A number of years back, I asked Danielle Forth, Registered Psychologist to write an article about her experience observing a Powerful Play Experiences Workshop. How interesting it is how things play out. At that time, I did not ask Danielle to reference her observations to Positive Workplace Mental Health…For Teams. Spring forward to today. Well, when I recently unarchived this article to post as a blog, how cool it was to re-read the article but from the all important stand point of Positive Workplace Mental Health…For Teams! All that Danielle observed and wrote about here in this article totally references PWMH…For Teams!
Check it out. Let me know what YOU think!!
“I recently had the opportunity to participate in a Powerful Play Experiences workshop led by Robert Manolson. I’ve had many interesting and energetic conversations with Robert about his work, but had never seen him in action. I emailed Robert and asked if I could observe one of his upcoming workshops. Here’s his response: “Observe? No one observes! Participate!” And that was the beginning of an incredible experience.
I walked into the workshop with an open mind. I was expecting to have fun and participate in activities well outside the daily routines of the work day. I thought there would be some laughs and opportunities to chat with interesting people. What I got from the experience was so much more than that.
The workshop participants connected with each other, collaborated on activities, and laughed. They laughed a lot. The positive energy in the room was palpable. Creative juices were flowing. People seemed happy to be there. I was a complete stranger, but was welcomed by the participants as if I had been working with them for years. Robert’s mission with this particular workshop was focused on the client’s corporate values. It was fascinating to see how he utilized play to deliver a powerful message about employees connecting to and embodying these corporate values.
In one activity Robert had the participants organize themselves into five groups, one group for each of the client’s corporate values. The groups were then asked to literally bring one of these values to life by creating a model/sculpture that captured the essence of that particular value. Each group was provided with materials like colorful plastic straws and connectors to use for their model and would then present their creation to the larger group. Groups engaged in spirited brainstorming and then proceeded to create magnificent sculptures/models.
It was astounding to see what each group had produced in such a short amount of time. These were three dimensional models of each corporate value. I saw people proud of what they created, and how they connected to the corporate value. I also saw people proud of the work they did in their jobs and proud of the community in which they did that work. I have never seen people inspired by corporate values in this way. It was inspiring to be a part of such a dynamic process. This is what powerful play can achieve.
As I reflected on the workshop I noted some interesting things. The Powerful Play Experiences workshop demonstrated that engaging in play with colleagues promotes bonding and trust with colleagues and strengthens one’s sense of community. The play activities required a high degree of cooperation and teamwork while also stimulating creativity, experimentation, and risk taking. It also created high levels of fun, collaboration, and positivity! I walked away from the experience feeling good and re-energized.
So why participate in a Powerful Play Experience? In short … because it’s good for you! You will have the opportunity to bond with your colleagues in a fun way, and to step back from the stress of work responsibilities. Stepping back doesn’t mean escaping. The process of stepping back enables you to get perspective; it resets your brain and enables a new way of seeing. This new perspective can lead to finding creative and innovative solutions. Lastly, stepping back and engaging in play enables you to reconnect with yourself and your colleagues, and with the reason you do the work you do. There’s a profound difference in your personal and professional life when you have meaning and purpose. Imagine starting your work day with a renewed sense of purpose, more energy, and feeling closer to your colleagues. That’s not a bad way to start the day.”