I just got back from a job in Orlando, Florida where I was a speaker for the government. PEO STRI asked to present a motivational full-day training connecting humor and light-heartedness to leadership.

Among other things, I was reminded how great government workers can be. Yup, the lousy image of government workers being slackers has gotta be true for some folks. But this group was just the opposite. They were a group of hard working folks who care deeply about their people, their jobs, and their missions. They work in a very serious environment. It’s pretty hard to take yourself lightly when you work where they do… surrounded by constant reminders of the fact that we are a country at war.
They were good people doing a tough job in a sometimes difficult place.

My message to my posse at PEO STRI: You Rock! Keep it up folks. Keep on smiling. Keep on laughing. Ride that pony!

Here are the things YOU guys came up with… here is the stuff from the flip chart:
Different Ways to Create Playful People
craft night
Nerf Guns
Have a Funny Outgoing Phone Messages
Leave Funny Voice Mail message.
Have a Funny Email Signature
Community Puzzle left out on a common table.

What Action Steps Can WE Adopt Immediately to Be More Positive Ourselves?

Send a Positive Email
Don’t Take Things Personal
Ad Mid Your mistakes, and keep going
Celebrate Victories, accomplsihments
Give out Stickers
Create a distgracdtion when there is tension
Greet people in the halls, cafe, etc
Don’t Complain
Be Loyal
Say thank you.
Laugh. Share Funny Anecdotes.

How do you institutionalize a postive environment?
Know that it takes a while, be patient. Take baby steps.
Post posters asking for a smile
Include everybody…even the shy people
25¢ negative jar
No work discussions at lunch
no complaining allowed.
create humor rituals.
Sponge Bob Frisbee goes to the biggest/most recent mistake “Larry has the frisbee!”
Best Excuse Award… “A new nomination for the best excuse!”

More Steps Toward a Humor-Supportive Work Environment

Outside Team Meetings
Standing (weekly?) Lunch Dates?
Recognize and celebrate birthdays?
Joke of the day. In person, or via email.
Worst excuse of the year award
happy bell
find goofy, giet chocolate?

How to create playful people?

Wear a funny t-shirt
Bring toys to work
Bring your fun ideas to your boss… super hard to say “no” to “we’ve been talking, and we thing this free idea would improve morale”
Bring candy to your desk. Give it away!
Walking meetings
Funny posters in the office
Post comics
Write thank you letters. “thanks for telling that joke at the meeting… that was just what we needed.” Or “Thanks for taking the energy to make that meeting more light.”

What you do WE think is funny?
People falling
Kids and Animals
Bad singers
Blonge jokes
self depreciating jokes
other people laughing
Laughing WITH people.

What do you think is funny, but others find offensive?
jokes about us
jokes about our core values
joking about personal stuff.
humor used to hurt.
laughing AT people
Thanks Again, PEO STRI. It was great meeting you in Florida.

Brad Montgomery, Humor in the Workplace Expert, Government Speaker

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