The Key to Success: Having Fun

New studies show that some of the most successful organizations are bringing fun and employee based cultures into the mix, making them more productive and profitable.

The Cubs organization has been winning more since hiring Theo Epstein as its president of operations in 2011. In 2014, he hired Joe Maddon as the team’s manager. He came to work each day with his sleeves rolled up and a wisecrack at the ready, making the Cubs’ clubhouse a chill, enjoyable place to be. He even invited zoo animals to hang with his players before a game.

The Cubs’ success and their stay-loose clubhouse caught the attention of sportswriters. Maddon with other coaches who have fostered cultures of fun in their respective organizations believes this can create a competitive advantage for those teams. The trend has swayed from authoritarians to the Maddon-types of the world.

Making a profit while remaining fun, they found that approach took them only so far. So how do you maintain profits along with your sense of high play?

If possible, start as you’re scaling up.This step isn’t about credentials or experience; it’s about the rest of the person. How social are they? How adjustable? Are they inquisitive? Are they good at diplomacy? When they’re under stress, what behaviors do they exhibit?

Inclusivity is a key. People who feel included in discussions will be more easily forthcoming with what they know. Having people at every level of an organization feel comfortable to offer their knowledge, without siloing it off or fracturing into factions, can only inform the decisions that you, the person in charge, have to make.

The aim becomes finding people who can exist in the wider workplace culture while you build with a range of personality types, and then make everything work in concert as you expand. You want an organization that has some diversity but it’s a fine balance. Take a tour of a Google office who offer this factoid: On average, a snack costs Google less than $2 and results in an employee spending 40 more minutes at work. I do not know what the average Google employee earns, but I presume it’s higher than $3 per hour. This seemed like one of those win-wins where one side (the company) actually wins a lot more.