Are You Leading Play in Your Organisation?

When did you last play in your organisation ?

How often do you leave a meeting room uninspired with the solutions presented ?

Do you need a more positive and energised workforce ?

Organisations are unsure of the concept of ‘play’, as play and work seem to be at opposite ends of a spectrum.  If you walked into the office of some ‘tech giants’ you might find a pinball machine, table tennis and trampolines around the room because they recognise a change of scenery can re-energise people.     

“there is good evidence that if you allow employees to engage in something they want to do which is playful, there are better outcomes in terms of productivity and motivation”  

– Dr S Brown Institute of play

If the Leader Plays, the Organisation Plays

‘Play is disruptive’ some might say, ‘it stops staff getting on with work’

Leaders may feel embarrassed to engage in imagination and play but are also under constant pressure to adapt and change to meet the demands of  the market and external environment.

We are not leaving this room until play has given us the answer….

Whether it’s lego or play dough, doughnuts or word play, creative arguments or doodle boards, VR or digital play, leaders could do worse then learn how to lead facilitated play sessions.

Play needs space without the pressure of the end goal.  Leaders in a corporate organisation can encourage play ‘with intent’, acknowledging that employees need time to get into play and imagination mode; ideas may not come initially but more sustainable innovation will emerge. Play stimulates the mind and can boost the organisations creativity if presented and nurtured in the right way.

Leaders can bring play to their organisation

Enabling structured play in the workplace involves removing the things that limit individuals:

limits of time – limits to new thinking – emotional limitations – limits to imagination,

freeing us to create new possibilities in our thinking and in our actions.  A leader that does this can individually and within a team, innovate and invent through different thinking.  Idea generation or problem solving using Play techniques offers far more rich and sustainable solutions, involving individual contributions and group collaboration.  This also instills loyalty in the team and a sense of buy-in to the solution which enables change to be more effective.

An organisation should find what works for them culturally and start playing.  We’d love to hear your examples of play in your organisation.

Founding Director at Leap Professional Ltd
Karen Gargani is a qualified Lego Serious Play Facilitator with an interest in promoting curiosity, play and creativity in Adults at work and at home. She is a also a Founding Director of Leap Professional Ltd, a revolutionary new on-line Leadership learning and development resource.
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  1. Love your message here, Karen.

    Particularly, “Play needs space without the pressure of the end goal”, and the ideas about the creativity this brings.

    This makes me think of the Candle Problem, which Dan Pink talks about in his TED talk on motivation. When the pressure of reward is applied harder, creativity (and success) drops.

    • That was the thing that most struck me about this. It’s so true and yet so many people try to subvert this when doing ‘creative’ work. I remember, some years ago being asked by my then boss, who was heavily into Lean and Six-Sigma if I could put together some documentation of the creative process so that we could reliably replicate it every time it was needed and so speed up our creation of learning games to a week or less

      • This struck me the most as well. As a drama teacher , if a propose a session of play just for play or dare i say it “Fun”.. its met with hesitation and even confusion and fear.. like as if I have suggested to someone from the 1800’s that women should get to vote. How would one convince or make an argument for playing for playing’s sake.

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