farmington-schools-logoOk. Not exactly.

Farmington Schools recently hired me to motivate their administrators. We brought them together for one huge team-building, morale-building, humor in the workplace fiesta. Ok, seminar is the proper term, but hey, “fiesta” sounds like better marketing.

We did Laugh-O-Nomics: my session for folks who really wan to create lasting change in their work culture.

It went great: check out the reviews in this very short video:

Are you looking for a motivational speaker for your school district?  Want to inspire and motivate your staff, your classified staff or your administrators?  I’d love to be your guy.

The main take away for me:  I was struck with how important it is to these educators to make their job fun.  They were craving both tools and techniques for bringing levity and lightheartedness to the workplace AND permission to use them.   In other words, one of the biggest things I provided by being there was encouragement and permission to bring the concept “enjoying ourselves at school will help us with our mission as educators” to each of these fine educators.

Many of them new HOW to lighten up;   they just had forgotten how important it was both to them AND to the superintendent.

It was a great day in Colorado.  (Which was weird, because the school district was over the border in New Mexico!)

Learn more about this educators speaker here.

Brad Montgomery
Education Speaker, New Mexico Speaker, Fan of Farmington!

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Ok, not exactly. While doing a motivational seminar on humor in the workplace at a school in the Farmington Unified School District, (New Mexico) I met a ton of principals and other administrators who really liked the idea of “play” at work. We looked at ways humor and levity can make any environment a little lighter — resulting in better productivity, morale, and retention. As leaders, it was there job to lead the way to humor for their staffs (and eventually their students).

Fun is NOT just for the kids. Really.

I posted one of their cool ideas here.

Here’s another great idea that came out of the break out session:

A principal made “fake announcements” over the PA system. He announced the winners of the “Catch a Raccoon” Contest (naming students who don’t exist winning a contest that didn’t exist), talked about the lunch menu for the next day (Which of course he made up with gross foods), ….you get the idea.

The results? First, the kids and teachers actually listened to the announcements. Can you say the same thing about your lousy announcements? But even better, this principal enjoyed his job, had fun at his job, and helped pass that passion to his team and his students by having fun in a public way.

Give it a go: maybe your staff will listen closely to the announcement before they sing happy birthday FOR THE THIRD TIME IN A WEEK to one of the teachers! (Yes, that DOES happen all the time.

What’s my point?  Have fun at work. Not because you’ll get others to laugh or smile. Not because you want them to listen closer — though both of these reasons are good enough for me.

Have fun at work because it will make you better at your job. These educators were better administrators because they actively made their work more fun for them.  Simple, yet genius.

How you YOU actively have fun at work today?

Hey Teachers, Administrators and Educators! What stunts have YOU done in your schools? COMMENT!

…and he learned how to be funny.

If you think humor is just for kids, shame on you.

Where most corporate types go wrong is in assuming that humor = jokes.  Or clown noses.  Or punchlines.  Fun can come in many different shapes, forms and places.

I recently returned from a motivational seminar on humor in the workplace for the Farmington Unified School District in New Mexico. (Actually, we met in Colorado…. just a few miles from their district across the border.)  I met principals and administrators who really liked the idea of “play” at work. I was able to help them find ways to transform their corporate humor culture and their funny bones in the process. However, as usual, the best humor at work ideas came from the audience.   

During the seminar, we looked at ways humor and levity could make any environment a little lighter — resulting in better productivity, morale, and retention. And, in a academic environment where things have to be very precise and “above the line”, it means that the administrators and leaders have to be more clever and more creative in finding the balance to make work and humor mesh.

Let’s face it, “starchy” leaders lead us to a lousy work environment. It is a leader’s job to set the “humor-meter” for their staffs and for the office. In the case of this New Mexico school district, they had NO trouble finding things to make them all smile.

* One of the principals did crossing guard duty (boring, right?) and decided to make up a game to goof off with his students. As you know, it doesn’t take much to get kids started anyway. So when a kid asked to cross the street, the crossing-guard-principal-man asked for their favorite color. The student replied, “Pink.” He tells them, “Ok, you can cross when the next pink car goes by.” Well, this creates much laughter and giggling because that’s only going to happen when the Mary Kay caravan comes through. Finally though, a pink car does come by and the kids do all they can to contain their squeals and giggles.

The next day, the same kid was asked the same question. What was their favorite color. Well the kids are smarter and have caught on AND they’re not willing to endure another flamingo parade, so he says his favorite color is…white. What does the principal do? He tells the kid “You can cross when 7 white cars go by.” The kids…crack…up.

The result? The kids had fun and bonded with their principal, plus it’s cool to see your principal dressed up in a orange safety vest, directing traffic.

But more importantly, the principal created levity that he enjoyed.  He turned the crossing guard duty to something he enjoyed:  it was a way for him to feel connected with his kids / end users / clients, it helped remind him why he chose education as an industry in the first place, and the smiles he earned in that safety vest helped him survive some of the icky parts of his job. 

My point?  Have fun at work. Not because you’ll get others to laugh or smile, or because you want them to listen closer – though these reasons ought to be good enough for anybody.    Have fun at work because it makes you better at your job.  These educators were better administrators because they actively made their work more lighthearted. That makes them better leaders, better managers and better educators. And in the end… isn’t that better for their students?

If you are educator, a school administrator or even a student, how do YOU make your fun at work? What was the most creative thing that you’ve ever done for a laugh. Care to share?

P.S. Thanks Farmington! I had a blast working with you in New Mexico!