Framing the Dialogue

The Game Of Work

How to enjoy work as much as play

“You have got to be kidding me,” I thought as my former boss handed me a book that had these words on the cover.  I read this book many years ago, but was recently reminded of it when I saw a copy at a bookstore.  I was tempted to buy it, but I thought that I still had my copy and sure enough, I found it where it has been buried in my nightstand drawer for over a decade. 

When I was given the book I was part of a small management team for a waste disposal company.  We were busy as most of us wore multiple hats, except for the sales folks.  We had a hard time fitting them with hats due to the large size of their heads/egos.

The Game of Work sat on my desk for many months.  My copy is a hardback with a bright green cover and it was an attractive book that looked impressive sitting on a shelf.    After a while, I felt guilty and started reading.  One of the things that I immediately took from the book was a better way to complete long and mundane tasks.  I would make a game of them and see how fast could I do the task?

Once while I was on my way to my office I noticed that one of our customers “lost” some of their load on the way to our facility.  We took pride in ensuring that the local roads leading to our facility was litter-free.  I called our operations manager to have a crew come and clean up the litter. 

While I waited, I started to pick up the waste.  When the crew came, they thought that I would leave.  I did not.  We started a little competition to see how fast we could clean up the area.  I would not say that it was fun, but we had a little competition and got the job done quickly.  We made a game of it.

That is not all that Game of Work has to offer.  Charles Coonradt outlines goal setting and keeping score as he says that if you cannot measure it, you cannot manage it.  He also has chapters on feedback, minimizing uncertainty, and winning.  In the Game of Work winners are allowed and should be rewarded and if you are a manager you need to know how to coach your winners.

As I look back, I realize what an impact this book has had on me.  A few weeks ago, our pine trees decided to drop nearly a thousand cones in our yard, our neighbor’s driveway and on our driveway.  Picking up pinecones is quintessentially mundane, but I made a game of it.  How do you think that I knew that there were nearly a thousand cones?  I had a good game of hoops though I will not share my shooting percentage. 

I would recommend the book and check out the Game of Work website.

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