Should you fill your company with Games Makers?
Could Games Makers akin to those at London 2012 help provide your organisation with that Disney Feel and make it a happier environment to work in, asks Mark Samuels.
The biggest legacy of London 2012 doesn't have to be sporting excellence or a nice park in east London. Spread the feel good vibe from Games Makers around your organisation and you can help make the business a happier place.
Like everyone else who was lucky enough to visit the Games, I thought the event and the organisation was brilliant. I left the Olympic Park with a sort of "feel-good glow". There were lots of reasons for that positivity, from the level of competition to the rare British sunshine. But the positivity of the Games Makers had the biggest effect.
The constant smiling and upbeat nature of the Makers provided a bit of a Disney feel. Everyone knows the effect of visiting theme parks; the happy banter of the staff starts to have its effect and you become slowly seduced.
But something was different at the Games. No seduction was required. On leaving the athletics, my family encountered a Games Maker who decided to give my eldest daughter his official pin badges "just because he wanted to". Those were his limited edition badges that were recognition of his contribution to the Games. It made my daughter's day. John from Nottingham, I salute your kindness.
Yet here's the rub: why would people go out of their way to do so much to give people a positive view of an organisation? Games Makers worked for free would your paid staff be so willing to go the extra mile in order to make people feel your IT department, or company, is great?
Would they even smile? And if they did, or if you did, would it seem false or forced? We have created a business environment where any act of kindness is immediately viewed with cynicism. The Games Makers did not come across as false because they had absolutely nothing to gain at a personal level, apart from the wider benefit of making the event a success.
I guess the real piece of best practice emerging from the Games Makers is to not be afraid to smile. CIOs talk an awful lot about engagement and the need to spend quality time with workers and customers. However, the world of business IT, with its focus on marketing hype and technical jargon, is still head-down and very serious.
Modern technology management might be about encouraging staff to use information to meet fast-changing business and customer demands. But, above all else, work needs to be fun. And I think we all sometimes forget that.