Fun: a critical component of success

Feb 24, 2007

When unemployment was commonplace and jobs were in short supply there was an abundance of qualified, talented individuals who would work for you. They would also be grateful, loyal and committed to your goals. You just had to ensure that you paid them regularly and let them have holidays.

Motivation was simple: Work or be fired.

Some people still think they should run their business in that manner. But in today’s world that’s a recipe for frustration, under-performance and difficulty in attracting and retaining the people who will make a vital difference to your business.

In today’s world of high employment, hiring, training and firing are time-consuming, expensive and fraught with implications and difficulties. Pay and benefits alone no longer attract the right people. Making the work rewarding and fun is one of the best ways not only to attract and retain the most creative and productive employees but also to achieve outstanding results.

Walk into any business that consciously practices this philosophy and the chances are that it’s a very successful business.

My most successful clients are companies that regularly double, triple or quadruple their business; they set the pace in their industry; they win prestigious awards like Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year; they emerge from obscurity and become market leaders in their field. These companies all recognise that fun at work is a critical component of their business philosophy and their success.

I’m not advocating that you turn your business into a holiday camp where people turn up to have a good time at your expense. Your business should be run to make a profit because salaries and overheads must be paid. But it’s possible to be serious about business and still have fun in the way you conduct your business.

It’s about having fun with a serious intent, respecting the need for productivity, achieving sales goals and earnings.

The benefits of fun at work are overwhelming. People look forward to coming to work; they’re more creative; they sell more of your products or services; they enjoy the positive impact they have on the lives of their colleagues and clients each day; they’re more energetic, enthusiastic, positive and motivated.

Having a good time is healthy. People cope much better with stressful situations; they bond more easily with colleagues and clients; they take more pride in what they do and the way they do it; they’re more flexible, creative and innovative under pressure; they’re also more likely to want to learn and improve their skills and go above and beyond the call of duty without being asked to do so.

When people are having fun they’re energised. When they’re energised, they perform better. They feel alive and want to give their best effort to the task. Happy team members also treat each other well. Fun leads to creativity. Time passes quickly.

Downtime, absenteeism and meeting tedium are reduced. You enjoy much higher staff retention. Even tedious work becomes enjoyable and most important of all, the work itself becomes a reward, not just a way of achieving rewards.

Think about it. It’s always more pleasurable to do business with people who can lighten as well as enlighten a situation. When you ask people to recount their most pleasurable experiences, they will often tell you about the times they were having fun, laughing with others or when they were amused or lightened by the same perspective of a situation.

This creates fondly remembered experiences and makes more people want to come back to do more business with you more often.

None of this is hard nor does it require special skills or training. It costs next to nothing to implement, can result in nothing less than a transformation of your business – and businesses which set out to create a fun inspiring workplace normally excel in their field or industry.

There’s a Harvester restaurant in Milton Keynes where staff regularly come into work on their day off, because it’s such fun to be there. It’s no coincidence that it’s the second most successful Harvester restaurant in the UK nor that their staff retention is the envy of their industry.

Sun Microsystems had a lot of fun too when it was at the height of its growth curve. Its principal architect and co-founder, appropriately named Bill Joy, was a great prankster. So his team were great pranksters in return and there were spectacular cases where they got their own back.

On one occasion he took a taxi to work after returning from a flight. He had left his car in the car park but when opened his office door he found his Porsche with its lights on and the engine running. His team had dismantled his car, reassembled it in his office, attached a hose out of the window to expel the exhaust fumes and obtained a special permit from the fire department to leave it there with its engine running.

On another occasion, Bill returned to find his Ferrari apparently floating on its wheels in the middle of an ornamental lake and there was no easy way of getting it out as you couldn’t just drive it out. Several of his team had got together to take some blocks into the lake and carry the car on to the blocks. They reversed the process to get it out again.
They all had fun because he had fun. Sun Microsystems was an incredible workplace as a result and they came out with products that were streets ahead of the marketplace at the time.

Google goes from strength to strength for very similar reasons. In next to no time it’s become one of the most powerful and trusted brands in the world, much of which it attributes to fun in the workplace being a central part of their culture.

If fun at work makes all the difference at Sun Microsystems, Google or even a Harvester restaurant in Milton Keynes, what difference will it make to your business? I’ve run out of space this month, so my next article will explain how to make this work in your business too.

For more information, visit www.dspconnect.com

DSP empowers smart successful business leaders by providing them with world-class knowledge of low-risk/high-return marketing strategies supported by on-going email, online and face-to-face, facilitation to guarantee that you put what you’ve learned into practice… so that you Develop, Succeed and Prosper.

The process starts when you attend one of DSP’s highly acclaimed three-day workshops. They’re guaranteed to give you the knowledge, the tools and the techniques you need to transform your mindset, your business fortunes, and your perspective on business forever, so much so that in 2005 these workshops exceeded the expectations of 100 per cent of participants, up from 99.5pc in 2004.

If you don’t learn more about growing your business in three days than 99pc of businesses will learn in a couple of lifetimes or if by 2pm on the second day you don’t get at least one idea which will totally repay the cost of your workshop, then there will be nothing to pay.

You’ll receive a full and immediate refund. No questions asked. No fine print. No red tape. No hard feelings either. So you just can’t lose! A few places are still available on May 16-18 but they are selling out fast.

For more information visit www.dspconnect.com, or call now on 01908 357657 to reserve your place. We guarantee you’ll be thrilled you did.”

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