Winter 1997


Here’s a little test. Answer these three questions honestly:

When was the last time you and your co-workers or staff had a good laugh while on the job?

What is your company’s policy about having fun on the job?

How many of your co-workers or staff would say they have fun at work?

If your answers were

1) longer than two days,

2) there isn’t a policy, or

3) few to none,

then you might be interested in what Matt Weinstein, author of Managing to Have Fun, has to say. Weinstein implements Plato’s philosophy of "life should be lived as play" into his career and daily practices.

Managing to Have Fun is filled with stories and easy to implement plans of how to integrate fun into work. Weinstein believes that fun can, not only inspire employees and co-workers, but can boost your company’s bottom line.

An important step to getting started is to have your upper managers buy into the concept. Many times this takes showing them how the boost in morale can increase profits. This usually isn’t as hard as it seems. Just sit back and brainstorm what fun would do for’d want to be at work, it would allow you to be more creative and productive, keep you away from job search activities, and a ton more. Show your boss what fun can do for the organization!

Weinstein states four principles that will help you begin incorporating fun and play into your work.

You need to think about the specific people involved. Tailor the fun to those who will be experiencing it. The more appropriate and related to the individual’s interests, the more effective the fun and play will be.

Lead by example. Take time to determine what fun means to you and how comfortable you feel with creating and implementing fun.

If you’re not getting personal satisfaction from what you’re doing, it’s not worth doing. Bringing fun to work needs to be fun for you, too. Connecting with your employees or co-workers must be rewarding for you.

Change, no matter what you are trying to change, takes time. Start by planning some small events. See how they go. Change your course of action if you find some problems. Be flexible and patient.

Now that you are on your way to managing to have fun, here are some suggested methods:

Traveling Bouquet of Flowers: Bring a bunch of flowers into the office before anyone else arrives. Place it on someone’s desk with a note that explains that its theirs for the next half hour. After that, they must pass it on to another co-worker with the same note.

Play Childhood Games: Bring out Monopoly, Scrabble, pitching pennies, Old Maid, or have them bring in any old game to play at breaks or during lunch. Taking a break can be refreshing and energizing!

Find a Secret Pal: Sometimes a structured activity can get things started. Don’t wait for the holidays to plan a secret pal event. Use the same rules, but make the length of time a month or two...or even for the length of a difficult project.

Plan an Ugly Shoe/Tie Contest: There’s just one simple rule, no purchases allowed. All shoes and ties must come straight from their closet.

Create a Stress-Free Zone: Designate a hallway, break room or office as a place to get rid of stress. Provide stress-free toys like a punching bag, stress balls or a pillow to scream into. Wouldn’t you rather relieve stress like this than have an irate employee or co-worker?

Managing to have fun at work doesn’t need to consume a lot of time, money, or creative talent. Just remember that you should have fun, too!

Managing to Have Fun is published by Simon & Schuster



Did you ever wonder how it is that Training Systems seems to have the latest information or just seems to know about what is happening? From ways to determine if your training is really helping employees, to a quick tip on how to inspire an employee, to the best ways to recruit and hire great employees. Here are a few of the ways Training Systems stays in the know for you!

Active involvement in the community. A Training Systems Associate can be found at, or is invited to, various business functions and trade meetings around the country;

Training Systems has some of the latest training and consulting tools and technology to help facilitate learning, conduct a job audit, or build a great work team;

In the home office there is a comprehensive library of current publications and resource materials that Associates may immediately access through our modeming capabilities. More than 200 on shelf resources and more than 40 subject files are waiting for them!;

In addition to the work we do for you, we work with hundreds of other industries, bringing you valuable benchmarking information!



Resources to Help You Recruit, Inspire & Retain Employees

"Humor Works" by John Morreall

Using dozens of anecdotes and examples, this book looks at how humor and creativity, teamwork, risk taking, and communication all can be combined in the work place. Also included are the healthy benefits of humor from stress reduction to a way to be a "Social Lubricant" (a chapter title!).

"Games" by Thiagi

17 games to help make learning fun including topics on Creativity, Diversity Simulation, Group (grope), teamwork, and others to challenge and stimulate.


A great web site that has some interesting and humorous jokes, anecdotes, and stories.

Products listed are available from HRD Press, 800-822-2801



Communicating for Success

Sometimes you may wonder if all this communication skills training is really worth the effort on your part and the time and expense of the organization. Training Systems helped REM Wisconsin supervisors learn how to improve their communication with employees (and each other too!). Mark Maier is one of the learners and has attended all four of the training sessions. His job is very demanding of both his time and energy. One of the skills we worked on in training was being able to recognize how others communicate (their communication style) and then learn to be able to change our style to match theirs. This is a sure way to make them so comfortable, they’ll want to communicate with us. Mark said that since the training he is more aware of how other people communicate and how their style is different from his. "The training has made a ton of difference in the way I communicate with others." This awareness has helped him to change the way he asks for information and thus be a better manager at REM Wisconsin. What a GREAT success — he improved communication and morale at the same time!



David Breslow is an experienced trainer and consultant with TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC., and is also the president of the Performance Training/Development Center. He is a nationally recognized Performance Consultant, designing and implementing programs to help corporations excel and athletes become peak performers. His specialties include strategic coaching, de-stress programs, sales training, effective communication, team vision, time management, leadership development, employee based performance enhancement programs and the recruitment process.

In the field of athletics, David trains pros and amateurs to help both individuals and teams become peak performers who learn how to become winners! He has published articles on a variety of peak performance topics both nationally and locally and has appeared on over 130 radio stations and hosted his own New York based radio show called "Your Personal Best". He has also held the title of Peak Performance Trainer at the National Tennis Center and Ivan Lendl’s Grand Slam Tennis Center.



Making Sure What They Learned Is Used On The Job

Your employees come back from training sessions and within a few days, weeks or months they appear to forget what they learned. What can you do? Instead of feeling like your training investment is going down the drain, here are some easy ideas to implement for your employees after they return from training.

At staff or departmental meetings, discuss the training or each time review a different section of the training.

Practice, practice, practice and more practice! Use new role plays or scenarios from those done during the training.

If job aids were designed as part of the training, make sure that the learners posted or are using the job aids in the proper manner.

Periodically, remind them to use them on a consistent basis.

Make a game out of one of the topics or skills in the training. Let your staff have fun with their new or updated knowledge.

Let the learners share how they have implemented some ideas from the training. Sharing practical, useful ideas is a great way for everyone to reap the benefits!

TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. has many more ways for you to get the most BANG out of your training budget. These are only a sampling of ideas, practices and methods for you to help the learning continue long after the training is done.


Here’s Your Answer for Our Last Issue

What innovative methods have you used to start your meetings with a creative flair?

"I usually wear a suit, as it is the uniform of my profession, but when we were working on teamwork one time, I showed up to work in a hockey suit. I didn’t say or do anything different, just ran the meeting like usual, but there sure were some eyebrows raised and the staff got a real hoot out of it. I felt a little silly, but the end results were worth it and it also helped to reduce my image as a stuffed shirt!" Jim Waldorf, Bank President (retired)



Inspire Your Employees to Excellence Day!

You try to recognize your employees every day, so make a special effort on February 2, 1998, National Inspire Your Employees to Excellence Day! It’s a great beginning to make your organization so attractive to your employees that they’ll NEVER want to work anywhere else. Here are some ideas to help make your Inspire Employees to Excellence Day a success:

Keeping quality employees is like keeping customers! Treat your employees as well as you treat your customers.

Let your employees know that the organization’s success is their success! Start an award program for: "Employee of the Month" or "Best Money-Saving Idea of the Month". Award positive energy in your organization.

Make sure your staff are properly trained for the job! Even on a tight budget, ongoing staff development and training is possible.

To receive your free packet of information on how to make this day a total success and to get more ideas on inspiring your employees to excellence, contact TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. at 800-469-3560. Let us help you make your organization a wonderful place to work!



Question: How many Associates does

TRAINING SYSTEMS, INC. currently have working on designing and/or delivering training, or HR consulting projects?

Answer: Twenty-one Associates are currently working with our clients.