Quest Story: What’s the hardest part of being at your best?

The team leader looked at the At Your Best compass, thought for a moment then said, “play is the hardest for us.” She explained, “we get so lost in what has to be accomplished, that we forget to enjoy the work, to smile, to enjoy each other. We work so hard and forget to play.”

She’s right. Passion, play, purpose, persistence – what’s the hardest? For most teams it’s play. Which is interesting when we recall we all started out as kids. Play came naturally and easily to all of us. Somewhere along the path of life, we lost our way, and a core success muscle atrophied.

Play isn’t just ‘having fun’. Play equals creativity. It allows for experimentation, testing and failure. It’s where innovation and invention come from. Without it, there will be no breakthroughs. In a ‘failure is not an option’ world, it’s no surprise that the power of play has been forgotten.

Her team started the day just as she stated. Picture This was fraught with tension and the team immediately unconsciously launched into a high-stress attempt at completing the team building activity.

Then during the debriefing, team eyes started to open. As the Collaborative Team Building Quest day progressed, some barnacles of old behavior got scraped off.

Finally the last activity, On Target, began the same way. Stressed out, not communicating. With each round, however, they got better. The last round, the team was as one – eyes shining, calm, clear communication, innovation successfully in place. The ideal team, and their results blew away what they thought they could do.

That’s the beginning of a new story, of teams relearning to play the work.

When in doubt, we pause then play. If our immediate world hasn’t crumbled because of this radical heresy, we do it again…and then again.

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