Why You Should Be a Powerful Play Experiences Client

Why You Should Be a Powerful Play Experiences Client
Written by Danielle Forth, Registered Psychologist
I recently had the opportunity to participate in a Powerful Play Experiences workshop led by Robert Manolson. I’ve had many interesting and energetic conversations with Robert about his work, but had never seen him
in action. I emailed Robert and asked if I could observe one of his upcoming workshops. Here’s his response:
“Observe? No one observes! Participate!” And that was the beginning of an incredible experience.
I walked into the workshop with an open mind. I was expecting to have fun and participate in activities well
outside the daily routines of the work day. I thought there would be some laughs and opportunities to chat
with interesting people. What I got from the experience was so much more than that.
The workshop participants connected with each other, collaborated on activities, and laughed. They laughed a
lot. The positive energy in the room was palpable. Creative juices were flowing. People seemed happy to be
there. I was a complete stranger, but was welcomed by the participants as if I had been working with them for
years. Robert’s mission with this particular workshop was focused on the client’s corporate values. It was
fascinating to see how he utilized play to deliver a powerful message about employees connecting to and
embodying these corporate values.
In one activity Robert had the participants organize themselves into five groups, one group for each of the
client’s corporate values. The groups were then asked to literally bring one of these values to life by creating a
model/sculpture that captured the essence of that particular value. Each group was provided with materials like
colorful plastic straws and connectors to use for their model and would then present their creation to the
larger group. Groups engaged in spirited brainstorming and then proceeded to create magnificent sculptures/models. It was astounding to see what each group had produced in such a short amount of time. These were
three dimensional models of each corporate value. I saw people proud of what they created, and how they
connected to the corporate value. I also saw people proud of the work they did in their jobs and proud of the
community in which they did that work. I have never seen people inspired by corporate values in this way. It
was inspiring to be a part of such a dynamic process. This is what powerful play can achieve.
As I reflected on the workshop I noted some interesting things. The Powerful Play Experiences workshop
demonstrated that engaging in play with colleagues promotes bonding and trust with colleagues and strengthens one’s sense of community. The play activities required a high degree of cooperation and teamwork while
also stimulating creativity, experimentation, and risk taking. It also created high levels of fun, collaboration, and
positivity! I walked away from the experience feeling good and re-energized.
Playing offers so many benefits while asking very little of us. At its most basic level play requires us to have our
mind and body together at the same time. Play doesn’t ask for a result or outcome; it’s all about the experience right here, right now. In a world with increasing demands on our attention it is often difficult to be present with who or what is in front of you and to focus solely on that person or thing. Play is both invigorating
and relaxing. There’s some serious research about the benefits of play for adults. Stuart Brown, psychiatrist and
founder of the National Institute for Play, states that even a small amount of play can boost our productivity
and happiness. Play is not a waste of time or an indulgence. It can enrich our lives by providing positive and
healthy stimulation, and the energy and good feeling we get from playing can be applied to other areas of our
So why participate in a Powerful Play Experience? In short … because it’s good for you! You will have the
opportunity to bond with your colleagues in a fun way, and to step back from the stress of work responsibilities. Stepping back doesn’t mean escaping. The process of stepping back enables you to get perspective; it
resets your brain and enables a new way of seeing. This new perspective can lead to finding creative and innovative solutions. Lastly, stepping back and engaging in play enables you to reconnect with yourself and your
colleagues, and with the reason you do the work you do. There’s a profound difference in your personal and
professional life when you have meaning and purpose. Imagine starting your work day with a renewed sense of
purpose, more energy, and feeling closer to your colleagues. That’s not a bad way to start the day.
And lastly, enjoy reading this testimonial from one of the participants in Robert Manolson's Powerful Play
Experiences Workshop. “Initially, I thought that Robert and Powerful Play Experiences was going to be annoying- you know, Robert being so full of energy, over the top, and making you do something you don't want to
do. But what was surprising? You wanted to do what he suggested! Robert was fun, motivating and full of
energy. It was an excellent way to converse with our colleagues that we usually don't speak to. I couldn't
contain myself. I had so much fun with him. Robert did a great job getting everyone up and out of their seats,
engaging and participating, lots of laughter and he understood the theme to the day's message.”
Danielle Forth
Registered Psychologist
Director, ndoto consulting