The Importance of Laughing Together
“A sense of humor is part of the art of leadership, of getting along with people, of getting things done.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
A few years ago, if someone were to mention the word “consultant,” the image of a stiff, buttoned-up professional with a type-A, ultra-serious personality would come to mind. Thankfully, in my experience of working with consultants, that stereotype has been shattered and replaced with a reality that is a lot more fun. While the “type-A” part still applies to most of us, I have the privilege of working with “go-getters” who, while they are quite capable of being serious, have a fun-loving attitude and great sense of humor.
At Credera, we tend to agree with Eisenhower when he said, “a sense of humor is part of the art of leadership.” In an effort to build a fun, family-like culture, laughter and fun is encouraged. I am personally thankful for this, because this fun-loving philosophy makes coming to work exciting and has allowed me to build great memories with colleagues. However, humor at work has additional benefits as well.
Michael Kerr, president of Humor at Work, expands on this idea of humor in the workplace in his book The Humor Advantage: Why Some Businesses are Laughing All the Way to the Bank. “Humor is a key ingredient in creative thinking,” Kerr says. “It helps people play with ideas, lower their internal critic, and see things in new ways.”
Similarly, Lynn Taylor, thought leader and author of Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant, says humor “establishes a fertile environment for innovation because people are more inspired when they are relaxed.”
So why not add a little fun to your workplace? There are plenty of ways to do this, but I’d like to share a few examples of how Credera has infused laughter and fun into a challenging, fast-paced work environment:
Corporate Events and Company Trips
We have many fun, regularly scheduled company-wide events like our annual Christmas Party, Night at the Ballpark, and monthly happy hours. These are all great opportunities for us to build relationships with each other, but ask anyone in our office and they would tell you our company trip surpasses them all.
Every year our financial goals are met we also take an all-expenses-paid company trip (spouses included!). In previous years we have gone to the Mexican Riviera, The Bahamas, and Lake Tahoe; this year we will head to San Francisco! These trips are an important and valuable investment in the culture of our firm. Countless memories and bonds have been built during these vacations and we are looking forward to making more during our next trip in February!
Walk through our Dallas office at nearly any time of the day and you will hear a continual pinging and ponging accompanied by the occasional celebratory cheer. Ping-Pong is a fun mental break and a great way to build camaraderie around the office. Some of our talented developers even built a website that allows employees to send challenges to their friends at work, or maybe even Rob Borrego, Credera’s president and CEO!
Farkling is one of my favorite Credera traditions. Farkle is a simple dice game that many of you have probably played, however, at Credera farkling typically has high stakes. Those who dare to enter the competition may have the opportunity to win cash, iPads, etc. but the individual who loses must carry out a predetermined, embarrassing task. The results are always hilarious and produce stories that live on for years.
Once, after losing a farkle at a company trip in Mexico, Matt Levy, Credera’s founder, had to walk through the hotel casino dressed as “Captain Snorkle” (complete with flippers and goggles). As he flopped his way through the casino floor, Matt had to collect cigarettes from smoking guests and explain that he was “Captain Snorkle, saving the world one cigarette at a time.”
Most recently, our partner team took a trip to Jackson Hole. While on the trip, Justin Bell lost a farkle. As a result, he had to wear his ski goggles from their condo in Jackson Hole, during both plane rides, until he got home and saw his wife in Dallas!
Having fun together strengthens our work relationships and breaks down barriers to communication. When our leadership team shows they are able to cut loose and have fun (even if they look like total idiots while doing it), I actually respect them more. Fun and laughter also tend to flatten the hierarchy and foster communication and innovation. As a junior level employee, I have ample opportunities to engage with our partner team in a fun, relaxed level at monthly happy hours or at company events. I have been able to build friendships not only with my peers but also with our leadership team, and it’s easy to share ideas and helpful feedback with your friends.
What are ways that you have allowed fun and laughter to permeate your workplace? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your stories and lessons learned!