During a party to celebrate bringing Optimal Motivation™ to market this year, the conversation turned to the games we play in our personal time, and stories about our pets.
Victoria has a very special and very feisty cat that likes to be petted, but only on its head. Miss the mark and you are likely to receive a hiss and a toothy kiss.
Gary recently rescued an equally special and feisty dog from the middle of a road near his home. Now he is wondering how big it will get and how high the new fence needs to be.
I told about a gecko that lived under my refrigerator.
We also talked about research—and personal experience—of the effects of patient interaction with animals such as petting a dog or cat (or ferret, I suppose) on blood pressure (reduction) and mood (improvement).
Beyond the obvious suggestion to allow employees to bring their dog or cat to work once in a while (which may be impractical), I couldn’t help but wonder, what creative new programs could we create in 2013 that would bring similar health and well-being benefits?
This is where the games come in. Jay enjoys playing Mexican Train with family and friends. Jim and Drea enjoy bridge and pinochle. Susan enjoys Words with Friends. As we talked about the games we love, we talked about our heightened sense of well-being while playing them. The benefits include intense concentration, connectedness with the people we play with, exercising our strategic skills, and feeling proud when we improve our competence.
Don’t we want these same benefits for our employees in their everyday work, too?
So, let’s get specific. What creative new programs could you start in 2013 to help employees experience:
- A sense of passion
- Ever expanding competence
- Continual growth and learning
- Strong positive relationships, and
- A sense of pride for performing well?
Here are some things to consider as you think outside the box. The Optimal Motivation dimensions are in parentheses:
- Focus the program on enriching employees’ sense of well-being and enjoyment at work. (Well-being)
- Allow employees to opt-in, and publically celebrate all participants. (Autonomy and Relatedness)
- Encourage senior executives to participate alongside everyone else. (Relatedness and Competence)
- While establishing teams or groups, minimize competition. Make sure all teams are cross-functional only, with no teams by single roles, ranks, divisions, or departments. (Relatedness and Competence)
- Emphasize camaraderie rather than competition. (Relatedness)
- If you allow a monthly Pet at Work day, structure some fun activities like Stupid Pet Tricks, or Silly Pet Uniform contest. Keep it light and fun. (Relatedness and Well-being)
- Make sure to allow time in the workday for all activities. (Autonomy and Relatedness)
Let us know what you decide and how it goes. And as ever, we wish you energy, vitality, and well-being in all you do.
About the author:
The Motivation Guy (also known as Dr. David Facer) is one of the principal authors—together with Susan Fowler and Drea Zigarmi—of The Ken Blanchard Companies’ new Optimal Motivation process and workshop. Their posts appear on the first and third Monday of each month.