Tom Desmarias, a Research Fellow with Procter & Gamble shared this incredible story of a team’s important 180-shift and the power of team identity. 


For ‘Innovation 2000’, a Company event where new technologies developed within the Company and by select suppliers were showcased in a 3 day event at the Cincinnati Convention center. FAM, our internally developed absorbing foam, of course was one of the booths. We exemplified many of the different uses of FAM, but showcased the extraordinary absorption power that only FAM delivers. We had one display that showed how FAM moved fluid over a meter vertically to its full saturation level. Yes, FAM could suck fluid that high.


Since the audience for this event was most of our younger employees, I thought the double entendre of ‘FAM SUCKS’ would be wildly popular, and it was. We had to have two re-runs of the buttons made. Even our R&D vice president was wearing one.


Among our team, it was a badge of honor, a tribute to our success in designing a material that worked like no other material in the world.


But as we faced delay after delay by the customer project team, and we shed members to save budget, cancelation by our primary customer, and one false start with another internal customer, the FAM SUCKS logo started taking on a darker meaning. More like FAM SUCKS careers into a dark hole, FAM sucks resources, etc.


With our success in the marketplace, we needed a new identity, but much like we transformed the same group of people into a new dynamic organization with Pathways to Leadership®, I did not want to give up totally on our ‘heritage’ pin. So a simple transformation just seemed appropriate, so I fooled around in Word and came up with:



To say it has been well received, and shared with our broader organization, would be an understatement. Like yesterday, we had a meeting with a gentleman who had worked on FAM safety until about 5 years ago, and has recently been transferred back to a role where he is involved with FAM again. I presented him with one of the new pins as a means of welcome, and he exclaimed ‘I LOVE IT! I will definitely wear this across the street!’ (in his home organization).


Many of the FAM alumni have requested pins as well, to proclaim the project success and our new identity. We have people actively trying to join our organization now, both because of our success, but equally as they see the excited and engaged team that we have become as a result of Pathways to Leadership®.


Why is team identity important to you? Share your thoughts below.


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