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.

7 Ways To Be An Effective Mentor

A silhouette of two business people helping each other up a cliff.

Being a mentor to someone can be just as rewarding as having a mentor. So, how do you do it effectively?

Mentors have found that they find deeper insight into life and leadership by mentoring others.

1. Create a safe space.

As with any relationship, mentoring only works if both parties are dedicated. Mentors should learn to listen and create a safe, nonjudgmental space for learning to happen.

2. Get to know your mentee.

An optimal mentor takes time to get to know the mentees goals, strenghts and weaknesses so that they can lead them to a path of sucess.

3. Share your experience.

Sharing your experiences not only brings you to a higher level of self-awareness, but also helps the mentee to see that you have traveled the path that you are now guiding them down.

4. Ask questions.

When you begin by asking the right questions, you can focus on the real issues and separate the essential from the non-essential.

5. Create a life strategy.

Allow your mentee to focus on six essential elements: economics, values, lifestyle, passion, skill, and demand. This will help them to create a framework for their career and life.

6. Tell stories.

Instead of coming out and giving specific advice, help your mentee to relate by telling stories of your, and others, experiences that relate to issues your mentee is facing.

7. Park your ego.

Many find mentorship leaving them vulnerable to sharing mistakes they have made and problems they have had. Remember, you have succeed through all that life has thrown at you and that is what you need to teach your mentee. Leave your mistakes in the past, only using them during teachable moments to help your mentee along the way.

Fueling Creativity Through Acceptance

Rick Fiery and Tom Bergeron are two entrepreneurs who have created a successful think tank using divergent thinkers. They have developed a business, called InventiveLabs, designed to find and develop creative, non-traditional thinkers, many of whom have “slipped through the cracks” in the realm of big corporations and even colleges.

The business incubator, housed in Amesbury Massachusetts, focuses on neuro-divergent entrepreneurs. Many, but not all, with conditions such as dyslexia, ADHD, or Autism. They help these individuals to create a business model around their ideas. Since its inception, the incubator has launched 8 startup companies. InventiveLabs also won the  2016 “Excellence in Leadership” Award from the (International Dyslexia Association) IDA!

“We’ve come to realize that acceptance is such a powerful component of what we do,” Bergeron says. “Acceptance fuels creativity and breaks down many barriers. There is still a stigma around neuro-diversity. We find the individuals who are willing to stand up and say they view the world differently are the ones who make great entrepreneurs.”

According to their website, a few of the items listed on their mission statement are:

  • help people identify their passion and assists them in turning it into a livelihood.
  • Inventives! They are people that think way outside the box.
  • Some of our clients may have a learning difference like ADHD, dyslexia or autism; some may not.
  • All “brain types” are welcome to join us, as the combination of different thinkers can lead to amazing things!
  • We provide acceptance, mentorship, guidance and support for those looking to find a new direction for their life story.

On their website, www.inventivelabs.org, they have challenges and contests that allow people to gain a chance to have their business funded through inventivelabs. These contests are available to teams, individuals, or college aged students who fit into the categories provided. Take time to check out this worthy organization.

Compliment Your Coworkers Today!

We all know the value of maintaining good relationships with our coworkers. Not only does it make the workplace a more enjoyable environment, but it also promotes teamwork and positively affects the quality of work we do. However, it’s not enough to connect with your coworkers on a personal level, to befriend them and as about their lives. Studies show that you have to display that you value them as workers and employees as well. It helps them find meaning in their work and want to continue to strive for excellence in the future.

The best way to do this is through compliments (because who doesn’t love compliments!), but you have to be careful to only say things you genuinely think, because it’s very easy for people to call out a fake compliment when they see one. A positive example is to tell a funny work story or call someone a “superstar” when introducing them to a business contact. Or, if you’re creating a new team that has never worked together before, introduce each person not only with their name, but also what valuable things you think they’ll bring to the project.

What if you see someone you think is doing a great job, but somehow in the workplace they’re getting socially undermined by other coworkers (either by being excluded or silenced)? It’s incumbent upon each of us to show those people that they matter, especially when you see them doing good work. Make a point to champion that person’s opinion and ideas, loudly, while always crediting him or her. It benefits the company to hear good ideas, and it’s twice as hard to silence two people as it is one. Plus, you’ll have gained a genuine ally (and perhaps friend) in the process!

Make Your Brain Work For You

If you’re a successful entrepreneur, chances are you have some sort of mental challenge. People might call you obsessive or scattered, they might laud your manic periods but get confused when you fall into a depressive one. This is because many very successful and driven people share a characteristic: they struggle with some sort of mental health concern. In fact, according to a new joint study by UCSF and Harvard, a whopping 75% of entrepreneurs report having this factor. However, the entrepreneurs themselves often report that these mental health struggles have aided and not hindered their business success!

So how can you turn a challenge into an asset? The very first step is to recognize that there is not something wrong with you. This is the way you are, and there is no hiding from or changing it. Coming to peace with that is half the battle, but once you do, you’ll find it easy to plan for the ways your health concerns will affect your life. For instance, if you have intense highs and lows, learn to ride the waves of your highs – these might be your most creative and productive times – and plan for the lows. Know that when you’re feeling this way, you have to slow down, maybe take a day off, and allow yourself to rest before you come back up. To make this easier, know your triggers. The more advanced warning you have that you’re going to be out of commission, the better you can plan for it.

Finally, keep the rest of your life very simple. If your business is the most important thing in your life, the other elements (home, wardrobe, diet) should be very simple so you don’t overload your brain. Outsource the things you don’t feel like you can keep track of yourself (like hiring a maid, for example) and allow your attention to be focused on the things that matter to you. Your business (and your brain) will thank you for it!