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!