A 2022 PLAYbook to Re-Engage Marketing Teams with Gary Ware
Play • 38 min

Two years into the pandemic, things still feel heavy. To cope, some professionals have turned to self-medication versus meditation (or other healthy habits).

For many of us marketers, our creative candles have flamed out.

Instead of focusing on discussing the theme, "The Great Resignation," what if we made 2022 "The Year of PLAY?"

In Episode 51, we explore the connection of PLAY to performance with my colleague, Gary Ware.

You may think I’m glossing over the severity of the pandemic. I’m not. I recognize and feel the collective global trauma on a daily basis.

Instead, I’m inviting you to sit in the sandbox for a bit, and try on a new perspective.  Let me offer additional context from Dr. Bessel Van Der Kolk. He is the author of the seminal book, The Body Keeps the Score

Van Der Kolk believes that we have become overly dependent on pharmacological solutions to address trauma and mental illness in Western cultures. He calls it the "brain-disease model." 

The model overlooks four fundamental truths:

1) Restoring relationships and community is central to restoring well-being 

2) Language gives us the power to change ourselves and others and find a shared sense of meaning; 

3) We can regulate our physiology…through basic activities such as breathing, moving, and touching; and 

4) We can change social conditions to create environments where we can feel safe and where we can thrive."

PLAY enables all four. That was enough for me to reach out to Gary Ware. In this livestream he outlined the strategies that he uses with marketing and leadership teams to re-ignite creativity, trust, and passion. He is the president of Breakthrough Play in San Diego, CA.

Tune in this episode of The Mindful Marketer now— 

Re-Engage Your Marketing Team: The 2022 Playbook. Watch the replay on LinkedIn.


Some key moments include: 

✔️ The PLAY model helps us create the right environment for learning and experimentation. Ware has taught this framework at AARP, Intel, Salesforce, SAP, and Kaiser Permanente. The PLAYbook consists of these 4 qualities:

#1 - Psychological safety: Create an environment where people aren't afraid of being judged. Allow yourself to say something vulnerable. This gives other permission to do the same.

#2 - Listening: Leaders must always listen to understand.

#3 - Adapt - Adaptability is crucial to play. 

#4 - Y- "The Why" - how can you accept reality and build on it?

✔️ The PLAY model isn’t a trite acronym. It is a proven way to re-ignite job satisfaction, trust, and team confidence, especially in high stakes situations. Most people think of play as "it's childish" or "it's what kids do." In reality, Ware points to proven science of how play helps engage teams.

Listen to the replay on Stitcher. 

✔️PLAY helps you spend much less time repeating your messages–and hoping they stick.  Dr. Karyn Purvis conducted a study on how we learn and retain information. She found that creating a new synapse neural pathway requires about 400-420 repetitions before it sticks. However, you can shortcut that to as few as 10 repetitions if you add play. When you are playing, you are engaging all of your senses.

Listen to the replay on Stitcher. 

You create a sandbox for your employees to play by creating those elements.

Listen to the replay on Stitcher. 

✔️ Being a PLAY-full culture starts with one step: Find the moments or rituals in your organization that could use more playfulness. 

Then, set your intentions using a template from Tiny Habits author,  BJ Fogg:

"Before we start our brainstorming session, I will take 5 minutes and brainstorm ideas by myself, because I know it will pry my brain to be more creative."

May your holidays be PLAY-full! See you next year.

Copyright 2021, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.


Lisa Nirell of EnergizeGrowth™ LLC helps courageous marketers and CEOs accelerate growth and get promoted faster. Download your Mindful Marketer learning bonuses at themindfulmarketer.com/bonus. You will also join the "know ahead" list for our upcoming Life Streams.

Do something NEW in 2022—for your career and your personal growth. If you are feeling isolated, consider applying to the Marketing Growth Leaders. It's a collection of some of the country's top marketing leaders that have taken us ten years to cultivate. Learn more here.

Gary Ware is the Founder of Breakthrough Play, a corporate facilitator, keynote speaker, certified coach, and self-proclaimed Creative Catalyst. Gary uses the power of applied improvisation and other playful methods to assist people in unlocking creativity, confidence, and better communication.

Copyright 2021, Lisa Nirell. All rights reserved.

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