Conscious Leadership

with Diana Chapman

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Play & Rest

Play at work

Diana Chapman

Master Trainer, Conscious Leader, Co-founder, Author

Lessons Learned

Play is a state of mind.

Look for opportunities to rest more. Recognize that rest makes you more productive.

Companies that make time for play and rest will outpace competitors.


Lesson: Conscious Leadership with Diana Chapman

Step #6 Play & Rest: Play at work

One of the commitments that we have is the commitment to play and rest. And I want to talk about both of those, especially in Silicon Valley, especially with start-ups. I want to talk about that play doesn't mean just a childhood play, ha-ha, it doesn't mean throwing a foosball table in a room and calling that "play." Play is state of mind and play is a light-hearted place of "I'm curious, I'm open." Play can be telling a great story. Play can be doing art. We actually highlight in our book, there's a great book by Stuart Brown on play. I think it's important for people to know their play styles and in our book we talk about the different play styles that are available.

But, play trumps drama. Play is more entertaining than drama. So, for example, on television these high drama, real-time programs they get a lot of attention. But, so does a great improv show, right? Like "Whose Line Is It, Anyway?" It can compete, because the improv is a form of play. And that might be able to hold ratings with some high drama reality show.

Outside of good, healthy play we're going to default back to the intensity of drama. And I can see that a lot of start-ups get really caught up in the drama of "It's so serious, we got to get this up" and the whole investment and it get can heavy. So, I want to highlight play as an important quality that I encourage all companies, and especially start-ups, to embrace right from the front-end.

And then the other one is around rest. Because I am very concerned about workaholism and how intense it is getting out there. And especially in the Valley, where people work long hours, they don't stop. They barely spend time with their kids before they're back online looking at all the hundreds of emails they're trying to get through, staying up late hours and back up in the morning and people are having to take pills to put themselves to sleep or drink their alcohol and they got to caffeinate back up again in the morning. And it's looking like a really unsustainable practice.

So, rest is so key. We call it "Sprint and Recover" and I want to encourage everyone to start looking for "How can I rest more and how can I recognize that resting more will actually make me more productive?" So, when NASA was looking at "How do we get the most out of our astronauts? We only have this many days up there and we have all this stuff we want them to do," they started to recognize that if we let them rest, we'll actually get more production out of them. So, I think the research they got was that companies who allow their employees to rest 45 minutes a day would be 35% more productive than their counterparts. I mean, that's a lot for 45 minutes of rest.

So, do you guys have sleeping rooms? Do you have places where people can go nap comfortably and be quiet? Are there places where, even just for 5 or 10 minutes, you can turn off all apps and devices, maybe just close your eyes and be quiet for a few minutes. Just maybe listen to a favorite song. Can you go take a walk around the building for 10, 15 minutes and just relax? I want to highly push this particular commitment for your clients, of "How do we bring play and rest and rhythm in so that we can be more sustainable?"

And when you're neck and neck with another company, where you both have great talent, you have similar product, who is going to push forward, in my opinion, are going to be those who are going to play and rest, who learn how to manage their energy that way is going to make, I think, going to be a significant difference.

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