Many of you have asked me about the slogan “Play, Create, Lead And Transform – With Passion and Compassion”. Most of the questions were focused on “play”: Why is „play” the first word of Sand Hearts’ slogan?
I will share my thoughts with you and I’m looking forward to discuss this question with you. First, there is more behind the term “play”:
It incorporates playing, games and humor.
Playful means to be pleasantly humorous or jesting. Playing is about our mindset, our way of approaching problems and challenges. Acting and thinking in a playful mode means we are doing things with ease. A playful mode feels easy, simple, elegant and joyful for ourselves and also for others. A playful mode opens up our minds to change perspectives, to create new ideas – the foundation of innovations. Being in a playful mode, our mind is open, relaxed, engaged and inspired, happy to connect with others.
It’s this kind of light attitude which is a characteristic of really creative individuals, even if they have their dark moments. We all need and have those moments…There is no rainbow without a little rain.
During the industrial age, work was considered as duty. Work was often depersonalized and dehumanized. Asking for more work? Probably not… Playing instead is personal, playing feels voluntary. Playing is just the opposite of work. The goal of playing is not to finish as soon as possible, the goal is to keep playing. During the industrial age, work and play were considered as a kind of toxic combination.
I truly believe, that playing and the benefits of playing are getting more and more important, playing will become an indispensable attitude and discipline to create value and to make a difference. Playing is one corner-stone to leverage a human being’s full potential and creativity as much as possible, to create value with tangible results from often intangible things.
Dan Pink writes in “A Whole New Mind”: “Play is emerging from the shadows of frivolousness and assuming a place in the spotlight. Play is becoming an important part of work, business, and personal well-being, its importance manifesting itself in three ways: games, humor and joyfulness.”
Pat Kane, author of The Play Ethic is spot on: “Play will be to the 21st century what work was to the least 300 years of industrial society – our dominant way of knowing, doing and creating value.”
Playing comes along with games. Let’s think about the word “game”. Games have rules and we can choose the games we play. We prefer playing games that reflect who we are. Games are personal.
James Carse already wrote about different kinds of games: Finite games and infinite games.
A finite game has rules, but more important, it has an end. The finite game has always a winner and (many) losers. Becoming number one in a certain market, having the biggest market share – those are finite games. The goal is to win the game rather than to play the game. Finite games fit perfectly to the industrial age.
It’s different with infinite games. Seth Godin says in “The Icarus Deception”: “The purpose of an infinite game is to allow the other players to play better. The goal of your next move is to encourage your fellow game players to make their next moves even better.”
So, the 21st century, also called the connection economy (Seth Godin) or the relationship economy (Jay Deragon), is the century of infinite games. Human beings, creative minds, are producing ideas and innovations that create tangible results with intangible things. Ideas and innovations that spread, benefit all they touch. We don’t need necessarily winners and losers.
Infinite games are more about collaboration, not so much about competitiveness, they are more about a network’s value, no longer about an organization’s value alone.
“Infinite games bring abundance and they bring the satisfaction of creating art that matters. Play.”
Humor is defined according to Oxford Dictionaries as “a mood or state of mind” and as “the quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech.” Humor helps us to look at things from different perspectives, to play with these perspectives and to understand many of the unsaid and unwritten things in an organization.
Humor can be “a clarifying organizational elixir”, as Dan Pink states in „A Whole New Mind“. Jokes that people tell at the workplace reveal often more about an organization’s culture than any employee survey can ever deliver. During the industrial age, jokes and humor at the workplace were often disciplined, they just disturbed the serious “working” scene.
But now, according to Dan Pink: “It’s time to rescue humor from its status as mere entertainment and recognize it for what it is – a sophisticated and peculiarly human form of intelligence that can’t be replicated by computers and that is becoming increasingly valuable in a high-concept, high-touch world.”
I hope, that I could give you some color on my thoughts about the term “Play” and why it has to be the first verb in a row, a prerequisite for create, lead an transform – in my opinion.
Facing the complex challenges we have to master during the current transformation, I truly believe that we all need clear, positive, joyful, playful minds and attitudes. I also believe that we need an environment that engages people in a way that they feel free to create ideas and innovations, to create their art – with all their passion and compassion and their entire personality – to make a difference, to create value in a collaborative way.
- Let people play – to create.
- Let people create – to lead.
- Let people lead – to transform.
- Always with passion and compassion.
It’s our attitude, that matters.