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College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences


Embrace Deep Fun

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Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

“For years now, groups have sought to forge culture by filling offices with ping-pong tables, beanbag chairs, and happy hours. Despite this, engagement levels in these places barely budge. But there’s a better way, and it’s built on a simple distinction: Fun comes in two varieties, shallow and deep.

Shallow fun is the sugary, amusement-park enjoyment of doing pleasurable things together: games, laughter, and music. It affects groups like an adrenaline shot: It adds energy, then quickly wears off.

Deep fun, on the other hand, happens when people share ownership over the experience of group life. That is, they have power, make decisions, and hold responsibility. 

Deep fun happens when you design your own workspaces, when you get involved in rethinking your group’s onboarding process. It happens when your project team organizes its own off-site retreat, and when team members are given the freedom (and the funds) to give colleagues $25 gift certificates in appreciation for a job well done. And deep fun pays off: One study found that organizations that commit to deep-fun methods achieve more than four times the average profit and more than two times the average revenue of companies that focus merely on shallow engagement (p. 66-67).”

From: Coyle, D. (2022). The culture playbook: 60 highly effective actions to help your group succeed. (e-book) New York: Bantam Books.

Questions for reflection:

  • Have you seen shallow fun in your career?
  • How have you seen deep fun represented in your career?
  • Why is deep fun important for building teams?
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Wed, 08/30/2023 - 3:08pm --

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