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Most Post: Most Fun

A while back, I started a new series which I'll run occasionally entitled MOST.  It's your chance as my readers to share the extremes of your career/life with me and the rest of the world (or at leat the few hundred who read this blog.

FunworksThis MOST POST question comes from a book I recently received from Leslie Yerkes:  Fun Works - Creating Places where People Love to Work (Second Edition).  While the book was given to me, I still thought it was a very enjoyable and relevant read.  Ms. Yerkes' premise is an evaluation of 11 different company cultures to see what they do to make their work fun.  Companies such as Pike Place Fish Market, Southwest Airlines, and Harvard University Dining Services are dissected for how they make work fun.  Don't be mistaken; each is an accomplishment-driven organization.  The key here is what the author terms the Fun/Work Fusion... Fun and Work do not have to be mutually exclusive.  Some of the key principles shared include (among others):

  • Give permission to perform
  • Capitalize on the spontaneous
  • Value a diversity of fun styles
  • Be authentic
  • Hire good people and get out of their way

As somebody whose mantra has always been, "If you're not having fun, you're not doing it right," I really appreciated the observations that Ms. Yerkes makes in her book.  It is easily structured to put it down and pick it up without a loss of continuity.  Great quotes, thought questions, and exercises make it a very practical guide.  I'm seriously considering using it as a text for a leadership development course I'll be teaching this fall at Drake.  And while they book came from her publicist, if I didn't like it that much, I wouldn't be writing about it, let alone considering whether to use it as an MBA text.

Which leads me to the MOST POST for today:  What project, activity, event or person has been the MOST FUN in your career?  What did they do (or you do) that earned this title?  Was "fun" a conscious decision or did it happen by accident?  And is "fun" an occasional event that shows up in your career or do you fuse fun into everything you do?

Fav_momentThe most fun I've ever had on a project?  That's easy.  Creating a HIPAA compliance training video and making it look like an episode of COPS.  My energy level was through the roof as we handled scripting, casting, shooting, editing, props, etc.  It required my full attention and enthusiasm for three straight months of fusing left brain processes and procedures with right brain fun and creativity.  The client still talks about that video to this day.

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Comments

Kevin Brady

Hi Tim,

Good Post. I used to think about projects and people in a hard way when I first started my Project Management career. Then I noticed the software houses creating the newest and most functionally rich software had something special going on other than SSADM and PRINCE II.

The way I am motivating a hardworking programme team at this point in time is providing:-

(1) Free fruit daily in the office
(2) Free coke and orange juice
(3) Breakfast items in the kitchen if one comes in an hour early
(4) Pool table in the middle of one of the meeting areas

These low cost additions are increasing productivity (lights on after hours) and raising moral.

Timothy Johnson

Kevin - great additions! It's amazing how the little things in life make such a huge difference. The small kindnesses we provide our project team are huge.

Al

I perform the HR function at a health insurance company and am always on the look-out to find a way to make HIPAA training not so tedious for staff. The COPS training video mentioned above or something similar would be perfect. Any suggestions on how to keep my employees' eyes from glazing over or is there a possibility to purchase the COPS-like training video? Thanks.

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