Wednesday, October 09, 2013

The Joy-Infused Workplace

This is a new thought, so please bear with with while I work it out, but I was so excited by this that I had to put something down on paper, as it were.

I was chatting with some colleagues during a quick coffee break and they were joking about business management practices: ISO, CMMI, MBO, etc.  Joking about how all these were problematic, but they liked ISO because it didn't matter how bad the product was, as long as the process was documented and reproducible.  We steam-rolled into the laughable over-reaching of business processes and how they can block and stifle productivity and creativity.

Then came the seminal moment: One colleague said, "But you have to have some process!  Otherwise everything would just be chaos!"

I couldn't resist.  I was bursting.  I blurted out, "Yes! And it does not matter which process you choose; as long as the team works with it, owns it, uses it, improves it and you, the team and the company are ultimately successful!

"Your processes doesn't even need to come from only one source!  Mix, match and combine!  Pull a little Peer Programming into your Agile Scrum.  Waterfall?  Heck, if it works for you: YES!"

We laughed a bit about that, but I wouldn't let it go.   "If you, your team and your company is successful, then your process is a good one, whatever it is.  I have learned that if you can help everyone enjoy what they do, they will do it well and will want to continue doing well.  The process is incidental; the joie de vivre is what is critical.

"As a matter of fact; that is what the management goal of the company should be: Success by fostering an environment of joy within the company."

My colleague pointed out, "That could backfire: The server went down, but we're happy, so who cares!"

"Great point!"  I practically yelled.  I am excitable.  "But, that would be antithetical to the company's goal of being successful. If the staff is enabled to keep the servers running, maintained and address critical repair issues in a timely manner, then they will feel a tremendous sense of accomplishment and satisfaction; right?"  My colleague agreed.

If everyone in my company felt joy, accomplishment and satisfaction, I doubt there would be a business challenge we could not over come.  So, it's my new business and management philosophy: The Joy-Infused Workplace.

Perhaps I'm just supremely lucky to be able to work standing up and dancing to great music while I write, debug and review Ruby and Rails code and work with some really fine colleagues on my team.  But I suspect, based on the laughter, respect and support we have for one another that we are a high-performing team because of the way we choose to let joy in to our working environment.

Yes, OK, I know: one can't be happy all the time.  I think that does not at all take away from the goal of creating a workplace environment where everyone one can feel acknowledged, accomplishment and satisfaction that leads to regular expressions of joy.

1 comment:

  1. Peter, I really like where you going with it... and its a way broader question then just "business processes"... When you are working with "teammates" in a true sense of the word you would be much less reliant on ISO and other standards and more on Support of a like minded individuals... there is simply no substitute for that. There are too many sports infused analogies in business there is a sense of Joy in "teamsmanship"... (Slava)