We’ve all heard the familiar scoldings growing up. “Quit fooling around.” “Will you please grow up.” “When will you stop acting like a child?”
Well if it were up to me, the answer to that last question would be never.
In an effort to eliminate the childish qualities from our behavior as we race toward adulthood, our child-like qualities often become part of the collateral damage. And that is too bad. By losing our child-like qualities, we lose an immensely valuable resource – the ability to play.
The value and benefits of play cannot be overstated. Studies have found that fun and play are foundational elements in unleashing a person’s creative powers to think differently. They are a critical ingredient in connecting people, improving relationships, increasing productivity, breaking down communication and personal barriers, and alleviating stress and tension.
Unfortunately, all too often I find that many grown-ups shun the idea of having fun and playing, especially at work. It is as if we believe work can’t or shouldn’t be fun . . . otherwise we wouldn’t call it work. Right? You’ve probably heard someone say that at some point in your life.
The only thing that mentality leads to though is more drudgery in our workplaces as we slog through the day.
That is something I have been doing with my clients for many years now, and if their success is any measure, I would say that playing games actually provides them with a competitive advantage as it unleashes all of the benefits listed above and improves the performance of the employees and the company as a whole.
Of course, these aren’t just any games. It’s not like we break out into a game of freeze tag in the middle of a meeting . . . not that I don’t think corporate America could benefit from a good game of freeze tag. Rather, these games are customized, non-electronic, experiential games that are designed to further a company’s goals and facilitate the important conversations necessary to advance progress.
And I believe play has a cumulative effect on people and companies. The more you play, the more creative, productive, connected and stress-free you become.
So that leaves just one question –
Are you playing enough as an adult in your workplace?
It’s time to shake up the way we relate to work – especially in larger organizations and corporations. There is a reason why children laugh and play more than adults. You may think the easy answer is that children have less to worry about. But maybe the right answer is that they remember something we don’t. Perhaps we adults need to learn the valuable gift of play children have to teach us.
Seven days without laughter makes one weak.
– Mort Walke
Talk about gaming the system! Enjoy this moment of fun from the classic 1980s movie WarGames, where even the most serious of topics was made into a game.