One of the most generative ways to leverage the power of play in our lives is by seeing it as a force for making organizations more lateral. Play is equally powerful in small organizations, like families, or big organizations, like companies. In either case, play shifts our daily interactions away from roles and more toward relationships, allowing all parties to bring their more innovative ideas and creativity.
Which, I guess, makes The Relational Book for Parenting a stealth business book. On many levels, businesses are just larger families, prone to the same interpersonal dynamics and challenges. Over-reliance on authority, too much focus on roles, lack of flexibility, controlling policies, dominance, and fear-based decision trees all represent challenges for families and companies equally. They strip away, individual agency, aspirational thinking, co-creation, creative uncertainty and motivation. The end result is unhappy people.
Play is the cure for all these very human challenges, because in reducing our reliance on hierarchy, we encourage people to bring their co-creative selves without fear of the differences that may arise. This is precisely because, in play, we celebrate the generative nature of difference.
From our book, The Relational Book for Parenting.
“In relationships, we each perform our distinctive versions of the ideas we share. This distinctiveness is deeply human and it is linked to why play is such a powerful creative force. In play, we welcome the generative nature of coordinating divergent ideas. And even better, in play, we intentionally hold our stories or beliefs more lightly. This expands the relational space as we allow ourselves to stay open and notice what is emerging in the dance of our distinctiveness. Play, in partnership with curiosity, transforms us into joyful learners and makers of our interconnected lives. It is the source of a wider range of options in how we go forward in life.
Children at play understand that their ideas are meant to co-exist with the ideas of others, giving rise to new ideas. In this way, the possibilities for play become endless. The source of our creativity isn’t located in our ideas, but in the conversations they give rise to.”
“Choosing to be playful doesn’t make our ideas more flexible, it simply acknowledges that they already are.”
The Relational Book for Parenting, Part 6: Why Is Play The Answer for Businesses and Families Alike?
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