I had coffee with a colleague yesterday, an accomplished speaker who gets teams to see with fresh eyes and act with fresh energy. Paradoxically, we were sitting down to walk our talk as we reflected on a recent experience. The obvious part was that we wanted to give our own work the same open-minded appreciation that we encourage our clients to give to their work. We looked at what had really happened and noticed what worked and what we would change next time.
The more important part of walking our talk yesterday was that we sat down in fresh surroundings with great coffee and thoroughly enjoyed our conversation. We made each other laugh. This was not the bonus added to the critical look at what we had accomplished. This was central to what we believe about how people achieve: we added fun to the mix precisely because we were absolutely serious about the conversation.
It is easy to leave out the fun, or to assume it should be added in as a reward once the real work is done. Only the highest achievers know that the fun has to be built into every layer of the process.