August 21, 2011

Are You Having Fun at Work?

One of the most important values in our company is “have fun!”

We all work a lot.  Who said being professional and achieving greatness had to be done with a serious face?  I don’t know about you, but in my book it’s not that fun to be serious all the time.

I find that when people have fun they’re more relaxed and comfortable.  And when they’re more relaxed and comfortable, they are more happy and productive.

At VietnamWorks and Navigos Search, we take our work seriously but we do like to have a good time.  We let our hair down.  Sometimes we’re just plain goofy.

I encourage people to express themselves and their unique personalities.  One fun way we do this is through “team show” tradition during each of our monthly “All Hands Meetings.”   A different team each month puts on a show.

The video below contains my and Hang’s show from last year.  You can see we’re both having a great time.  Which is important, because the leader of the organization sets the tone.  A leader should make it safe for people not to be so serious all the time.

Are you having fun at work?  Why not try something fun today?  Both you and your team will love it!

(I learned the power of goofiness and fun from Southwest Airlines.  Thank you Herb Kelleher!!)

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  • Ha. Fun stuff.

    speaking of leadership and creating a fun work environment, have you read the book “Delivering Happiness” by Tony Hseih? He’s the CEO of Zappos, one of the best companies to work at in the U.S. It’s a pretty good and easy read. I had to read it for my company when I joined. He covers a lot of great leadership topics through his own experience of becoming the CEO of the shoe company.

  • Chris

    Hi Linda,

    I have the Zappos book but haven’t read it yet. Gotta get it on my Kindle.

    Earlier this year one of our “Dream-Maker Care” (what we call HR) people took the Zappos “Culture Bootcamp” in Las Vegas. She returned with lots of cool culture ideas.

    Can you share your big takeaways from the book?


  • Hi Chris, my apologies, his last name is Hsieh, not Hseih.

    I think a few of the major themes that I personally remember are..

    + Creating a culture where there is a sense of community, and where people feel like the job they are hired to do, isn’t just something they HAVE to do, but something they WANT to do. Creating a sense of passion in their job. Getting people to feel like their job greatly affects the people around them, and the company at large, and to make them feel like their work matters.

    + Always wanting to offer a hand to help others. And by others, it includes both employees and clients. The book talks a lot about customer service, and “delivering happiness” to the people who buy/use your products/services.

    + Never outsource your best services to 3rd parties; always keep those services in-house. A good chunk of the book talked about Tony’s experience with outsourcing his best service to a 3rd party company, and how that led to a major dip in the company’s health. He eventually gained back this service through a bet, which led him to learn that if you give away what you do best in the company, there isn’t much else to be happy and proud of.

    Overall it’s an enjoyable read. Very easy because he writes the way he speaks, so reading it feels like he’s talking to you and telling you his life story over a casual cup of coffee. I think that’s one of my favorite things about the book. It’s not stuffy and overfilled with technical business development stuff.

    Also, Tony Hsieh is pretty active on twitter. My boss wanted to order at least 25 copies of the book but Amazon only let him order 3. He tweeted this and tagged Tony onto it. Tony saw it, and replied back with a name of a person who was able to hook my boss up with all the copies he needed. Now, if that’s not “delivering happiness,” I don’t know what is.

    Hope you enjoy the book! I’ve been a follower of your other blog for some time now and great to see you branching out to another topic.

    • Chris

      Awesome. Great thoughts.

      I love this: “Getting people to feel like their job greatly affects the people around them, and the company at large, and to make them feel like their work matters.”

      It is so important.

      Everyone wants to feel part of a team. Everyone wants to feel like their work matters. Everyone wants to understand how their work supports the team’s mission. Everyone wants to know how their work adds value in the world.

      Experience has taught me to be skeptical of outsourcing also. A third party doesn’t care about your service the way you do. Outsourcing may appear to save a few dollars on paper, but usually winds up costing you a lot more in lower quality and lost time.

      Thanks for your kind words. Please do come back often. I enjoy your thoughtful comments.


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