Having fun in a messy world

| February 4, 2015

In a world that’s constantly connected the focus has shifted from the outcome alone towards helping create the outcome. Peter Fritz has learned that a fun journey is as important as the destination.

Recently my daughter sent me You Tube videos about some successful young entrepreneurs. I spent three hours being highly entertained. The entertainment was a very holistic experience for me because I was also learning. I was looking at videos explaining business concepts and the journey of the business, rather than just the facts.

My generation has been brought up with a strong sense of duty. We were focussed on outcomes. We did say that it’s important to have fun in life. But we didn’t actually understand how to construct a fun journey in a professional environment.

This generation is different. There is a progression towards creating events that provide experiences and entertainment on the journey. The ambience in which something is happening has become important. You could almost call it a performance with everyone an actor.

Every business handbook tells you to engage and to sell to the need of the customer. In the past I think we didn’t really do this. Weekly meetings have been in place for generations – people march in, the boss says this is what it is, and then everybody marches out and the boss feels good, because he or she has interacted with the team.

That is not how interaction happens in an efficient and effective way. That is command and control – last century thinking. Today the workplace is evolving as a club, as an entertaining place. It is about enhancing life rather than just finding a work-life balance.

We have been running Global Access Partners (GAP) for the last 14 years on differing points of view between generations. My daughter Catherine was trying to get the idea across that it’s important to have an experience, and that professionalism does not conflict with having fun. We both realised that having events in Parliament House meant something special. But what I didn’t realise was that it is not the power that is being conveyed by being in the legislative chamber that was the real pull for participants, but the whole experience of sitting together, talking, debating, listening and sharing.

The difference that GAP brings is that we study our audience – I deliberately don’t say members or colleagues in this instance, but the audience. We engage the audience and create the event. And the experience is not just the outcome. We are looking for people to come to a performance, where they themselves are the performers, the actors for an experience that they cannot have anywhere else. Every one of us has an important part in the play.

Our events deliver outcomes and engage participants, who are self-interested and are having fun while achieving something tangible together. The ambience is important. It is important to unleash free thinking and free speaking. Of course we should be professional and reliable. So whatever we do, we aim to engender trust, because we deliver credible outcomes. They pass the fingerprint test – you do not see one individual self-interested party’s fingerprint on it. You see many self-interested party’s fingerprints. It is more than collaboration. It enables participants to achieve more together than they could on their own. These participants form a community that is a real ecosystem.

So I finally realised that the inhabitants of the 21st Century live in a different world to that of the traditional boardrooms from other times. The world is not an ordered place where everybody’s ideas match one particular template. There are many ideas, and they don’t match the template. They don’t match each other.

The world is an edgy place. By bringing people into close contact, we at GAP use this edginess to our advantage and create a mosaic that tells the story and creates a picture. And I believe that no one else has been able to capture this edginess through any other process so far.

Peter Fritz
Peter Fritz AM is Chairman of Global Access Partners and Group Managing Director of TCG – a diverse group of companies which for more than 45 years has produced many breakthrough discoveries in computer and communication technologies. He chairs a number of influential government and private enterprise boards and is active in the international arena, including having represented Australia on the OECD Small and Medium Size Enterprise Committee.

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