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The only word that can describe the man who put life into this crazy, green Philadelphia’s one and only Phanatic. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with David Raymond, the original Phillie Phanatic, and ask him about his story. I learned SO much about how fun can impact any work or life situation, how it can change perspective, and how it can add value to the workplace.
I would like to now share with you a few of those lessons…
1) So Dave, what is your connection with The Fun Dept.?
David: Like a lot of things in life, my beginning with The Fun Dept. was the perfect storm of unexpected creation. My good friend, Nick, approached me and asked how I could help develop this new business model. The idea of teaching leaders how to develop a culture of “fun at work” was thrilling. A few hours later with a few handshakes, The Fun Dept. was born! A few original owners galvanized by the Power of Fun!
2) Wow…right out of the gate! Excellent. How did this concept of the “Power of Fun” come about?
David: I was blessed to have the opportunity to be the first to inhabit the Phillie Phanatic in April of 1978. My boss told me my prime directive was to make sure I had fun.
He said “if you aren’t having fun, the Phanatic won’t be funny, and if the Phanatic isn’t funny, then our fans will not accept him.” That direction was so simple, it removed all of my concerns. In fact, that direction is what led to the Phanatic’s great success over the last 40 years!
It wasn’t until I suffered the loss of my mom to cancer and the dissolution of my marriage just a few weeks later to experience, first hand, the power of distracting fun. From that point on, I started to recognize the Phanatic was delivering fun everywhere he went. I started to pay attention to how that impacted people and that is the reason why I developed my theory of the Power of Fun…or I should say the Phanatic taught me the theory! I have been preaching powerful fun ever since.
3) Can you share a story of how your message impacted an individual/ organization?
David: My favorite story about how the Power of Fun impacting a very large company is about The Fun Dept.’s very first client, AstraZeneca, with a very forward thinking HR department looking to implement a culture of fun.
Our first event was a relay race for all of HR which totaled about 100 employees. We used signs that day to direct them all to a large open conference space that announced “This Way to the FUN!” Our only goal was to engage the entire group with distracting fun.
I quickly learned that 1) People have been traumatized by “team building” & 2) if you set the tone and allow people to participate in the level they are comfortable with, it makes all the difference in the world!
In the end, the teams tied, and THEY chose the tiebreaker would be a “dance off!” It was at that moment I knew we were on to something. Employees value fun more than even we did. Their leadership allowed them the time and space for it which made all the difference to their employees.
4) Can you tell us, personally, what’s fun for you?
David: This is an easy question to answer. Fun for me is about anything that can distract me from everyday life. It could be meditation, a long walk or closing the door and putting on my favorite music and dancing like no one is watching. All you have to do is chose fun as part of your plan to be happier and healthier…at home or at work!
Thanks, David! We value your expertise and your friendship!
If you would like to learn more about booking David as a keynote speaker at your next meeting or conference, please head to our Speaking Engagements to let us know!