Whether it’s food, exercise, work, getting up early, what ever it is, at some point we’ll mess up. We’ll binge one day, skip a work out, work on something fun instead of doing our exact job duties. This is normal, there’s no way around it. The problem is what happens afterwards.

As soon as you cheat you start walking around with a weight on your back. Now you really have to do better tomorrow or you’ve screwed up twice. And every time you mess up it gets added to the list until soon enough, you’ve stopped all together because your sick of being stressed about messing up. No wonder diets never work.

Your team is exactly like you. They need to cheat. They need to do a fun project with no tangible results. They need to make a small improvement without consulting the right departments. And they need to do this outside of any structure. Hence the term cheating.

Allowing your team to cheat provides two benefits. It lets them relax and really have fun. And it gives you a chance to learn what they care about.

What do they do when they cheat? How often do they cheat? Are they able to complete their primary projects or duties regardless of how much they cheat? And if they are cheating too much, or unable to complete their tasks, then you’ve probably got them working in the wrong area.

Cheating is a great way to learn how to help your team be successful. If you never let them cheat, you’ll never know what they should really be doing.