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Why “true fun” is so important for your organization – and for your life.

True fun at the inaugural Culture of Ownership Leadership Academy (COLAcademy): teammates playing, connected, in flow while decorating jars for The Pickle Challenge for Charity. The next event will be November 9-11.

In her new book The Power of Fun, author Catherine Price writes that “true fun” (as opposed to the “fake fun” of, say, mindlessly playing addictive games on a cell phone) requires three elements: playfulness, connection, and flow. She says one of the best ways to know whether people are having fun is if they are laughing.

At our recent COLAcademy, one evening after a dinner at our local Mexican restaurant, we brought everyone to the Values Coach offices for a pickle jar decorating contest. The only instruction I gave them was to have fun. As you can see, everyone did. They also came up with some of the most amazing pickle jar creations I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen hundreds of them.

One of the most important elements of moving from a culture focused on accountability to a Culture of Ownership is making it fun. That is what The Pickle Challenge for Charity does. And in the process of turning complaints into contributions, it also raises money for a local charity selected by the organization.

In an influential white paper published in 2017 the Institute for Healthcare Improvement wrote: “Joy in work – or the lack there of – not only impacts individual staff engagement and satisfaction, but also patient experience, quality of care, patient safety, and organizational performance.”

You cannot hold people accountable for bringing joy to work. You can only hold them accountable for taking it away. That’s one reason we call emotional vampires killjoys.

The Pickle Challenge for Charity makes culture work fun. It’s more fun to create a positive environment by inviting emotional vampires to turn complaints into pickle jar contributions for a good cause that it is to have the boss reprimand them for their bad attitudes.

It’s more fun. It’s also more effective.

Of the 12 organizations that sent teams to the inaugural COLAcademy, the three that had previously embraced the Pickle Challenge for Charity had significantly more positive responses to almost every question on the VCI-17 Culture Assessment Survey we asked them to administer prior to the event.

If what you are doing now isn’t working, perhaps instead of working harder you should work more fun into what it is you’re doing.

Let me know if you’d like to receive information about the next COLAcademy scheduled for November 9-11. To assure a 3-I experience (intensive, immersive, interactive) attendance is limited to 24 people in teams of 2 from 12 organizations.

In evaluations from the inaugural COLAcademy, 100% of participants said that what they learned will help them in their organizations and 100% said that they would recommend it to others. If your organization sends a team in November, they will say the same thing. That is my promise.