Oxymoron? Fun & Productivity
Whether it is Disney characters singing, “Whistle while you work,” or the Nebraska volleyball team featured in the October 9th Wall Street Journal article, A Team That Digs Deeper to Have Fun, the idea of applying fun to make hard work easier (and more successful) intrigues us all—unless you practice, or are in a culture of, fear-driven leadership.
PLEASE don’t miss the point by being put off by the word “fun.” If it’s more appropriate, use the phrase ”enjoying yourself while working.” The point is that, when people are enjoying themselves, they are not stressed and are more productive.
Remember that The Law of Attraction dictates that you get more of what you focus on. When your team members are focused on what stresses them then they will attract even more of what stresses them – like being behind schedule. When they are focused on enjoying their work, they will attract more of what is enjoyable – like being ahead of schedule.
I once had an attendee at one of my programs report, “When we’re laughing at work, we get into trouble. Our boss thinks we’re goofing off.” That made me sad, especially since not only was she and her co-workers negatively impacted by this, so was that fear-driven boss. He was missing opportunities for his team to increase productivity and lower stress.
More than ever, it’s important to pay attention to the impact of high stress/no fun on productivity WHY?
- It’s costing you BIG bucks – low productivity is a huge crisis for U.S. businesses. When productivity is down, money is flying out the windows. Think about what even a 1% increase in productivity might mean to your bottom line.
- Your top talent can walk – The unemployment rate is way down in the U.S. That means workers have options and don’t have to stay at a job that’s high stress/no fun. If they’re talented, they are being sought out by your competition. Heck, even if they’re middle-of-the road they’re likely getting calls. Hiring and training their replacements costs you dearly.
- The mediocre workers will stay – The workers who stay are usually less talented. Their stress certainly makes them less productive when they are present and probably causes them to be absent a fair amount. Take a look at how much sick leave is being used. And what is health insurance costing your company?
- It’s causing YOU stress – when your team is stressed, so are you. When they are behind schedule, your boss is not happy. It becomes a negative vortex that can pull you under.
It’s so simple to allow people to enjoy their work. It requires leadership that is fun-driven as opposed to fear-driven. Asking yourself every day, “How can we make this more fun?” will pay off in ways you cannot fathom. Try it for a week. Just one week. And watch what happens.
By the way, that Nebraska volleyball team I mentioned earlier? Their motto is: Laugh Together, Win Together! In December 2017 they won their FIFTH NCAA title.
To schedule a FREE 20-minute phone call about how you can make your work environment more fun, email Silver@SilverSpeaks.com