Managing to Have Fun: How Fun at Work Can Motivate Your Employees, Inspire Your Coworkers, and Boost Your Bottom Line

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9780684827087: Managing to Have Fun: How Fun at Work Can Motivate Your Employees, Inspire Your Coworkers, and Boost Your Bottom Line

What's the best way to revolutionize the workplace? Forget restructuring and reengineering. Have a little fun!
Imaging sendig a pizza to your assistant's home after keeping her late at the office...or writing a "thank you" note to her spouse for being so understanding! It's not business as usual, but as management consultant Matt Weinstein makes clear, recognition and appreciation can play a vital role in boosting morale and productivity among stressed-out, overworked employees. Based on his success with some of America's best-known and most profitable companies, Weinstein presents a step-by-step plan for building an enthusiastic, high-performance team and offers hundreds of tried-and-true techniques for enhancing employee satisfaction and personal pride.

"Sinopsis" puede pertenecer a otra edición de este libro.

About the Author:

Matt Weinstein is a psychologist, management consultant, and nationally acclaimed expert on play. One of the most widely requested speakers on the corporate lecture circuit, Weinstein is the founder and Emperor of Playfair, Inc., an international management consulting firm that presents innovative team-building programs to more than 400 clients each year. He lives in Berkeley, California.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1

The Four Principles of Fun at Work

Why a Company That Plays Builds a Business That Works

Work is not supposed to be fun. That's why it's called work.

Work and Play are supposed to be opposites, like Love and War.

"Make love, not war."

"Quit playing around and get back to work!"


Just as love is sweet and war is hell, play is fun, and work is...hard.

Traditional business wisdom says that if you see someone having fun on the job, then that person is probably slacking off.

This time, traditional business wisdom is dead wrong.

By having fun on the job, perhaps an employee is expressing the joy of working in a job that is satisfying to her. Or perhaps she has found a healthy way to deal with the stress and pressure of a difficult assignment. Or maybe she is taking a momentary "fun break" from a difficult task, to which she will be able to return more alert and energized.

But if taking a fun break and wasting company time both look pretty much the same, how can you tell which is which? How do you know if you are looking at someone relieving stress, or if you are looking at someone who is just goofing off?.

It's all a matter of perception. When you see your employees or coworkers having fun, you get an opportunity to encourage an atmosphere of excitement, support, and celebration on the job. Once you realize that "goofing off" is in the eye of the beholder, you can look at fun at work a little differently. Instead of suppressing fun at work, you can begin to nourish and cultivate it, because the expression of fun at work can be extraordinarily beneficial for the morale and productivity of your entire organization.

I am always amazed when people proudly proclaim, "I never mix business with pleasure." I want to reply, "What is wrong with you?" If you want to build a successful team at work, your management philosophy should be exactly the opposite -- you should always mix business with pleasure. You should be constantly finding new ways to bring pleasure in business to yourself, your employees, and your customers!

For too many companies, building a team means creating a high-powered, smoothly functioning organization that has plenty of muscle, but not much heart. It is the absence of the human side of business that depletes employee morale, and contributes to job dissatisfaction and burnout. By adding an element of fun and celebration to a team-building program, you can take an important step toward humanizing your workplace, and creating a sense of heart and soul in your organization.

The Four Principles of Fun at Work

How do you establish a corporate culture that values celebration, appreciation, and the human side of business? There is no right or wrong way -- every business is different. There are thousands of ways you can approach the transformation of your own particular workplace. How, then, do you begin? There are four basic principles that can help you begin to incorporate fun and play into your business life.

Principle 1: Think About the Specific People Involved

Bringing fun to the workplace does not happen in a void -- it happens as a natural outgrowth of what is already occurring on the job. And not everyone likes to receive acknowledgment and praise in the same way. You have to ask yourself, Who are the people on your staff? What do they like to do for fun? How can you match their style of fun when they're not at work with the way you reward them on the job? The better you get to know the individuals in the organization, the more appropriate and the more effective you can be in using fun and play for reward, recognition, and revitalization.

Principle 2: Lead by Example

The people in your company look to management for clues about how they should act. If the managers don't loosen up, the employees are not going to loosen up either. There is a famous business axiom that says the three best ways to lead are by example, by example, and by example. There won't be any fun in your organization if you don't set an example by your own behavior. Every manager's leadership style is unique. Take some time to determine how comfortable you are with the idea of fun at work, and then lead based on what you have learned.

Principle 3: If You're Not Getting Personal Satisfaction from What You're Doing, It's Not Worth Doing

Don't kid yourself. You're not just doing this for your employees' benefit or to build a sense of team. You need this for yourself as well. When you give on the material level you receive on the emotional level. When you take time to celebrate your employees' successes, you reap the reward of feeling connected to the members of your team. We have all known successful managers who have built a thriving business, but who wake up each morning with a feeling of isolation, the feeling that it's lonely at the top. Bringing fun to work is not a one-way street: this is for your benefit, too. Developing a sense of connectedness to your employees is essential to your long-term emotional well-being.

Principle 4: Change Takes Time

Be patient. If change is going to be effective, it takes planning. And it takes time to sink in. A corporate culture doesn't change overnight from one in which seriousness and "professionalism" are rewarded to one in which fun and play are encouraged. Change is like a dimmer switch: darkness gradually turns to light in almost imperceptible increments, and a corporate culture that has devalued laughter and play metamorphoses into an organization in which fun and play are an everyday occurrence. Start by planning a number of small events that give the clear message that the company is learning to celebrate itself and to publicly appreciate its employees.

The Four Principles in Action

These four principles have been instrumental to my work with executives who want to use fun and play to build a team. In the following case studies you will see these principles at work in a wide variety of industries. Once you understand the way these principles function in the everyday work world, you will be better able to visualize the best way to proceed in your own organization.

Principle 1: Think About the Specific People Involved

Sarah Fizer, a secretary in Philadelphia, told me, "I've been trapped in the same job for over seven years, and I've hated it almost the whole time. I'm the secretary for three different account executives, but my new boss has really changed things around for me. For one thing, he makes a point of coming by my workstation almost every day, regardless of whether he has anything for me to do or not, just to touch base and check in with me."

One day Sarah's new boss appeared at her workstation at nine o'clock in the morning and slapped a thirty-five-page memo down on her desk. "I need this corrected and back in my office by ten-thirty," he told her.

Sarah started working on the project immediately. On page 10, she found a little yellow Post-it note that read, "If you get this back to me in less than an hour, I will take you out to lunch on Thursday!" When she got to page 17, she found a miniature chocolate bar taped to the top of the page, with another little note saying "You're almost halfway through -- eat this immediately!"

"He always does stuff like that and I laugh out loud every time I get one of his crazy notes," Sarah told me. "But do you know what made that first time really special? I knew that while he was composing his report, he was thinking about me, about my having to type it up for him. And he thought about how to make that fun for me. That he would actually think about me making my way through that long report when I wasn't even around -- that was totally different from anything that's ever happened around here before."

Everyone at the office knew that Sarah loved to dance. She brought her dancing shoes to work with her every day -- "I couldn't wait for the workday to be over, so I could go out dancing," she recalled. One day her new boss buzzed her into his office. Sarah walked in. He was sitting behind his desk, reading some notes. "Come in," he said to her without looking up from his notes, "and please close the door behind you."

As Sarah turned to close the door, her new boss leaped up from his chair and pushed a button on the tape recorder on top of his desk. Loud dance music filled the room. "He came out from behind his desk, took my hand, and started dancing around his office with me!" Sarah recalled in amazement. "He wasn't very good at it, but we danced around for one wild minute. We were both laughing and we were both really getting into it. Then he gave me a big smile as he walked back to his desk. He turned off the music and he said to me, 'That will be all -- thank you.'"

Sarah smiled as she retold the story. "I walked out of there stunned! But every week now, almost without fail, he buzzes me into his office, we share one minute of wild dancing, and then he throws me out. Nobody knows about this except him and me. But it has totally changed the way I feel about coming to work!"

Laughter and play on the job are not an end in and of themselves. They are a doorway, an entrée into being more human with the people we work with. When two people share a laugh together, when they share some fun together, there is an unspoken communication between them that says, "I share your values. I am moved by the same things that move you. You and I are alike in some way." That is the purpose of laughter and play and fun on the job -- to create a bridge from the isolated world of work to the everyday world of the rest of our lives.

Laughter and play are a powerful way of reaching out and making a connection with another person, because laughter and play are a common language that we all share. The language of shared laughter and play is a language we first learn as children. It is a language that can cut through the artificial hierarchies that are created on the job. It is a language that speaks simply and eloquently to the fundamental human similarity between any two people, regardless of their relative status in the workplace.

I included the story of the Dancing Secretary in a speech I gave to a trade association meeting of several hundred manufacturing executives. Near the end of my talk, I opened the floor to questions from the audience. A well-dressed man in his midforties leaped to his feet and started shouting loudly in my direction even before the microphone could be passed to him. "You know, all that sounds great when you talk about it in a speech, but in the real world it's just a load of crap!" he said forcefully. "It will never work. At least not with my people it won't."

I tried my best not to get defensive in the face of his verbal assault. "What is it about your particular workplace that makes you think it won't work?" I asked him cautiously.

"You say that 'people like to do business with people who like doing business.' Well, I like to do business -- in fact, I live to do business. But fun has nothing to do with it at our company. The reason we're still in business is because I'm pushing my people to their limits. If I started thinking about fun and play, we'd never get anything done!"

The executive's name was Marshall Hall, he later told me, and he was the president of a company that designed and manufactured overstuffed furniture. As Marshall had begun to speak, he had slowly shifted his attention away from me and toward the other people in the audience. By this point he had turned his back on me completely, in order to address the audience more directly.

"I just can't do the kinds of things he's been talking about," he said to the group, with visible emotion. "If I started dancing with my secretary," he continued with obvious distaste, waving his hands in the air for emphasis, "my employees would think I had lost my mind!" It was evident that Marshall Hall knew how to work a crowd and that many people in the audience agreed with him. As he turned back to me for my reply, the audience gave him a loud, sustained burst of applause.

I explained to Marshall that I believed that with one playful gesture, Sarah's boss had reached across the artificial barrier that separates management from staff. With the humanity of that gesture, he had communicated to his secretary an essential message: "We are going to spend more time with each other than with our flesh-and-blood families. If we can't create a living, human relationship with each other at work, then we're wasting most of our waking lives!"

But Marshall Hall was right about not dancing with his own secretary. A scenario like that was possible only if there was a previous history of trust between them. Dancing with his secretary was probably not appropriate for him, and I told him so.

"You'd better believe it's not appropriate for me," said Marshall with a self-satisfied grin, turning again to his friends in the audience. "If I tried dancing with my secretary, I'd probably get sued for sexual harassment!" This remark earned him another round of enthusiastic applause.

"But you need to understand that these things don't happen in a vacuum," I explained to him. "The fact that this secretary liked to dance was well known within the company. She and her boss had already established a bond of trust, so there was no way his approach would be misinterpreted as sexual harassment. It was clearly an effort to reach out to her on her terms, and say, 'Let's be real people together. Let's do something together that I know that you like to do.'

"I'm not suggesting that you dance around the office with your secretary, if that's not appropriate for you. That's not the point of this story. The point is that if you want to make genuine personal contact with your own secretary, you have to consider what kinds of things your secretary likes to do when she's away from work. What's her idea of fun? How can you bridge the world of work and the rest of life?"

I could tell that Marshall was considering my question seriously. He looked at me for a few seconds, and then shook his head slowly from side to side. "I don't have a clue," he said softly.

That is the first principle of Managing to Have Fun: Think about the specific people involved. It's not enough to show up at work one morning with a new bag of tricks and dump them on the people in your office. Everyone has his or her own style of fun, his or her own limit as to what constitutes appropriate behavior. You need to respect the particular individuals involved.

If you can think about the individuals who report to you -- or those who work around you -- and learn as much as you can about them and what they enjoy, you will be better able to create fun experiences for them. This book is filled with hundreds of sample suggestions of fun-filled activities that you can adapt to your own particular situation. But for these suggestions to be effective and appropriate, you first need to think about the specific people involved.

Principle 2: Lead by Example

Marshall Hall approached me privately after my lecture about the Dancing Secretary, and we had a long conversation that led to many more talks over the next few months. Marshall clearly understood that he was in a unique position to make changes in his organization because he was the chief executive officer. He was the boss. But he was afraid that if he started implementing too many changes too quickly, he might have a rebellion on his hands -- or at least a lot of confused workers.

Although he truly wanted to make...

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Descripción SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 1997. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. New edition. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.What s the best way to revolutionize the workplace? Forget restructuring and reengineering. Have a little fun! Imaging sendig a pizza to your assistant s home after keeping her late at the office.or writing a thank you note to her spouse for being so understanding! It s not business as usual, but as management consultant Matt Weinstein makes clear, recognition and appreciation can play a vital role in boosting morale and productivity among stressed-out, overworked employees. Based on his success with some of America s best-known and most profitable companies, Weinstein presents a step-by-step plan for building an enthusiastic, high-performance team and offers hundreds of tried-and-true techniques for enhancing employee satisfaction and personal pride. Nº de ref. de la librería APC9780684827087

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Descripción SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 1997. Paperback. Estado de conservación: New. New edition. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. What s the best way to revolutionize the workplace? Forget restructuring and reengineering. Have a little fun! Imaging sendig a pizza to your assistant s home after keeping her late at the office.or writing a thank you note to her spouse for being so understanding! It s not business as usual, but as management consultant Matt Weinstein makes clear, recognition and appreciation can play a vital role in boosting morale and productivity among stressed-out, overworked employees. Based on his success with some of America s best-known and most profitable companies, Weinstein presents a step-by-step plan for building an enthusiastic, high-performance team and offers hundreds of tried-and-true techniques for enhancing employee satisfaction and personal pride. Nº de ref. de la librería LIE9780684827087

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