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14 Actelion Employees Built a Better Tomorrow

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Fourteen member of Actelion’s sales teams highlighted that in one afternoon one group with a common purpose can make a meaningful and steadfast difference.

How? The power of play. Ninety-four percent of four-year-old children scored significantly above average in creativity.  On their eighth birthday, only four percent of these children scored high for creativity.

Each and everyone of us is born with creative and inherent potential. As children we question everything. Why is X this tall? Why is Y this color? Why do you follow this rule?

Overtime we begin to question less and conform more, and that beautiful unique creativity begins to get covered up by rules, norms, routines, tasks, and everything else life throws our way.

On Thursday, these participants realigned themselves with the creative, playful, and unique genius within.  They took a bag of trash and transformed it into soccer balls that children everywhere would want to play with and a product that everyone in the world would want to own. And they did this in just thirty short minutes.

But what they did stretched further than the potential they have within.  They were able to tap into this potential and use it to leverage their ability to make a larger difference.

They donated indestructible soccer balls and a piece of a field to an African community whose culture heavily revolves around such a powerful game.

The impact did not end here, as these Actelion participants built sandals that in a few short months are going to be on children’s feet in disaster regions all over the world.

In one afternoon these individuals created a difference that will act as a touchstone highlighting the opportunities to come and the potential that is within.

These individuals are not just sales men and women of a pharmaceutical company, they were not just participants in some team building activity, they are Legendary Instigators who are bringing out the best in others by bringing out the best in themselves.  And that is something that can be done anywhere, at anytime, and all that’s needed, is you.

Can Work and Play Co-Exist

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“If it isn’t fun, why do it?” says Jerry Greenfield of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

Its ironic that what many of us dread, another day of work, is supposed to be an environment for productivity, creativity, and innovation.

Work and play are considered opposite ends of the spectrum.  But can the two co-exist?  Can we have some fun and dare I say even enjoy going into work? And if we can, what does that mean for results and outcomes?

David Ogilvy, head of an advertising agency says, “Make it fun to work at your agency.  When people aren’t having fun they seldom produce good advertising.”

“Necessity may be the mother of invention, but play is certainly the father,” said Roger von Oech.

Yet when the idea of play is brought up, it’s like violating the sacred sanctuary of the office.  It will only distract and detract.  What other offices incorporate play into their work culture?  Aren’t casual Friday’s sufficient?

A company seeks for its employees to generate new ideas. This is accomplished by the unexpected joining of two old elements creating something new.  Bringing fun to the workplace could not only produce innovation, but the joining of these two elements is innovation.

There is no harm in planting some seeds to make your workplace more enjoyable.  In fact, there is significant benefit.  Creativity, camaraderie, increase in results, and a breeding ground for ingenuity, just to name a few.  Not to mention your own personal well-being gets a boost.

Be creative. Find ways to make work fun. Because if it isn’t fun, why do it?

Here are some ideas to get the wheels turning.

Darts. Put a dart board up in the conference room for people to play when they need a break.

Get outdoors. On a nice day get outside.  Suggest holding one of your meetings outdoors.  Who knows what ideas could arise from mother nature.

Decorate. Decorate your office with stuff you enjoy. Bring in kids pictures or artwork to hang in the office lobby or break room.

Talent Show. No one can resist showing off what they are good at.

Dress Up Day. Every now and then you can’t deny, you enjoy dressing up.

Personal Project. Structure into the work curriculum a project to work on with no guidelines – completely up to whatever each person is interested in. (Google has gotten most of its ideas this way)

Group TV Shows. Once a week, or even once a month, watch a favorite TV show. The Office perhaps…

Baby Pictures. Put up a board of baby pictures and guess who is who.

Dance. Turn up the tunes and show off some moves.  While your doing it check out the lyrics for the songs you always lip sing to (ie. Macaroni)

Making the work place more enjoyable will ultimately turn it into an environment generating some legendary ideas.

Make Sure Every Aspect of Your Meeting Serves Two Purposes

The old days of silly ‘team building’ is over.

There is a time and place for bonding, but with meeting time precious, make sure any time you spend is serving at least two purposes.

Years ago I was First Mate on an 80-foot sailing vessel and there were a couple of simple rules:

  1. Every item on the boat MUST serve at least two purposes.
  2. If an item did not serve more than two purposes, it must be absolutely critical to safety or well-being of the crew.

Every single item was examined and many were discarded. This was done intentionally to create a better quality of life aboard. Previously, we spent 70% of our time in beautiful tropical locations just fixing stuff.

After we examined everything, we found that we were able to cut a huge number of items from the boat, creating more space (very limited even on a big boat).  Also, we found we were very creative and invented a few items that have become hugely popular among sailors.

Most importantly, the amount of time spent on the deck, spent diving, spent enjoying the great locations went up dramatically.

This same idea, in some form, must be translated to meetings.

Spending time building towers, building boats, racing go-carts, , while occasionally fun, is a waste of money and more importantly, time.

Make sure every aspect of your meeting is serving another at least two purposes.  And if it isn’t, chuck it.  Or find a way to make it serve another purpose.

I have used ‘team building’ as an example because it is abused so badly in meetings.  However, this idea can and should be applied to every aspect of your meeting.

Just like our quality of life on that boat, the quality of your meetings will go up dramatically.  Your clients, and the attendees, will LOVE your meetings.