by Stephen Danos
Earlier this month, we posted an interview with author and speaker Kevin Carroll that delved into three traits that all successful leaders have that help motivate their teams.
When it comes to company cultures, there is another concept Carroll espouses that helps to unite and motivate teams — play.
“What I love about play is it allows you to have a level of confidence, especially creative confidence, and agility and nimbleness. As far as play, you have to problem-solve on the fly.”
Purposeful play can organize teams around common goals, then motivate them to problem-solve, create, and collaborate more effectively and quickly than before.
Play Sharpens Problem-Solving Skills
It’s no secret that playing organized games or sports has the potential to promote problem-solving and teamwork. Whether a team’s company has an intramural basketball league or they organize an offsite bonding session at an escape room game, purposeful play requires participants to problem-solve within a set of rules that they might be learning on the fly.
“You need agility and nimbleness of thought in your decision-making,” Carroll says. “But also what I love about play is there is this willingness to collaborate and partner to win, or to solve, or deliver the unexpected.”
In addition, knowing the rules and how a game is played gives teams confidence, allowing them to be in the moment, instinctive, and agile — and these traits can translate to speedier workplace execution. Mental flexibility and the ability to pivot are crucial for maintaining a productive and inclusive workplace environment.
From figuring out how to prioritize work or finding solutions for complex workflows that involve stakeholders from multiple departments, problem-solving skills translate to all areas of business.
Creative Confidence & Productive Brainstorming
Sometimes, play can simply mean doing a quick, dynamic warm-up exercise before you jump into a brainstorming meeting. Getting teams and stakeholders on the same page prior to creating new ideas can help them perform better under the increasing pressure to do more at a faster pace.
“You need to have some way of dynamically warming up the creative muscle to increase the likelihood of success, so you've got to give participants an opportunity to get ready and prepare.”
To make sure everyone is prepared, the meeting’s leader should give participants advance notice that there will be a warm-up exercise, then fill them in with additional details or recommended work before the meeting.
It doesn’t matter if the team has a creative or more strategic role within the greater organization. The warm-up can be a simple activity, such as instructing all team members to go outside for a few minutes, get some fresh air, and report back on something they discovered or noticed. This way, they can take a break from screens, emails, and the meeting agenda to observe, be present, and strengthen their curiosity in our world beyond work.
Increased creative confidence can embolden more outside-of-the-box ideas. Having teams do warm-up exercises can help them develop their ability to explain their ideas and improve communication.
Collaboration Helps Put Ideas into Practice
When it comes to play and organized sports, teams need to work together to win. Collaboration is equally a key driver of success in work environments. After all, if the team does well, it reflects positively on everyone involved and has the potential to make a company-wide impact.
“The best groups I’ve worked with were willing to collaborate. It wasn't ego-led, it was ‘What are we trying to accomplish?’ and ‘What are we trying to advance?’”
Work teams that set aside time during the week to play a game, such as foursquare or cooperative board games, are embracing their “collaborative energy.” To borrow a sports metaphor, being in sync “off the field” sometimes translates to “on the field” excellence.
People that are aligned through elite work execution tools and playful activities can be more intuitive and team-oriented when it comes to executing on work tasks. This general attitude toward deliberate play helps maintain a collaborative mindset, shapes creative confidence, and lets teams problem-solve in real time.
All of these lead to making faster, confident decisions that can have a positive impact on the whole business.
Source: Smartsheet Blog
Writers and Bloggers from Smartsheet.