Shawn Madden is made of fun. No, really. His company, Fun Corp, runs ‘friend building’ parties for small to medium sized teams and companies to help create real social connections and friendships that directly affect culture. Because his business is mostly fun and games, Shawn has a unique perspective on the workforce because he takes employees OUT of their normal habitat. You might be surprised at what he sees as a result.
In this episode:
-There are two ‘dirty f-words’ at work, fun and friends, and this is where Shawn believes that work is broken. People are almost afraid to be social at work the way they are in life, so they end up with a sharp divide, which Shawn explains as ‘Facebook is for friends, LinkedIn is for co-workers.’ Now Shawn claims that it’s science that it’s good to have fun at work, and he reveals why.
-You’ll often find that friendships at work can cause trouble, especially when it’s between a manager and an employee. But it’s really not that different than having falling-outs with your friends in life. Shawn poses the question: is it a matter of touching a hot stove or falling off a bike? He explains why the distinction matters.
-Shawn has a plan for fixing work, even though many leaders are resistant to it. Rather than invading the workplace, he’s inviting teams out of the office to connect in different ways: company parties. It’s the one box that company managers know they need to check off whether they believe in being social at work or not. Oh, and introverts? Fun Corp hasn’t forgotten about you.
-Laurie and Shawn don’t necessarily see eye-to-eye on team building. In fact, Laurie owns the domain name teambuildingisforsuckers.com. (For real!) Laurie believes that companies put on events to help themselves, not their employees, and it’s all for profit. Shawn doesn’t disagree, but he explains why his approach is very different.
-How does Shawn know what he’s doing is working? It’s from the stories they get back after hosting an event for a company. It’s when the employees want to keep the party going at the office. Well, sans alcohol and giant Jenga. But people who used to walk the halls with their heads down now have fun memories in common.
-Despite the fact that Shawn’s current strategy is to get teams out of their environments, when he looks at the future of work, he poses the question: do we really need to leave the office to have a party? How would YOU feel if your boss decided that they were going to give you 4 hours off on a Tuesday so that you and your co-workers could party and bond together? Shawn talks about other ways that leaders can bring fun back to work.
-Planning parties isn’t easy. And getting leaders to engage is challenging, too. Shawn recommends a simple game that teams can start playing tomorrow: High, Low, Betcha Didn’t Know. He and Laurie play it live, and you’ll see from Shawn’s recommendation of a tour guide for Laurie how effective it can be in making connections. Shawn also shares the ONE metric you should use to see whether or not the party went well.
Shawn Madden at Fun Corp