(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.) the team found a lot of fun at work—something we have often observed in real teams and even more in high-performance teams.
Significantly, all of them described the fun and the sense of humor of the team in contexts that related directly to performance. We would suggest that fun, just like teamwork values, is only real and sustainable if it feeds off the team’s purpose and performance aspirations. . . . . . . . These excerpts reinforce the "CorporateTheatre" insight that 'fun at work' is not about doing 'fun' things at the workplace.
While picnics, movies, parties and get-togethers can certainly be fun to do as teams, they do not by themselves make the workplace enjoyable. Instead it is about making the achievement of the group's objective enjoyable in itself, no matter how tough or challenging. As stated elsewhere in this blog, theatre and mountaineering are two prime examples of how intense and even life threatening pressure can be fun and enjoyable for the actor or mountaineer.
Participants in "CorporateTheatre" workshops consistently and powerfully demonstrate that the underlying platform can be fun even when taking on very exacting challenges in intensely competitive environments and in changing teams. They experience the environment and the resulting attitudes that make this possible. The workshop also explores the role of leadership in enabling and sustaining this environment as part of the work culture.