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JOE SAILS - A Business Behavioral Novel JOE SAILS
A Business
Behavioral Novel

Joe Sails is a story
about improving customer service by elevating employees' core
Media Coverage

Laugh even in your sleep

By Dick Olenych, Inside Business - Hampton Roads - 3/14/2008

A few weeks back I woke myself up one night because I was laughing too loudly. It was great.

It really is a lot of fun when that happens. To come out a deep sleep with tears in your eyes from laughter is almost euphoric. I have only met one other person that this has happened to. I hope this doesn’t make me too odd.

When you lay your head on the pillow you just never expect it to happen. The timing is very unpredictable.

For instance, about a year and a half ago it happened to me in the mist of a lot of… “opportunities”. It was a very difficult time with my business and I’m laughing myself awake one night. At that time, I didn’t find it very funny. Because as soon as I was alert, I immediately began dwelling on my company’s next course of action. I was up for the rest of the night.

You know the opportunity to laugh at work doesn’t happen too often, either. That is unless you make those opportunities.

I make them all the time because the business that I am in is so stressful that my staff and I need release values.

As a leader, my job is not to add more stress to the organization, but rather to know when and how to relieve it. My team certainly knows when I’m goofing, serious and everything in between.

They have an instilled sense of responsibility. They own the processes, they own the service and they also own the product. They know their names are invisibly written on everything they touch.

You see a leader, I set the tone and the rhythm for my company, everyone else does everything else.

I use humor all of the time to break the ice. I use a lot of self-deprecating humor to get those around me to loosen up. If anyone would like to qualify this just call and ask if I can dance. I’m so bad that I’m not even qualified to watch “Dancing with the Stars.”

There is everything that is right with laughing at work. But balance in everything.

I’ve read that rivers in our out west are strangling themselves with silt because of the damns. Today, there are only controlled water releases to regulate floods and generate energy. Seasonal floods on many rivers are no longer a danger.

These rivers are suffocating in the silt. By trying to control the natural ebb and flow we are damaging that which we are trying to protect. Occasionally, a torrent of water is now viewed as good. The river needs this explosion of raw natural energy to survive.

Interesting, don’t you think?

I believe that the people in our organizations need a natural release like humor to survive the day to day stress that is incumbent in most work environments. Our job is to cultivate that environment to encourage not just professional growth, but personal growth.

Don’t laugh. It works. A positive and balanced environment is a productive workplace.

Set the boundaries for hard work and encourage laughter on the job. And get some sleep.

Dick Olenych is the author of Joe Sails, and an owner of Spectrum Printing. He can be reached at dick@joesails.info.

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