horrible joke – you get laughter)
  • quick – most jokes are pretty short
  • no pressure on the team – the leader has to do the research/prep (ensuring your joke is appropriate for the workplace)

Now, I’m sure it’s sometimes met with “ugh” or even an occasional eye roll but before you know it the team is expecting the joke and almost annoyed if you were to skip it.

How would your team respond to “bad joke” kickoffs or closings?

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick

Tricia Broderick is a leadership and organizational advisor. Her transformational leadership at all levels of an organization, ignites growth of leaders and high performing teams to deliver quality outcomes. Tricia has more than twenty years of experience in the software development industry. She is a highly-rated trainer, coach, facilitator and motivational keynote speaker. Beyond her extensive knowledge and skills, her biggest offering is inspiring people to believe anything is possible.


  • Todd Galloway says:

    I love stuff like this. With one of my teams in the past we closed meetings with a ‘chuck norris’ quote from some site that generated those silly things. Again kind of silly but quick and it was expected and helped do the things you mentioned in your post only at the end of the meeting. I think small intentional things like this to build culture are important and appreciate you sharing this in your blog!

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