22 sep Having fun leads to great results!
During the Olympic winter games, I saw an interesting interview. Dione de Graaff had Jan Roelfs as guest in Studio Peking*. Roelfs talked about the vision of Norway on cultivating their professional sport. In the ’80s the Norse failed tremendously in the Olympic winter games. So the Norse created a master plan for success in sports. The goal: to perform better in the 1994 Olympics in Lillehammer, Norway. He explained that the Norse has a holistic approach (mind, body, and soul) toward the sport. It starts with the right to sport for every child. In Norway, 93% of all children play a sport. The most important is that the children should have fun and feel safe whilst sporting. The sport that the children play is not performance-oriented. Scores are not important, and who wins is not a big deal at all. The main goal is to have fun and to be inclusive. In 1994 the Norse won 10 gold medals and has sustained this success in the years to come. When looking at successful Norwegian athletes, you see that they are enjoying themselves. Compare this to the Dutch athletes. With recent scandals in sports like gymnastics and hockey. The Dutch coaches used intimidation, isolation, and manipulation to achieve success. In almost every post-performance interview, Dutch Olympic athletes mentioned pressure. The pressure to succeed! Yes, the Dutch were very successful too, but what would you choose? Pressure or having fun?
Norway topped the Beijing 2022 medal table with a population of only 5 million people. They broke their record for most gold medals wins (16 in total) in the Olympic Games. They earned medals in 9 of the 15 sports. For Tore Oevreboe (chef de mission of Norway) enjoying themselves and creating good relationships is more important than winning. He had many interesting quotes in this interview, here are a few:
- “We are very occupied with creating a good environment, a stable environment, a safe environment, an environment full of fun, so they can really enjoy life when they are doing sport at a high level,”
- “This is part of the Norwegian sports model, all the way from the start from childhood – it should be physical activity based on fun, many types of activities, variety, different sports,”
- “Lots of small competitions, but we do not track the results of the athletes.”
In Suriname, results are often more valued than children having fun. I have experienced this with my children. They love playing soccer. It gives them so much joy. Of course, they wanted to play for a team, so my boys started training. They are not the best soccer players and because of this, they hardly played matches. In training sessions, teams of different ages played against each other. Even then, my boys hardly got any playtime. The reason? Coaches wanted to win the match and boast to each other afterward. Something which should be fun turned into a negative experience. As a result, my children quit soccer and started playing on their own. They made appointments with friends and played for hours. No more pressure, finding the enjoyment. The hours resulted in them improving a lot and becoming much better. Every time that they had a match with their friends, they gave me the highlights afterward. Who scored, who defended, who had a great pass. Now they joined the soccer teams again and are getting much more playtime.
In my previous article about Adept, I explained our vision. In our vision, we do not mention anything about ICT. We value having fun, an ultimate working environment, balanced personal lives, and great customer relations. Empowering people not only by knowledge but by experiences. Experiences that are different and fun. In our 8 years of existence, we went on vacation to Curacao and Aruba. Before Covid-19, we sent 1 or 2 employees to follow courses abroad every year. Not only because of the course knowledge. But more for the experience of seeing another country. Each quarter we take a day off of work as a group and go to the interior to reload. We take long breaks at work; our lunches often take longer than an hour. We chat, watch tv, play cards or play Pokémon. We even created a pokestop in front of our office. Every day we play Wordle* online and share the results in the group app.
At Adept we have an average happiness level of 8.5 out of 10. We raised salaries by 15% this year. We have awesome customers, who value our opinion. We are giving all our employees stocks this year. We started a pension fund and we made a profit last year.
The message of this article is simple: Having fun (at work) leads to great results. Let’s learn from the Norwegians.
*[Studio Peking is a Dutch program about the winter Olympics of 2022 in China.]