Engage like you’re a puppy

What?  Why would you engage like a puppy? Well, one of the biggest reasons is for the fun and another is everyone will adore you. Now I know what you’re thinking – I’m in a serious business, why in the world should I concern myself with being playful? Maybe because the National Institute for play, yes there really is such a thing, can confirm that “puppy like” behavior is a great example of being receptive and ready to energize those around you. Now isn’t that what you want to do in your leadership role?

The best part about mirroring puppy behavior is in its authenticity. If we strip away our barriers, we are all either children or puppies at our core and people relate well to both. Now to get in touch with your inner puppy the best thing to do is to watch a puppy, or even better play with the puppy. You’ll notice that their physical stance is an energized one. They are ready to engage and you can see it. So yes, it’s a lot about body language. An eager looking face, eyes that sparkle are easy signs for others to read and will take you a long way. The goal is to have people walk away from you inspired rather than weary. I mean really, do you want to be around an energizer or de-energizer. Do you want to bore your colleagues and clients to death with being the smartest person in the room or deliver the same important message or lesson by being engaging?

Picture this, it’s the last week before leaving for holiday vacation and before 2019 becomes a reality. Everyone is in a holiday mood but your job is to help everyone, including yourself, start 2019 with strong Objectives and Key Results (OKR) for the new year. And while we all know it’s an important thing to do, it may not sound all that exciting, either to yourself or to those around you. One thing is for sure, OKR’s or whatever your team likes to call goals are incredibly impactful getting everybody moving in a unified direction. So let’s assume your OKR’s are like most people’s and they comprise things like increasing sales, improving customer engagement, revamping your product offerings, updating policies, or any other multitude of important goals. You won’t even be a little motivated yourself unless there’s some energy and motivation, let alone motivate others. You have to have the facts and figures. You have to have good policies and written goals, but frankly even if you get energized enough to do them the hard part is being energized about those facts, figures and goals and turn them into reality. So bring out your inner puppy! Figure out how to bring fun into the process. Do something creative. Do something playful.

Some people still believe professionals are supposed to be fairly buttoned up all the time. But the studies going on in many of our universities and business schools prove otherwise. Science has discovered that the old adage which says “all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy,” is absolutely true and lack of play can also dull some of his essential business skills. It seems injecting playfulness into otherwise boring or tedious tasks make them more enjoyable and can lower the stress when work schedules or tough situations arise. If we didn’t think this was important before, with the large percentage of millennials entering the workplace, it’s not just important, it’s vital. Puppies! Energized puppies!

So what do you say? Can you engage your inner puppy?

Engage like you’re a puppy
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