Thursday, April 26, 2007

What makes a fun workplace?

3. Attempt to create the most fun workplace in the history of the world.

Bakke in Joy at Work says that in AES, the energy giant he co-founded, he discovered the key to a fun work place was decision-making. Getting to make decisions is great fun and under Bakke’s tutelage workers had great fun. Machine operators in AES power plants made the daily phone calls to invest the company’s short term investments.

His goal as CEO was to make one decision a year so that the employees of the organization could have all the fun.

Nonprofits and other organizations thrive on trust. When I worked for Horizon House of Illinois Valley Jim Monterastelli showed incredible trust in me. PR was part of my role and Jim trusted me. One day I managed to shoot a photo and do a story that landed on the front page of the local daily news paper. I was so used to Jim’s trust that I forgot to tell him that I had submitted to the paper. The next day he gently suggested that I let him know when I was submitting a story to the paper because he had been at a business event fielding congratulations on a story that he didn’t know anything about.

There’s one other key to a fun work place that Bakke doesn’t mention in his book--getting to use your talents. Gallup Organization defines talents as “recurring patterns of thought, feeling or behavior that can be productively applied.” Getting to do those things we do over and over again because their fun and getting to do them on the job definitely makes for fun workplace.

You can find Bakke’s Joy at Work Top Ten here.