Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Using the Power of Play for Work

Working for a city can be rewarding, inspiring, and exciting. But it can be challenging, as well. Every now and then it becomes necessary to inject a little play into work to revive spirits and renew passion.

Steve Gross—one of three keynote speakers at the 2015 Annual Conference in Duluth—took some time to chat about the power of play. We asked him a few questions:

You use the power of play to build healing, life-changing relationships. How does the power of play relate to the relationship between city officials and their communities?
When I say ‘play’ I’m not referring to a type of activity, or a kids’ game. It’s a spirit you bring to whatever you’re doing—a commitment to be respectful and joyful, and to engage with the world around you. You can strengthen relationships—and your own happiness—by listening to others. Engage them. Be open to new ideas, and show that you value others’ contributions.

How do you encourage engaging the world with passion and joy? What difference does renewing passion and working with joy make?
Einstein said “The important thing is to keep the important thing important.” When you are engaging the world—and work—with passion and joy, you are paying attention and are aware of what’s going on around you. It’s important to set the intention, or create a plan, to focus on the important things, whatever they may be. And you can create a plan to focus on what you need to do to be able to focus on those important things, and then get to that joyful place.

What can others take away when you encourage them to access their own playfulness? How can individuals encourage this in others and how can it benefit the workplace?
The best advice is to be it. Sometimes, when you try to make people be more positive, you can have the opposite result. It’s best to be open, be joyful, be compassionate. If you’re genuine and caring that attitude will be contagious.

Steve will be talking about the power of play, engaging the world with passion and joy, and more at the 2015 Annual Conference. Find out more about the conference—and all three keynote speakers—by visiting  

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