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How Play Improves Your Work, Part 2

Last week (in How Play Improves Your Work, Part 1), we discussed our authentic play mode as defined by Dr. Stuart Brown’s 8 essential play personalities. We also talked about 5 ways play can improve our work: Cognitive development, Creativity, Flexibility, Collaboration and Connection, and Experimentation.

This week, we’ll take another look at the professional and personal benefits of play and explore specific strategies for incorporating more play into your work. You can read the simple worksheet below and also download it here.

Incorporating More Play into Your Work

The following worksheet gives you a tool to begin thinking about how you could incorporate more play into your day-to-day work. The first one is an example to help you get thinking. Play around with it!

Strategies: 1. Start every meeting with an icebreaker. 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

Improved brain function – Pursuing fun combined with challenge helps prevent memory problems and can improve your brain function. The social interaction can ward off stress and depression.

Strategies: 1. Incorporate fun brainstorming sessions. 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

Discover talents and knowledge – By incorporating a playful piece into the learning (and teaching), you will also discover and uncover talents and knowledge that were previously untapped.

Strategies: 1. Create a scavenger hunt to teach dry topics like policy and procedures. 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

Stimulate creativity – You’ll learn new tasks and skills faster and deeper when you are more relaxed and playful. Your creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills are stimulated, making you sharper, clearer, and more productive.

Strategies: 1. Keep a sketchpad on hand and when you hit a glitch – doodle! 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

Improve relationships and connections – Play, as a state of mind, can help you break the ice with new staff and strangers, make new business connections and collaborations, build trust, and expand friendships – all perfect for minimizing leadership isolation!

Strategies: 1. Set up a table in the break room and start a jigsaw puzzle on it. 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

Keep you feeling young and energetic – Integrating your core play personality into your daily life will not only boost your energy and vitality but also your resistance to disease. Play triggers the release of endorphins – the body’s natural feel-good chemicals – which promote an overall sense of well-being and can temporarily relieve stress and pain.

Strategies: 1. Change things up – hold meetings in a park or do a few laps around the parking lot when having a one-to-one meeting. 2. ___________________________ 3. ___________________________ 4. ___________________________

I incorporate playful and fun problem-solving activities into all of my trainings so participants can begin to:

  • Learn about themselves and others in the room (connection),

  • Create new neural pathways (cognition),

  • Begin to look at the content from new perspectives (creativity),

  • Be open to trying on new ways of showing up (experimentation), and

  • Have fun, no matter how tough the content (flexibility).

Try incorporating some of the traits of play into your day-to-day and let me know what you notice!

Originally posted on

Have you had to work with that person who is too valuable to fire, but whose communication and leadership style continually makes others cringe and puts the company at risk? Beth Wonson’s unique combination of experience as a business expert, non-profit leader, 20 years consulting on team development, organizational change, and coaching leadership make her the go-to person for transforming personnel liabilities into personnel assets. “In my experience, no one truly wants to be the company bully, they just aren’t self-aware enough climb out of it. Their increasing isolation causes more and more drama within the organization. Human Resource staff feel powerless and over time, team members and colleagues choose to leave the organization. The remedy is simply to get this person the right coach. The coach who knows how to give them the hard feedback and will stand in the fire with them through the change process”. Wonson’s unique methodology combines brain-based research, experiential education and coaching to engage and empower individuals and teams to overcome perceived barriers and gain success.

Beth and her team work with businesses, non-profits and individuals across the United States.


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