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In my book, Celebrate the Messengers, Don’t Shoot Them, I give concrete examples of how the environment in the workplace is critical to desired outcomes.  For example, in 1995 when I assumed directorship of a Career Services department within a State University, I transformed the once low engagement department into a fully engaged high performance team of committed professionals.  Fun was most definitely the by-product of those efforts!

When I arrived, the staff was not having fun nor were they engaged with each other or the challenges the office faced.  I quickly changed the environment from a formal setting to a relaxed and often playful setting where each day we came together to check-in with each other on a personal level, share stories and experiences.  These close connections and shared laughter and experiences feed creativity in the workplace and allow employees to be their authentic selves.  No one should feel the need to leave their ‘real’ self at their own back door.

You see as the leader of an organization, you need to know and understand the full talents of your team which often are not uncovered unless a relaxed and comfortable setting encourages staff to share these talents.  I had one staff member create professional displays at a fraction of the cost and she had fun doing it!  Another shared her passion for computers which led to a transformation in her duties and her attitude in the workplace. Together as a staff we were always using our collective ingenuity to reconfigure our office at minimal cost to meet a new demand. These interactions helped to build a team of multi-talented individuals that in concert help to make our workplace vibrant and enjoyable each day.

Problem solving was seen as an adventure and everyone worked to their strengths. We understood and leveraged what each of us brought to the table and we were all fully engaged in the process of success.  Best of all, we had a lot of fun in the process!  Of course nothing is perfect and we had our challenges but we also used a problem solving process (CPS) that always moved us forward.

When I think back on all of the accomplishments this small team of six achieved over those eight years, I marvel when I compare our department to those at Universities four times our size.  We were an award winning operation that generated funding twice our operating budget.  Best of all, we were fully committed to helping students find jobs and we had great success because of this high level of commitment. For more information on how to infuse creative thinking into your organization go to http://www.successworkonline.com/.

Further confirmation is a recent book, From Workplace to Playspace, Pamela Meyer which reports on a study by Patrick Kulesa involving 664,000 employees worldwide.  The results of the study show there is a direct correlation between productive play and engagement that leads to commitment.  If organizations create a ‘space’ where employees can be engaged in playing out possibilities, creating fresh ideas and considering new perspectives, they become committed to their purpose within the organization.  To learn more go to www.meyercreativity.com.


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