Monday, May 18, 2009


On page 187 of A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink quotes David Collinson, a British management scholar. "In 1940 John Gallo was sacked because he was 'caught in the act of smiling,' after having committed an earlier breach of 'laughting with the other fellows,' and 'slowing down the line maybe half a minute.' This tight managerial discipline reflected the overall philosophy of Henry Ford, who stated that 'When we are at work we ought to be at work. When we are at play we ought to be at play. There is no use trying to mix the two.'”

I fear Henry Ford would have a hard time in our world today. Read this article from the Boston Globe. What would Henry Ford think? What are your feelings about play at work?


  1. Clearly Henry Ford would have been shocked by this one! It is so true that the majority of employers still feel that any "down time" (besides your short break) is detrimental to productivity. The removal of all microsoft word "games" from many computers in offices shows this belief. However, there is something to be said for an increase in productivity as well as creativity when the human mind and body is able to break away from the mundane and get refreshed ---whether it be a brisk walk, a video game or a game of ping-pong. So many of us when working on anything in our home environment engage in this very thing ---work, work, and then a little bit of relaxation or fun (i.e a little tv or a brief video or computer game) before continuing to work more. Why not use this same philosophy in the work place ----it makes for a happier worker as well!

  2. My feelings about play at work connect with brain research that is confirming both that learning is social and that for long-term memory retention, our emotions must be involved in our learning. Perhaps we should smile more!