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Can serious business include fun? by Brian Chernett

Brian Chernett

Brian Chernett

Just the expression ‘serious business’ suggests that we need to have our faces set into a serious expression whilst we embrace the ‘work ethic’ and drive ourselves and our employees into the ground. What if it didn’t have to be that way? What if work was leavened with fun, indeed what if work was fun? How would that be? Would it impact your bottom line? Which way?

Everything starts with the culture of the business and business leaders can help to create a positive culture. In my book, The Entrepreneur Within, I describe it this way –

Achievers create a spirituality which surrounds them and drives them and takes them to places which have meaning. It is hard to know what spirituality is or to describe it. Many people think that spirituality equals religion or religious belief. We want to think that religious people have spirituality, but I do believe many non-religious people have spirituality, have powerful beliefs, are caring and compassionate and they create an aura, an environment around them that can perhaps be called a culture. They create a state that people will follow. Above all they create love for their fellow man.
For me this very important element of organisation of businesses that create wealth or success because they have bundles of spirituality within their people. The feeling that anyone gets when they go into this type of organisation would be one where the environment exudes peace or fun and where the people are smiling and happy; where politically in fighting is unacceptable; where creativity is the core of what people are doing and where the heart in the company exudes love, caring and that everyone in it just enjoys coming to that place. I deliberately didn’t say ‘coming to work’ but coming to have pleasure all the time.

To achieve this type of culture, you need to start from the centre and radiate outwards. Good experiences and a feeling of enjoyment – of fun – has to come from the centre, from the top team, outwards.

Is it a positive experience to be on the Board of the Business? Board meetings can be hard work and they can be very stressful. If they are, do they create good decisions? What messages are being transmitted to the rest of the team? How might it be possible to have fun with the Board, to build a strong team feeling and to make better decisions?

Next, the question might be – is the culture internally tolerant of employees who want to enjoy their work? Does it allow the environment to be enjoyable, is fun permitted and can I have fun outside of the business – with customers and with suppliers?

You may be asking – but does ‘fun’ add to the bottom line? My instinct and my experience is that it does. Creativity and performance are both best generated by a positive and enjoyable work environment. People are more productive when they enjoy what they are doing and/or they enjoy the environment in which they do it. Corporate culture and top management have a leading role in creating an enjoyable work environment.

Moving out further from the centre, we should also ask, do we give customers an enjoyable experience? People do business with people they like and trust and they do repeat business if they enjoy the experience. Your business may be trustworthy but is it likeable? In this Armstrong Industries webpage they explain how they create enjoyable experiences for their customers. Why do they create them? Because “You don’t get any points for doing what you’re supposed to do — when it comes to meeting expectations. But you do get points — or should — for soaring beyond the simple. Enjoyable experiences, you see, are about how a business treats its customers.” Do you get points for how you treat your customers?

You don’t get any points for doing what you’re supposed to do. Enjoyable experiences, you see, are about how a business treats its customers.

In a good culture, we remember that we employ humans, not just resources. We recognise that humans respond best to human treatment and that everyone in the business is different and deserves to be recognised as themselves. We also believe that productivity will not come from just ‘driving harder’. Enjoyment and fun are also essential components.

Having a balanced workplace can help retain people and reduce recruitment costs. It can develop people and maximise return on training and development and make coming to work an enjoyable experience. Happy employees work better and communicate their enjoyment to customers and suppliers – and to anyone they come into contact with.

All of which DOES impact on the bottom line.

Brian Chernett is founder of The Academy for Chief Executives (ACE) – He has 43 years’ experience as managing director of private and public companies, including subsidiaries of Booker Bros McConnell, the Landmark Group, and several other major companies. Find out more at
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