You Have Fun at Work? Why, Yes!

Sun Always Shines When U R Cool

Sun Always Shines When U R CoolThere are things in life that are hard to describe — the way you feel on a sunny day as you walk around town, or the way you absolutely love and must have your daily or weekly Starbucks run — yet these things are the small moments that make your days inordinately better. Some of these things make you want to jump out of bed in the morning and start your day — again, for me, that’s coffee. (Can you tell I adore coffee?) But there is something else that makes my days inordinately better and makes me want to jump out of bed in the morning, and I bet you won’t guess it.

Go ahead.

Try.

I will give you a few seconds…

It’s work!

Yes, work — that thing most of you dread come Monday morning. And even more than work, I can’t wait to get to work so I can see my co-workers. Yes, I actually love my co-workers! (Seems a little different than the norm? I also love my in-laws; yes, I said I love my in-laws.) But should it be such a surprise to say that you love something most people hate?

Both our head of people and dean of Motley Fool University spoke at TEDx about the work/life balance and how there really isn’t so much of a line between work and life anymore. They added that our ideal of work/life balance is one that was placed on us in the 1950s and is severely outdated. And I agree. So why not make our work lives as fun as our life lives? Some of you out there may think to yourselves, “Yeah, OK, this sounds great. But I don’t think I can make it work.” Honestly, why not at least try to make it better? What’s the worst that could happen — you come out with the same situation and the same feeling you have about your job as you do right now? Surely that’s a risk you are willing to take, right?

So here’s what I can do — I will give you the recipe for what works with us. You start with a firm foundation of trust. Then you add in more trust. Layer in hard work, collaboration, and actually listening to what your co-workers say instead of just waiting to talk yourself. Sprinkle in laughter, daily — tell a joke, talk about Gossip Girl, or even about the way that one of your co-workers puts the word “the” in front of things he isn’t sure about. To top it off, you must want to help each other out. I don’t know how many times one of my co-workers has asked me, “Is there anything I can help you with or take off your plate?” And I appreciate them every time they ask.

While this is just my basic recipe, it works for us in the Culture Club. You see, at The Motley Fool, our co-workers are not just people we have to sit next to for eight hours a day — they are our work family. And if you don’t believe us, come pay us a visit sometime.

A Gift You Don’t Want for the Holidays

Fool Fitness
Fool FitnessThe major weight gains, for most people, occur between Halloween and New Year’s. For Fools, we think of all the Halloween candy we have in the office when our kids come through to trick-or-treat. We have to consider the Thanksgiving feast we provide during our all-hands monthly meeting. And don’t even get me started about the desserts and booze at the Fool holiday party. Like you, most Fools start “letting themselves go” for the holidays because they know New Year’s resolutions are just around the corner. Mix that with the fact that our bodies naturally preserve fat during winter months to stay warm and we’re outside less because of the cold, equals a recipe for weight gain.

It doesn’t have to be this way. You can still enjoy all the holidays have to offer while keeping the weight and fat off, without the guilt!

Weight and fat gain is all about calories consumed vs. calories expended; if you know you will be indulging one evening, work that much harder in the gym that day. No time for exercise? (Yeah, right — that’s another blog post.) Enjoy some goodies in moderation by taking a smaller plate, or enjoy that buffet just once, or focus on socializing instead of just eating and eating. If you get started on an exercise plan before New Year’s hits, not only can you enjoy splurging every so often during the holidays, you’ll also be on a good track post-holiday season into the new year. Go ahead and enjoy the holidays guilt-free, as long as you do so in moderation while staying active.

Potential, Giving Your Best, and Leading by Example

Marine Corps Marathon runners

Marine Corps Marathon runners There is a scene in Facing the Giants that I love. WARNING: inspirational sports clip. It’s about 5 minutes long — go ahead and watch it. I’ll wait right here and sing “American Pie” — it’s about that long.

…jester sang for the king and queen … Chevy to the levy … the day the music died…

Back? OK.

Two great quotes that I want you dwell on for a minute: “I want you to do it blindfolded. … Because I don’t want you giving up at a certain point when you can go farther,” and, “You are the most influential member of this team. If you walk around defeated, so will they.”

There are two people to think about here — the coach and the player.

As a player, are you creating artificial boundaries? Do you realize how your boundaries influence your team? No one is going to try to go farther than the best player. It seems impossible. When they see you stretching, they will reach, too.

As a coach do you know who your influencers are? Are you aware of their message to the rest of your team? Are they aware? Can you see potential that they don’t? What is your equivalent of the blindfold?

ROI Development Projects

Fool Racing Team

At The Fool we are big fans of giving out special projects.  There are so many benefits including but not limited to enhancing roles, learning what Fools can do, testing new concepts, seeing how people can stretch, collaboration, stretching resources, and more.  One key element is that special projects make an impact.  When a project has a real, difference making outcome a Fool will be more bought in to the project.  This is also a great use of company time.  Having people learn while accomplishing something critical for the company makes everyone happy.

Note: People like to volunteer for projects as opposed to being told what to do.  This is true form Kindergarten to the board room.

Wedding Anniversaries Take A Back Seat

Foolish Couple

An anniversary at work should be a bigger deal than a wedding anniversary.  Sure, getting married is a monumental event. But, recently a co-worker and I figured out I had spent more time with him than my wife in the last 13 years at The Fool. So, shouldn’t I celebrate that even more than the time I spent with my wife?

Here we call that special work day a Fooliversary.  We have 2 main components to a typical Fooliversary.  First, on your
Fooliversary you receive balloons that state the number of years you have been with the company.  This is a great visible
sign to everyone that you have sold out to the Foolish man.  We enjoy wandering by each other’s desks, noting the big day, and giving congratulations.

The second part of our Fooliversary is the gift that goes along with the balloon(s).  Sure we could go for the traditional watch or lapel pin. I remember when I received my 2 year gift at Bank of America.  It was a business card holder AND a clock.  Yes, two very functional items in one!  OK, that was an awful attempt by B of A to say Thank You.  The big part of that gift was that it meant I could now take a full 10 days off from work unlike The Fool where we have no vacation policy.  But, I digress.  The gift we award at the Fool is to provide an experience.

We believe that creating shared experiences is a powerful way to foster collaboration and friendship. We provide experiences like movies, front row seats to a game, cooking class, overnight stays, and travel abroad. With each year your experience gets bigger.  Then we can bond over the years. “Oh, you are celebrating your 3 year Fooliversary.  I remember when I got mine.  I was front row at Lady Gaga.”

So, we go with a visible sign and a shared experience to recognize what we believe is a big deal – a long term commitment to The Fool, Our Mission, Our Friends, and Our Customers.

Laughter Makes Everything Better

Foolyween 2000

Recently I had a day without meetings and found I was missing them.  I realized that I actually look forward to going to meetings.  I couldn’t help but wonder why any sane person would enjoy meetings so much.  After dismissing the idea that I was losing my mind I realized I was addicted and needed my fix.  I needed to get to meetings to see my friends and laugh.  I missed the high of a good belly laugh.

There are many constants at the Fool.  but, one is that you won’t attend meetings without laughing.  We simply have a good time in whatever we do – even meetings.  That is not to say our meetings are unproductive.  I’d say we are more focused than most at ensuring our meetings have clear outcomes.  We are able to balance the needs at hand while still entertaining each other.

A day without meetings might be a day with less laughter.  I certainly have favorite Fools who can get the best laughs.  But, it is often the Fools you don’t expect who break out the one liner that gets the giggles that won’t stop.  Adding some fun and laughter to meetings is nothing but an improvement.