Playing at Work

Never underestimate the vital importance of finding early in life the work that for you is play.  This turns possible underachievers into happy warriors.

This quotation from Sir Ken Robinson’s book, The Element,  is a good reminder for a Friday, as we take stock of the work week that has just past.  Have we spent that week in our “Element”?

For Robinson, the Element is “the place where the things we love to do and the things we are good at come together.”  When you’re in your Element, you can unleash your talents and passions to produce something that is uniquely yours.  Robinson’s contention is that when you do this, your work will come so naturally to you that it will seem like play.  Further, he believes that it is only when you operate in your Element that you are able to achieve at your highest level.   The power of this approach lies in leveraging your innate strengths.  The challenge of this approach is to identify those strengths and then use them productively.

Managers can reap the rewards of this approach if they successfully identify and use the innate strengths of the members of their team.  This requires a keen focus on individuals rather than job descriptions.  Taking it one step further, understanding where the strengths of the team as a whole lie, and then concentrating on using those strengths more consistently, can help that team operate at an optimal level.  (This is the appreciative inquiry method I’ve discussed in further detail elsewhere.)  An entire team working in the Element would be a thing of beauty.  And, it could be transformative within your organization.

What are you waiting for?

[If you’re interested in learning more about Sir Ken Robinson and his views on creativity and education, see his 2006 TED Talk.]

[Photo Credit:  Sukanto Debnath]

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