Below is my book summary for The Levity Effect by Adrian Gostick and Scott Christopher.
While it’s written with more traditional companies in mind, leading with levity’s made me millions on the internet.
So whether you have a humongous office with hundreds of employees, or it’s just you and a laptop, this is powerful stuff. Got it? Good. Here are my notes.
1) When good times are sprinkled into the work day, people (employees, independent contractors, affiliates, partners, etc.) want to be a part of, fully commit to, and give more energy to your company.
2) When they bust a gut, they’ll bust their butt. Those who laugh and enjoy themselves are more productive, inspiring, engaging, and trustworthy.
3) Therefore, when CEOs, leaders, and managers learn to use levity, their teams get more done, come up with better ideas, communicate better, stay with the company longer, and help generate more profit.
4) Great companies have more fun. Ever heard of Google? Like the author who claimed happiness was a prerequisite for success (and not a result of success), Gostick and Christopher think fun fuels business growth, and not the other way around.
5) They say “laughter is the best medicine” and they’re right. A good belly laugh has measurable benefits on the heart, blood sugar, immune system, stress hormones, and more. Even the anticipation of a humorous event sets off a series of positive biological effects that can result in more meaningful work.
6) Leveraging levity means lightening up. It’s a willingness to laugh and find the humor even in serious situations.
7) When they laugh, they listen. Top presenters know a little laughter can go a long way. Messages are more memorable with well-timed humor. The audience has more energy. They lower their guard. Emotional bonds are built.
8) Where there’s comedy, there’s creativity. Incorporating fun and humor helps people relax and feel safe and secure in the work environment. When this happens, they perform better, think better, and are comfortable enough to share their most creative ideas without fearing embarrassment.
9) It’s impossible to have too much fun at work. Happy teams are healthy teams. Science says humor increases trust and respect, while reducing stress.
10) Use levity outside of the office as well. It’ll strengthen your relationships with loved ones; it boosts mental health; gets rid of bad feelings; provides passion; and makes you feel great. Always look for the bright side and try to be more carefree.
11) Laugh all the way to the bank. Companies that create the levity effect experience higher efficiency, engagement, retention, and profit. And happy-go-lucky individuals get more raises, make more money, and tend to over-deliver. For example, at Nike, employees can keep a cooler at their desk and enjoy an ice-cold beer at the end of the day. No wonder they choose to stay and work longer than they have to.
12) Some examples of levity in the workplace:
- Shave your head.
- Have a tailgate party.
- Play bingo.
- Take the team to a bar.
- Have a “bring your kids/pets to work” day.
- Trivia night.
- Potluck lunch.
- Dress up for holidays.
- Create an epic April Fool’s Day joke.
- Have meetings outside.
- Song of the day.
- Buy books for your team.
- Make a bulletin board for humor.
- Sports leagues/contests.
- Annual golf outing.
- Decorate desks.
- Birthdays off with pay.
- Make funny ads.
- Chant something silly before meetings.
- Employee appreciation day.
13) Have faith and use common sense to handle your automatic objections to levity. Have you ever had a job where you had too much fun? (Didn’t think so.) This isn’t about being childish and not taking work serious; it’s about being in a great mood so you can give business your best.
14) Challenge yourself to treat everyone with levity. And do it consistently. Remember, happiness is viral. So work on your sense of humor. Everyone can be funnier. Even you.
15) But how? Become an observer: study funny films, friends, comedians, jokes, stories. What makes ’em funny? Take notes. Practice. Use good judgement, of course. Moderation is key. Sarcasm and mockery usually achieve the opposite of what we’re going for: distrust, anger, and tension.
16) You don’t have to be hilarious. A lightness of manner is the goal. Not everyone has the same brand of humor, but laughter is universally contagious. Focus on being fun, not funny, and you’ll reap the benefits of levity without becoming a try-hard.
Hope this review was helpful. Here’s a similar article I wrote on profiting from personality… you might like.