2020 has been . . .
We’ve all, to varying degrees, been through the fire this year.
And things have changed—in our work, in our lives. Covid-19 has changed the way we interact with the world and with each other. But while some are eager to get back to the way things were, a better question is what do we do going forward?
We aren’t going back to normal. Normal isn’t likely to happen any time soon, and even if we could, let’s face it: Normal wasn't all that great.
Between being slammed with projects, spinning our wheels, and “We are NOT communicating here,” work hasn’t always been a picnic and teams haven’t always vibed.
Even before Covid, based on a global study of 3,000 teams, less than 12% of teams considered themselves as high-performing. In terms of team culture, mental health, and anything remotely resembling joy and fun in the workplace, pre-pandemic “normal” left a lot to be desired. But now, in a Covid-colored world, we don’t have to accept just getting back to normal, we can seize a new opportunity.
We can fundamentally shift not just what, but how work can be.
Making Teams Better in Three Steps
As team leaders, there’s a massive opportunity awaiting us. We don’t have to rely on tired approaches like webinars, new year kickoffs, or what the latest hot author said about how to make teams work better. The world has changed. New ideas abound. Let’s seize the day!
Yes, it takes a certain boldness to adopt new methods, even ones — like Fujoli! — that have proven to be highly effective. It used to be said that “Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM,” but that kind of let’s-do-things-the-safe-way will actually hold you, your team, and your company back. Nowadays, someone might say, “Nobody ever got fired for using Zoom.” But the critical question is HOW are you using it, and how are you responding to the culture changes that are happening right in front of you?
Are you being reactive? Or are you leading the charge into a more powerful and effective world for your business and your team?
Here are three key steps toward building lasting change in your team’s culture:
Step 1: "Know Thyself as a Team" and commit to Be The Best
Nothing changes until you see your team and your culture as they really are, understand your strengths, become clear on what's holding you back, and commit to become the best team you can possibly be.
Having your team participate in one-off trainings or telling everyone to get a takeout dinner from a nice restaurant and charge it to the company are nice things to do, but they have a limited shelf-life. They’re the corporate equivalent of getting a chair massage at the mall. It feels good for a little while, but ultimately nothing really changes.
So why does changing your culture matter? Because you can be more than punching the clock, meeting deadlines, playing it safe and not making waves. If you want to increase your team’s engagement — with the work at hand, with the efforts of the team, and on an interpersonal level — then it matters A. LOT. If you want your team to not only do more in these trying times and with limited resources, yet actually enjoy the work more, then it matters A. LOT.
Learn to see your team by its strengths. What works well? What can you build on? And what holds you back? What you can’t see, you can’t fix, right? AND, if you can’t see anything, you might not be looking deeply enough. So just stop. Without making any judgments, look at how your team is interacting with each other. Do communications flow smoothly? Do they seem to enjoy their conversations? Are people putting gifs or emojis in the Slack channel?
Those may seem silly or simplistic, but they’re actually great indicators of how people on your team are feeling and about how safe they are in interacting at a deep level with each other. If communications are short and terse and, basically, transactional, you’ve got a great opportunity to shift things with your team.
If you’re not getting a sense of flow and engagement between the people on your team, you don’t have to just live with it — and please don’t assume that ignoring it will make those blocks go away. It’s time to take action.
You can’t throw “solutions” or quick fixes at people like they’re spaghetti that you hope will stick to the wall. Culture change takes time AND it takes your commitment to seeing the effort through to a new and better state. If you’re not all-in on this, they won’t be either. And then, whatever attempt you make will be just like that massage at the mall.
Does that seem scary or too demanding? Well, how do poor results, higher turnover, and strained communications grab you?
If you need a mantra to help you, or if you need some ammunition to help you sell any change effort up the line, just remember these three things:
Team culture thrives when leaders put people first.
Team culture thrives when team members are willing to do things differently.
Team culture doesn’t change without complete commitment to that goal.
So if you’re all-in on seizing this opportunity, what’s next? (I’m so glad you asked.)
Here’s an idea. Ask the people on your team about all the training and development experiences they’ve been through in their years. It’s probably impressive and probably pretty broad. It’s probably pretty expensive, too, when you add it all up.
Now ask them what really worked, what really made a difference in how they see their jobs, their contributions, their interactions, and their satisfaction. Don’t be surprised if you hear crickets . . .
Step 2: Get Fujoli
Fujoli is the bold new approach to team development and increasing employee engagement that uses the science of play to connect people on a deeper level than most traditional programs can achieve. It’s kind of like taking a side door into people’s psyches to help them make new connections, rather than trying to jam through the analytical front doors in their brains. In a cage match between Fujoli and a traditional webinar — BOOM! No contest.
Barriers break down, trust grows, connections deepen, commitment increases, creativity flourishes — and, results improve. All while they just thought they were having fun, and suddenly seeing each other in new ways.
The thing about culture change, whether with Fujoli or some other method, is that you can’t take a one-and-done approach to it. Even Fujoli would end up like a (hilarious) massage if you only did one session. So (and this is where your commitment is really key), you’ve got to do a series of sessions to really land the learning and make it stick.
You’ll know the team is getting it when they start looking at their work through a Fujoli lens. Like, “Do we need more Fujoli here?” Or “That document is just not Fujoli enough.” We’ve seen this, and it’s a powerful and bonding addition to a team’s vocabulary.
So, after your team has done four to six Fujoli sessions, what’s next?
Step 3: Make It Last
It’s not enough just to have your team look at things with a Fujoli lens from time-to-time. You need to explicitly review how the team is doing, what’s going well, what isn’t going so well, and how, collectively, the team wants to adjust.
That last part is the real secret to making change last. When the people on the team are invested in the team’s success, when it becomes a case of “We” not “You+You+Me,” then you’ve got it made. When the team members are active participants in keeping the new connections and engagement growing — when they fell they own the process — that’s when the magic happens.
So it takes attention, it takes commitment, and it takes regular reviews (and maybe a Fujoli tune-up session?) to maintain this wonderful new state. And it’s totally worth it!
To find out how you can tap the power of Fujoli to elevate your team, click here to set up a chat. And sign up for our free email newsletter here.
To be the best leader you can be, you need to be who you authentically are — and, deep down, I used to think I was too goofy to be a serious leader. But then I learned something really important, and it changed everything for me.
Hello world, team performance coach and play expert Katrin Windsor here.
I used to be a stressed-out executive, managing teams across countries and continents. I was a VP in Silicon Valley, a Managing Director in NYC, a General Manager based in London and Paris. I know the pressures of corporate life and what it means to hold P&L responsibilities for international teams and operations.
And throughout it all, I learned one very important lesson: Fun and play are powerful antidotes to stress, and they help teams stay positive, creative, and productive.
The answer seems so simple, right? Relax, have fun, play a little. But that approach is so under-appreciated, misunderstood, and overlooked. Play? In the workplace? Is this a company or an adult day-care?
The truth is, boring and serious are expensive. Sure, you can get people to knuckle-down and get stuff done. But that pressure to just perform limits the range of people’s thinking and can quickly lead to burnout, while fun, joy, and lightness can truly transform your team and create tremendous results.
FUJOLI disrupts the traditional way of developing teams. We do that through play, Smart Play. (Hey, but, uh… What is Smart Play?) Smart Play is play with a purpose. It feels free-form, but there’s deep meaning behind it, and real, tangible results.
The way FUJOLI applies Smart Play is:
With Smart Play, participants experience a clear, effective and uplifting journey that builds skills that stick.
And it all started with an idea.
Seeing the Need
Throughout my life, my passion has been for connecting people and leading experiential learning. As the founder of the International Business Circle, a peer-to-peer forum for international executives, I worked with all kinds of hotshots and C-level folks. But whether I flew to the United Arab Emirates or to Tokyo or to Brazil, my success depended on my ability to quickly connect with my teams, get them to trust me, and to collaborate together. I've been through those phases so many times with so many teams, in multiple languages, and delivered award-winning results.
My corporate background has given me crucial insights on how to improve teams. I noticed for example, that diverse and cross-cultural teams work more effectively together. I observed that team performance improved by incorporating the whole person.
Far from being too goofy for the corporate world, I realized that the more I was able to help people connect authentically, loosen up, let their hair down, and create these multisensory shared learning experiences, the more successful teams became.
After selling my company and becoming a coach, I gave keynote speeches around the world. But even after the applause, when I walked off stage, I knew that a keynote wasn’t enough. It left me disappointed, because one speech, however good, doesn’t really make a difference.
Talking at people doesn’t work.
Creating shared, interconnected, immersive learning experiences does. All I had to do was find the way, and help others see the need for it.
Sparking the Idea
In 2018, I was in a leadership program in California where I met a kindred spirit, Kaitlyn Lyons. We discovered that we share a passion around helping adults play again. We set out to create a workshop, as an experiment, to see how work teams react to play and wondering what the impact would be on their performance.
We called it Fujoli PlayLabs and it turned out to be a total success. Participants reported back that they felt so energized after the Fujoli session, it made them much more productive. A year after that session, Fujoli had become part of their language and culture.
It was a big A-HA moment for Fujoli.
In early 2020, with my new partner John Sandahl, we began testing Fujoli in a virtual setting. (Hello, Zoom!) It was a BIG success and the word-of-mouth has been tremendous. And we’ve been gaining momentum ever since.
What does this mean for you?
Play isn’t just meaningless diversion. Play can be deep and impactful, connecting people at their core and showing them that it’s okay to be who they are. This is the gateway to unlocking your very best self — as a leader, as a team member, as a human being. We believe that this approach to helping teams be better together is the future of mastering teamwork. Play taps people into their own wisdom in a powerful and resonant way, while dry lectures and traditional team development work often shuts people down. (Seriously, what do you remember from your last training program?)
Do you want to discover your team’s best? Let’s chat! Schedule a Free Consultation. Or drop us a line! We really want to hear from you and work with your team!
Even before Covid-19 drastically changed the way we work, remote teams were dispersed, disconnected, scattered—around the country, and around the globe. For the most part, people approached work as a series of tasks to be accomplished, a list of things to check off. Sure, you show up at work, give it your best, check in with your colleagues, etc etc. And for a while, it kinda worked.
But now that our nine-to-five lives have slowly devolved into a whenever-to-whatever, it’s becoming harder and harder to feel engaged, collected, and energized. Work is draining us dry. And that has nothing to do with swapping pants for leggings every day, and everything to do with the way we’re disconnected—from our teams, as well as from ourselves.
We’re overwhelmed, Zoom-fatigued.
There has to be a better way.
Good news: There is a better way.
And that’s Fujoli.
What is Fujoli?
Fujoli stands for Fun, Joy, and Lightness.
Okay. But… What does that actually mean?
Fujoli is a better way to engage with remote teams
That’s what Fujoli brings to the (virtual) table: A way to bring teams together that’s more than just corny icebreakers, and much more engaging than a lecture you forget on the drive home.
Fujoli offers science-based virtual sessions we call playlabs that are unlike anything else out there—and they offer transformative results.
Fujoli creates online experiences where people can come together as humans, connect authentically, and use play to break down barriers. Play is often seen as the opposite of work, but in reality, play is an essential counterpart to productivity and well-being. The world needs more play! We’re all so freaking serious, and boring training sessions don’t make that any better. We need play and joy to unleash our team’s potential!
Play makes sucky days survivable.
Play brings new perspectives.
Play helps you lower stress hormones, and produce more of the feel-good chemicals that lift you up, hold you together, and keep you going.
Who is Fujoli?
Fujoli was founded by former executives and team leaders who can directly relate to the challenges teams face every day. We hold advanced credentials in coaching teams and individuals, and we keep on top of the latest research on team performance, transformation, and change. We have a passion for developing individuals and teams through play, human connection, and gamified learning.
Simply put: For us, play is about the joy of discovery and skill in action—not about platitudes or forced encounters or trust falls.
How does Fujoli work?
Fujoli works to address your team’s unique needs with custom-crafted sessions that provide arcs of shared, collaborative learning. We create online experiences where people across remote teams can come together, engage in a safe, fun space—not forced, not lame (we promise), not super woo woo—for smart play.
When your team comes to the playlab, we take the time to sync everyone up, like a tuning fork. We all know what it’s like, rushing to make a meeting, coming in from here or there, distracted by a masked-up grocery run or a last-minute bit of homework help for your kid’s virtual class session, logging onto a call with barely enough time to spare to check that your hair is okay and there’s nothing on your shirt. We get it.
And we know just what to do to change it.
Inside the playlab, teams can truly connect to each other, drop their facade of “all business, all the time.” Take a breath and feel, more than just think. Through purposeful play, people find themselves breaking down barriers, becoming aware that they’re more than just harried individuals, chained to an endless list of tasks. A team is an organism, a system, a unit. We’re not just workers, we’re human beings, with a desperate need for connection and creativity. Even globally-dispersed teams can come together.
Conscious teams become thriving teams. Fujoli is the key to that.
Now more than ever, companies are putting employee well-being on the top of their priority lists. They’re starting to care about the impacts of this new remote work environment on mental health. Burnout is real, and it takes a real toll.
Companies that build connections can find new ways to heal, thrive, and achieve greater results. Innovation isn’t just about having the best ideas, it’s about execution. And when it comes to execution, collaboration depends on trust, teamwork, and connection.
If your team is all heads-down, work work work, focus, achieve, metrics, whatever, then you seriously need Fujoli. There is real value in conscious play!
It’s fun, but it has a purpose that reaches out far beyond a single session.
It’s joyful, and it opens doors to refreshing, authentic engagement.
It brings a true sense of lightness to our heavy, burdened world.
And, most of all, it's a new, powerful way to level up the quality of your teamwork and collaboration.
If you’re interested in learning more about what Fujoli can do for your team, hop on over to fujoli.com to sign up for our newsletter. Or, if you are ready to jump right into the ball pit, schedule a free call with us! We’ll talk about what you want to achieve with your team and how Fujoli can support that.