A draft chapter from my upcoming book, The Fun Paradox
If you've worked for a corporation, you've almost certainly experienced consultants, motivational speakers, or administrative initiatives that were designed to improve teamwork, corporate culture, quality, or productivity – well-intentioned efforts to turn your organization overnight into a lean, mean, fightin' machine. My own experience was with a corporate culture consultancy, and my organization spent 2 days of the time of all senior and mid-level managers (~1000 people, or almost 6 man-years) on improving our corporate culture. We spent a full day watching short PowerPoint presentations given by overly cheerful HR people and participating in stagey group activities. The purpose was to drive home about ten messages that could have fit on a single PowerPoint slide, messages that I would have had a hard time turning into a talk that lasted more than fifteen minutes.
The final result? I did get some anonymous feedback from my colleagues, bosses, and subordinates as part of one of the exercises, and it was useful. The rest went into the recycling bin, the only lesson learned was that if something generates this much paper based on such a thin serving of content, it's crap. A fad, destined to fade.
The nature of fads is to come on hard and quickly go, leaving behind remaindered books and memories of tedium and suppressed laughter. Why is fun any different? If I make the claim that fun is what you should pursue at work, and the metric you should use to measure progress and success (and I do so claim), and offer you methods to encourage and develop fun (I will), why should you believe that fun isn't just another navel-gazing exercise, or an instant recipe for success that tastes like, and is just as filling as, all the other things labeled "instant"?
Fun isn't a fad because fun is hard wired. If you encounter Business Process Engineering, or Six Sigma, or Matrix Management (and I'm not saying any of these are fads), you'll need an explanation – and even with one, you still may not understand. You don't need an explanation to understand fun. Almost everyone sees fun as a very desirable aspect of their lives, and knows exactly when they're having (and not having) fun, and our hypersensitive fun detector is not a human attribute by chance. There's a reason that you instinctively know what fun is – why otters clearly know too, and, from watching the squirrels screw around in my backyard, why even rodents seem to know. Because fun makes us better, more likely to survive. Fun is already a classic, older than humankind.
Learn more about how you can bring the power of fun to your work through Funshop . . .
I'm now posting more new chapters on the Funshop Blog, help me refine it and get credit and prizes!
Download a PDF version of The Fun Manifesto . . .
Listen to the audiobook version of The Fun Manifesto . . .
But, most importantly, please go out and have fun! and . . . why not now?