How to Make Your People Shine

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Scenario: "Dude, go strategize that widget. Come back when you're done. Yay!" How do you optimize productivity out of someone (and of your business)?

  • a. Encourage seriousness.
  • b. Encourage fun.

If you answered (b), congratulate yo-self. When you encourage your employees/colleagues/yadda to have fun, you boost their productivity like a mofo.

Boosting Fun = Boosting Productivity

According to a recent study by Duke University researchers of wives and their husbands:

People who were exposed to the name of a person who wanted them to work hard performed significantly worse on the anagram task than did participants who were exposed to the name of a person who wanted them to have fun.

Those who restrict their freedom (e.g. not letting them have fun with a task), drive them to rebel:

The main finding of this research is that people with a tendency toward reactance may nonconsciously and quite unintentionally act in a counterproductive manner simply because they are trying to resist someone else's encroachment on their freedom.

And, according to the researchers, that makes them unproductive and a beta playa.

"So do I just give them full freedom?"

Not quite. That's why anarchic systems don't work.

  1. You give them too much freedom, and you let them run wild with your resources.
  2. Yet, if you limit too much freedom, you stifle their creativity and productivity.

Instead, do something else:

What to Do Instead

The key, then: balance. Give them fun, but within a boundary. That boundary ends where it becomes non-productive for your company.

  1. For instance, a soccer coach can pull a fun atmosphere on the pitch (e.g. target goal shots tournament).
  2. But, going beyond a boundary that doesn't do shizzle to help the team (e.g. have the team watch ballet during "practice" time), then productivity drains Paris Hilton's credibility.

And, if you're head of a software team:

  1. Encourage your programmers to experiment with features -- to have fun -- with the project.
  2. Yet, giving fun beyond that boundary (e.g. programming while watching ballet) will cause you to miss those deadlines.

Fun + Within Boundary = Sexy. As you're meeting with your fabulous team, remind those badasses:

"Have fun, playa."

 

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Posted on February 15

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