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Monday, August 11, 2014

Making Work Fun

Over the years, I’ve taken several of those personality tests that are aimed at telling you what work style works best for you. Whether it’s Myers-Briggs, DISC, the Jung Personality Test or one of the other 2500 personality tests on the market, the effort is to help both you and your company develop the best way to function at high productivity. Of course, there is no pass or fail. Well, really there is.

Depending on the personality assessment, you may or may not be a good match for the job you thought you wanted. I’ve seen this applied when hiring sales people. Certain “types” are turned away because they don’t match the profile needed. That is probably a good move most of the time. But not always.

In her 2006 book, The Cult of Personality, author Annie Murphy Paul raised some questions. She claims many personality tests lead us to miseducate our children, mismanage our companies, and misunderstand ourselves. As with many things, she may be right. Keep in mind that at one point, 89 of the Fortune 100 companies used the Myers-Briggs test. Impressive.

One of these “tests” I found of particular value I discovered in a video from the wonderful series on manhood by Dr. Robert Lewis. The assessment was called Your Unique Design. ( It costs just $35 to complete.

From their Q&A on who I am, it was discovered that I have a foundation to my “personality condominium” that requires fun. That’s me. If the job can’t be fun, I move on. That’s why I love radio.

So this week, I found an excellent article on making work fun. It’s by Cliff Oxford, the founder of the Oxford Center for Entrepreneurs. His blog article is titled, “Making Work Fun Is not about Table Tennis and Paintball.” Of course, I have nothing against either.

His piece challenges readers to take any job and find a way to make it fun. Why? Happier employees. Higher performance. Less turnover. Win-Win.

Oxford relates a classic story from his childhood about a neighbor. The man was a farmer and had a problem with rats. He tried offering financial rewards to find rat killers. No one showed up for the job.

Then he got creative. Mr. Harris, the farmer, applied three powerful things to attract a Rat Pack destruction team. All were designed to create a festival that was fun. First he built a huge bonfire to attract hunters. Hunters love big bonfires. (This alone probably scared the living daylights out of the rats.)

Next, he gave the hunters a unique tool…a spear dressed up in feathers for the kill. Oh how cool. Finally, a prize: A Zebco One fishing reel with a graphite rod. What self respecting rat hunter could pass THAT up? NONE! Farmer Harris had people lined up and down the country roads for the mission! I love a good success story.

King Solomon came up with this perspective: “There is nothing better for people than to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in their work. I also perceived that this ability to find enjoyment comes from God.” Ecclesiastes 2:24. (NET)

Want productivity up at your place of work? Make the job more fun. And a Zebco One fishing reel with a graphite rod for a prize wouldn’t hurt either. I’m confident you’ll wind up with a good supporting cast.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays, 4-6 pm on AM 1160 WYLL in Chicago. Check the web for WYLL and the app for AM 1160 to listen live. Or by podcast.

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