The below article has also been published by THE HINDU, Business Line on Aug 31st, 2012. http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/features/newmanager/article3836405.ece?homepage=true&ref=wl_home
You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation – Plato
Yet in homes, schools and offices all over our country – if there is one refrain that we hear so very often, it is: “Don’t Play”, “Don’t fool around”, “Get serious”. Who has got it wrong – the Greek or a hundred thousand Indians?
Well, it seems a hundred thousand Indians did get that wrong afterall. Scientists and researchers in a varied gamut of fields – from child development to criminal psychologists to medical practitioners to hard nosed corporates – are slowly arriving upon the same conclusions. Playing is good in more ways than one.
The strong developmental benefits of “play” is by now well documented by authorities on child development. This has reflected in the progressive methodologies being adopted to teach children, in more playful ways. The legendary story of Dr.Patch Adams has shown how people with deep mental and physical ailments world over – can be drawn out to better lives by the healing power of playing. Psychologists and recruiters are increasingly looking into “play histories” of individuals, to get a deeper understanding of people.
Even in corporates – playing and a playful attitude has often thrown up surprisingly successful results. Two anecdotal stories make the point.
It is as if, when we get the license to play – we are unshackled from dogmas and the weight of experience. We are suddenly more open to learning. We are also noticeably kinder and more accommodative of each other.
In our work with corporates – using different experiential methodologies, we see this amazing power of play come to the fore time and again in different ways:
Regardless of what your job is – it can be significantly enhanced if you mix it with a healthy dose of fun and play. Easy as it sounds, that takes efforts too. So the next time you have a team meeting – challenge yourself to make it fun and more playful for everyone. If you are making a presentation, ask yourself whether you can do anything to evoke atleast a smile in your audience.
Try and plan different fun experiences for your team. It could be a team cooking experience, it could be a scavenger hunt, it could be a facilitated team building session. Infact it could be anything that gets your people out of the daily rut. You are limited only by your imagination.
We take ourselves and our jobs in corporates far too seriously. As the philosopher Khalil Gibran taught us: “This also shalt pass”. In the short time that you are there though, why not make it more fun for yourself and others?