Definition: I foster an environment of laughter, joy, and friendship.
- Connect with people
- Pursue your passions
- Dedicate time to rejuvenate
- Play together
Though this is at the end of our principles, it is intended to permeate the entire list. There is a great difference between being silly and having fun. So, I would like to venture to say something a bit uncomfortable and go a bit deeper.
Sometimes people use humor to deflect competence and excellence. Sometimes humor is an excuse for not having grit. Based on my own experience this is something I certainly indulge in on occasion (though hopefully not often!). I believe “having fun” is something you do along the way while you are committed to the other principles. This means that this principle can’t be something that ends up as a distraction from the core commitment of creating customer value.
Connecting with people, pursuing your passions, taking time to rejuvenate, and playing together. These require discretion. This is not to say, of course, that something like practical joking has no place in our definition of “fun.” The goal of this is not to be such a wet blanket that my “redefinition” of “fun” ends up so foreign as to be unrecognizable. I wouldn’t dare be so arch.
But I do consider the nature of having fun to be setting a context for a certain level of connection and accessibility – something I work on as an executive, and especially as a parent! Let us not confuse common workplace methods of, let’s say, humor, with having fun. While various forms of sarcasm or cynicism might make someone else laugh – often at the expense of another person (your client? your competitor?) – I don’t think those necessarily fit the Decisive Data principle of having fun.
Instead, having fun is largely defined by a sense of engagement: with reality, with what is good, with what connects us to others. The main point here is not merely a negative object lesson. What is important is that having fun helps set the context for why we enjoy what we do. What type of fun correlates with DD being the kind of place where all that we do inherently adds customer value? Resisting cynicism and sarcasm at the expense of others is a virtue in light of the DD principle of having fun. Engaging in things that are kind, where people can find the fun in what they do – something to the tune of gamification. This encompasses the accomplishment of a certain outcome as a victory, and celebrating that; realizing that work relationships can go beyond banal pleasantries.
I think we want to be different in terms of how we engage in things that are fun and life-giving. Those are very important to me, and I know they are important to the exec team. We try to display this in (for instance) our continual investment in company events.
However, I do want to help isolate what I see to be the competitive advantage, the strategic differentiation of how our people can stand out relative to other folks in the industry. Other notions of fun are often “at the expense of another” and rely on the bond of cynicism – a very real thing! However, I want us to find life-giving humor. And I believe in the people of DD and their ability to truly have fun together.
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