(In this series of posts offering excerpts from the book, 'The Wisdom of Teams' by Jon Katzenbach and Douglas Smith (Harvard Business School Press), the excerpts are in bold.)
"Finally, teams have more fun.
This is not a trivial point because the kind of fun they have is integral to
their performance. The people on the teams we met consistently and without
prompting emphasized the fun aspects of their work together. Of course this fun
included parties, hoopla, and celebrations. But any group of people can throw a
good party. What distinguishes the fun of teams is how it both sustains and is
sustained by team performance."
By the end of a
"CorporateTheatre" workshop, participants would have gone through
intensely challenging activity that involves
integrating into new and changing teams, taking on increasing levels of
challenge in constantly changing environments, working with severe time and
resource constraints, following strict discipline which involves being
penalised if they break the rules, competing, and taking on intense physical as
well as mental pressure.
At the end if it, when they are asked,
" In spite of all this did you have fun?", the answer is invariably a
The learning derived is, to put it in
"Fun-at-work is not about doing 'fun'
things at the workplace which is extraneous to the actual work. While this can of course be fun, it does not
necessarily make the work enjoyable.
Instead, fun at work comes from creating an environment where the work
itself becomes fun without in any way diluting the focus on the objective, the
commitment to the deadline, the customer focus, commitment to quality, and
discipline. This is very much on the lines of how mountaineering under life
threatening conditions becomes fun for the mountaineer, and doing theatre under
intense pressure becomes fun and relaxation for the actor."
The inherent ability of a 'natural' team to
have fun even when working under intense pressure is consistently experienced
and reinforced through the "CorporateTheatre" workshops. This essential characterisitic of high
performance teams has also been validated by research as expressed in the
excerpt given above and stated elsewhere in the book.
The role and responsibility of leadership
towards creating this environment, are also defined during the course of the