Games People Play

Ellen Rohr
Contributing Writer
Bare Bone Biz

I have a big, noisy, fun family.  Growing up, we lived around the corner from the McCartheys, a family with a set of kids that matched ours.  So, we hung out together.  Not all together.  The big kids hung together.  The middle kids hung together.  And the youngest kids, my group, wished we could hang with the big and middle kids.

Once in a blue moon, we would all play together.  We played only one game and only under absolutely perfect conditions.  The game:  Football, in the snow.

We would run and tackle and pile on each other in the deep snow.  You might get hurt and cry but not for too long because you would have to go in.  Time stood still and went too fast, like it does when you are deliriously happy.

At some point, enough of us would get cold, wet and hurt and we would pile into the house.  Then, we would peel off thousands of layers of clothes and drink hot chocolate.  Are you smiling?  It’s fun to play a game.  When was the last time you felt like that?

Good Game Guidelines…

People play games.  As we get bigger, the games sometimes deteriorate.  “I’m not going to wear my uniform today and see if anyone even notices.”

I encourage you to have some fun and to elevate the game playing in your life.  You spend so much time at work.  Why not PLAY instead?

Now, what I am about to suggest is not a replacement for a sound compensation and bonus program.  It is an embellishment, an enhancement.  My suggestion:  Play LOTS of games.  Have a LOT more fun.

Games can increase sales or the number of days your company goes without an injury.  Have a surprise Highest Average Invoice Day…the winner gets a kite.  Have a Meet and Greet day.  The person who brings back the most business cards gets a $25 phone card.  You could even have a “Random Acts of Kindness” week where you all go out of your way to do nice things for each other…and try not to get caught in the act.

Ready to play?  Here are a few guidelines for setting up a fun, friendly and WINNING game…

•Put someone in charge.
• Set a time frame.  The someone in charge is responsible for keeping the energy up and the game going…right through to the finish line.
• Consider what you want the game to accomplish.  More sales?  Better manners?  New customers?  Publicity for your shop?  Better safety record?  Better understanding of each others’ jobs?  • • • What behaviors would drive you in that direction?
• Create rules and write them down.  Keep it simple.
• Keep score.  Get creative with colorful scorecards, props and game pieces.
• Adopt game lingo.  Name your teams.  Create special names for unusual accomplishments.  (In bowling, three gutter balls in a row is a poodle.  Three strikes in a row is a turkey.)
• Create and wear some identifying team uniform.  Friendly “gang” colors.
• Hoot and holler when people win or go on to the next level of the game.
• Honor individual performance, team performance…mix it up.
• End the game with a flourish…prizes, crowns, preferred parking.

Get creative and keep it light.  A good game can go south if someone gets hurt or cheats or breaks the rules.  Help each other play the game straight and keep things in perspective.  Aim for fair…and live with the imperfections.  Remember the 2006 Rose Bowl?  Remember when Vince Young’s knee absolutely touched the ground and then he threw the touchdown pass?  It is just a game and sometimes a call is wrong.  Play anyway.

Play and enjoy what happens.  Smile as your team descends into childhood.  Laugh at yourself and each other and relish that warm, delicious feeling.

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