Building better connections through PLAY.

#TIL: 3 Learnings to Improve Your Office Culture

Posted by Kelaine Conochan on Aug 20, 2019 12:00:00 PM

If you want to improve your company culture, grow your business, and inspire your team to improve, you’ve got to be ready to learn. We did some homework and wanted to share our findings with our Culture Community. Check out what we learned today.

1) Vulnerability is... Courage?

dare to lead brene brownYou know who’s having a big moment? Dr. Brené Brown, whose latest book Dare to Lead is not only a #1 New York Times Bestseller, but also the topic in boardrooms across the country.

Many leaders have thought of vulnerability as weakness, a trait to be avoided if possible. Risk, uncertainty, and the potential for emotional exposure are HARD. But therein lies real courage. 

The best leaders in business, industry, and even the military learn how to “rumble with vulnerability.” They have the tough conversations. They take on the big challenges, with the most risk. And they thrive by showing courage and vulnerability when they are in the toughest spot. 

To learn more about the power in vulnerability, or to see more of Brené Brown’s work, check out these resources:

2) Leaders Need Solitude 

mike erwin power of solitude

Mike Erwin is a West Point graduate who served three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He’s also an entrepreneur, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve, and philanthropist who created Team Red, White, and Blue—which enriches the lives of America’s veterans by connecting them to their community through physical and social activity. This guy is everything we want to be when we grow up.

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Erwin knows a little something about leadership. But it’s not just from experience. He also studies it extensively through his work with The Character & Leadership Center, which has identified 5 Areas of Leadership:

  1. Positive Psychology
  2. Character
  3. Relationships
  4. Interactions
  5. Solitude

While the first four of those seem pretty intuitive, the last one—solitude—may seem a little unconventional. But in his research, Erwin demonstrates the power of seeking out alone time. Closing out distractions. Thinking, analyzing, and focusing on how to solve a problem. Or, alternatively, what you might call “letting the game come to you.” It’s more than “me time” or self-care. Solitude is how we gain clarity and insights. It’s how we have epiphanies or figure things out. And in a time when distractions are abundant and it’s harder to disconnect from your phone, emails, and work, Erwin makes a clear case that it’s more important to make that time and space.

To learn more about how solitude affects leadership, or to see more of Mike Erwin’s work in action, check these out:

3) Play is Crucial to Human Intelligence, Development, & Relationships

This one is very near and dear to our hearts. Because, if we’re all honest with ourselves, we know that having fun is an important end in itself. We know that play makes us feel good, gives us an outlet for stress, and helps us enjoy our lives. But the science shows that play isn’t just a release valve. It is crucial to learning, human development, and building connections.

With countless studies on the subject, Dr. Stuart Brown is the foremost research expert on play. And his findings are fascinating! I went ahead and cherry-picked just three:

1. Play is crucial for brain development beyond childhood.

Brown finds that play is not just an activity for children “rehearsing” or building skills for adulthood. Play stimulates parts of the brain that enable the brain to develop intelligence, creativity, and problem-solving skills. 

2. “The basis of human trust is established through play signals.” 

This is a big one. So, basically, to build trust and stronger relationships, people of every age need to play together somehow. Whether that is socially (e.g., through conversation), imaginatively (e.g., doing improv), or with rough-and-tumble play (e.g., playing on a sports team together), individuals and teams simply won’t hit their potential without play.

3. Without play, humans develop depression.

So, the old adage is correct: All work and no play does make Jack a dull boy. When humans are “play-deprived,” they are at risk for depression. So, bring that to your next team meeting. It’s pretty simple and obvious, but at the same time, infusing play into your work culture can also produce radical, transformative results. 

Screen Shot 2019-08-15 at 5.57.53 PM

To learn more about Dr. Stuart Brown’s research on play, check these out:

That’s the run-down on this week’s culture learnings. Stay tuned for a new batch of stimulating new ideas to improve your work, life, and work life.

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Topics: Company Culture, Business Tips, Learnings

About the Zog Blog

Want to make your workplace more fun AND more productive? Follow along as we share great ideas, tips, and best practices to help build better employee relationships by infusing PLAY into your workplace.

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