Fun isn’t exactly my middle name. In fact, just the opposite. My co-workers call me Kim “The Hall Monitor” Hallman.
This is nothing new. In fifth grade, I protested recess as an inefficient use of time, and demanded a study hall so I could get a head start on my homework. My teacher had to order me to play. My senior year of college, while all my friends cried ‘senioritis,’ I was penning an honors thesis, working two internships, performing in multiple musical groups, and applying to grad school.
Don’t get me wrong. I believe in fun, just in its proper time and place – namely, after all the work is done.
So I found myself in an unusual position the other week, as I sat in on a presentation on the ‘Power of Fun’ by Dave Raymond: the original Phillie Phanatic, and current Emperor of Fun + Games at The Fun Department. I took a seat at the front of the Apollo Amphitheatre at The Hub Commerce Square, and promptly took out a pen and paper, ready to jot down Dave’s pearls of wisdom, only to get taunted for taking notes!
After the pleasantries, Dave went on to recount his recruitment as Phillie Phanatic, and his only guiding principle in creating one of the most iconic brands in sports history: to have fun out there. He shared his many exploits and antics, from skydiving to ‘stealing’ babies and barely outrunning an enraged band director. And he walked us through some of his most meaningful appearances as the Phanatic, including a stint at a rocket scientist convention, playing a prank with a holy priest, and delivering smiles at a funeral service. If fun works in those settings, he told us, fun can work anywhere.
In fact, fun works best as a surprise element, during the 9-5, in short doses (15-30 mins), delivered on a regular basis. Not after the work is done – because, really, when is the work ever done? Not once a year. Consistent, meaningful fun.
Fun, Dave said, is actually good for business. It’s a positive distraction, scientifically proven to enhance creativity, productivity and motivation.
I left that presentation determined to be more of a “funster” than a “fun-killer.” And this week, I already made good on that promise – I decided to start our staff meeting with a little video that put the ‘Theory of Fun’ to the test, and got our whole office talking and trading ideas. And now I’m spreading the fun message to you all.
This week’s challenge: Have some fun. Where will your company start first?