On Humor and Honey Badgers: Steve Reardon (Bill4Time)

By Jennifer Aaker, Naomi Bagdonas, Steve Reardon
2018 | Case No. M373 | Length 16 pgs.

Steve Reardon, CEO of Bill4Time, loved a good practical joke. But humor was more than just a side passion—it helped shape how Reardon operated as a CEO, and helped define the office culture he hoped to build. While most people might assume that individuals are funny—or not—by nature, Reardon counters that the opposite is true. To employ humor effectively means working hard to figure out your own style of humor, as well as taking the time to practice the humor stories and humor bits to use. This trial-and-error approach can also help ensure the particular joke or humorous story is appropriate for the specific occasion or audience.

Identifying your own special brand of funny could be tremendously rewarding on a professional level. Humor can greatly enhance an employee’s influence and power, for instance. For CEOs and others in leadership positions, employing self-deprecating humor could make company leaders seem more human, more vulnerable, and more approachable. But on a broader level, humor in the workplace could be essential to overall team-building and cohesiveness, and to fostering a creative, hard-working corporate culture.

Reardon’s experiences and anecdotes provide a first-hand look at how humor can be an effective—and fun—workplace tool.

Learning Objective

This case is designed to help students understand the power of humor in the workplace, as a tool to help build high-performance teams, as well as foster a cohesive and productive office culture. Students learn that humor, like other business skills, takes strategic thinking, planning, and practice.
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