The Systems Thinker Blog

Boost Your Business Profit by Adding the Fun Factor!

Posted byRon Carroll

The combination of great people and great business systems and processes produces great companies. When you add the elements of fun and competition, when you turn your business into a game and keep score, when you show your employees how they can “win,” you will discover the grand secret to developing a truly remarkable enterprise. 

Do Your Employees Have Fun?

Volkswagen is dedicated to the idea that something as simple as "fun" can change people’s behavior for the better. They invited folks from around the world to submit their proposal for solving everyday problems by adding the element of fun.

One winner of the contest, Kevin Richardson, USA, asked the question, “Can we get more people to obey the speed limit by making it fun to do.” The idea was so good that Volkswagen and the Swedish National Society for Road Safety actually made this innovative idea a reality in Stockholm, Sweden.

A camera was set up on a section of road where people habitually speed. Every car going by is photographed and the speed recorded—24,857 cars in three days. Every speeding person is sent a citation and assessed a fine. The money from fines goes in a general pot. Every driver who obeys the law is also photographed and entered into a lottery with the chance of winning the big payoff. This fun reduced the average speed by 22% and largely solved the speeding problem.

Fun Factory - Camera Speed Lottery

The “Speed Camera Lottery” was one of numerous behavior-changing and problem-solving “systems” submitted to Volkswagen, For example, see how you can make it fun for people to throw trash in a bin rather than on the ground, or take the stairs instead of the escalator for better health. This fun-factor gets amazing results! (see Youtube: "fun theory" for more examples)

Fun-Factor - Piano Stairs

(View video: The piano keys on the stairs play notes when walked on.)

 
AND YOU CAN DO THE SAME THING WITH YOUR BUSINESS SYSTEMS AND PROCESSES!

One of the great challenges I have in helping people become Systems Thinkers is that they confuse systems with procedures.  FUN is one of the elements you can use to turn a boring procedure into an amazingly effective and highly productive business system. I’ve seen system productivity double by adding this one element.

FUN - An Organizational Strategy?

Ann Bruce and James Pepitone write in their book, Motivating Employees, "Top organizations such as Southwest Airlines, Ben & Jerry’s, Starbucks, Disney, Nordstrom, Wal-Mart and Microsoft use fun as an organizational strategy. These leaders have realized that when employees are having fun, they just perform better."

Team competition, bettering your personal best, financial incentives, victory celebrations, company recognition, pizza Fridays, summer picnics, and dozens of other things tied to performance can help to create a culture of fun and work excellence.

Remember: People usually work harder at play than they work at work! When an organization promotes fun, employees seem to have more energy, self-esteem, enthusiasm, and team spirit. This translates to higher productivity, more creativity, and better customer service.

Now go elevate your business systems and have some fun!

Related Articles:
The WOW Factor: Six Ways to Supercharge Your Business Systems! (Part 1)
The WOW Factor: Six More Ways to Supercharge Your Business Systems! (Part 2)
Turn Dust-Gathering Procedures into Business Systems that Wow!
Business Systems vs. the Misunderstood Operations Manual
Does Your Business Have a Double McTwist 1260?

 

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Tags: Systems Thinker, People, Culture, System Example