How a simple sticker can bring your team closer together

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BLUF – Issuing a “sticker challenge” can be an simple and effective tool to build camaraderie and inclusiveness amongst the personnel in your unit/affiliate. 

At my current unit where I serve as Commander (673d Communications Squadron) and my current CrossFit box where I serve as Coach/Affiliate Manager (907 CrossFit), I’ve introduced stickers as a small team building campaign. For my work life, squadron stickers aren’t anything new, but they were to my unit. I added them to our morale shirt and squadron coin to build a standardized “morale kit” that everyone has the option to buy. I also tried to build some buzz around the sticker by asking personnel to show interesting pictures where these pictures could be placed. For example, this sticker is on the famous Lanikai pillbox hike on O’ahu:


I was able to garner a small response to challenge, like the following picture below at DisneyWorld:


Turns our my unit isn’t into vandalism as much as I am (which is a good thing) and only two more pictures were posted. I didn’t emphasize the challenge that hard, but regardless, the stickers started to sell and I see them on personal items and they are a consistent item sold by our booster club. The younger Airmen really liked the idea of identifying themselves with our unit, which was a problem I wanted to address based on input during a previous climate assessment survey. Developing a work environment where personnel are proud of where they work is a consistent challenge leadership must manage, and something small like a sticker can help build the camaraderie everyone can rally around.

For my fitness life, I’m starting a similar campaign. Using profits made from selling shirts (another method I’ll write about in another post), we made some bumper stickers and slowly started revealing pictures on our FaceBook page:

Athletes began to ask how they could buy one, and I informed everyone that these sticker weren’t for sale. Instead, athletes have to earn them. There are two requirements to earn a sticker:

  1. Complete the CrossFit Baseline: 500m Row, 40 Squats, 30 Sit-ups, 20 Push-ups, 10 Pull-ups. Doesn’t matter what time you complete the WOD in, just that you finish. Times will be posted in the box, to further the desire for athletes to add their score to the list and potentially beat a fellow athlete. As Coach Greg Glassman says, “Men will die for points on a scoreboard.”
  2. Take a picture with your newly earned sticker and be featured on our social media. Showing some love to our community is an important morale booster to current and potential members. Seeing the variety of athletes within our team is also a great way to overcome any misconceptions that CrossFit is only for athletes that look like the ones they see on ESPN or CBS. CrossFit is inclusive to everyone!

I’m confident this sticker campaign will be a success and the limited supply we have will quickly be earned by our athletes. The stereotype is funny because it’s true: CrossFitters love talking about CrossFit and identifying themselves as one. A bumper sticker is an easy way for our athletes to say they are proud of our team (I also consistently say we are a team). By creating a small barrier of entry that is standardized across the board, I believe the feeling of inclusiveness will be magnified and something small like a sticker will bring our team even closer together. Figuring out creative ways to build teams doesn’t have to be complicated. Leaders must find the right type of team building events  that will resonate with their teams and generate positive energy to keep them engaged and working hard. Hopefully these two ways to help build yours!


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