An open letter from Glenn Stearns, CEO of Kind Lending
Laughing your ass off is good for your bottom line.
See what I did there?
I thought up that one on a toilet break. I’m pretty proud of it. My copywriter says he likes it too, but honestly, I think he’s just being a brown-noser. I don’t have a copywriter of course, I just wanted to work another poop-pun into an already potty-humor-heavy paragraph.
Don’t worry. There’s a reason I just went full dad humor on you.
My kids would hate it, but when you hear the method behind the madness, you’ll be queuing up at your local improv workshop in the time it takes me to say ‘PROFIT!’
That’s right — I’ve done the research, and the facts have come back clearer than ever — a good sense of humor is the key to a killer work culture.
Let me hit you with my tight-five reasons why…
1) We Love A Leader Who Can Laugh
Ever heard of the Bell Leadership Institute?
I have. Basically, they’re an organization that’s spent the last 50 years compiling nationally recognized, top of the line research into what makes a great leader, well, great.
They’ve studied CEOs at the head of their industries and senior leaders at every level — all the way down the corporate hierarchy — and after all of their invaluable insights and revelations, they found just TWO traits that are universally recognized by the workers of America as the most desirable traits in a leader.
Are you ready? I already know, and I’m shaking with anticipation.
The two traits are:
1. A strong work ethic
2. A good sense of humor
WHAT?! I mean — number 1 I totally get. We need to see a can-do attitude in our leaders. We need to know that they can get shit done when the crap hits the fan. But number 2? WHAT?!
Of course, when you think about it, it makes sense. It’s one of the traits we most appreciate in the people closest to us, and in many instances we spend as much time around our co-workers as we do our family and friends.
But there’s much more to it than that. Read on, friends!
2) Busting A Gut Is Good For Your Health
You read that right.
In a series of 49 peer-reviewed studies on ‘positive humor’ in the workplace, the NUMBER ONE finding was that a good sense of humor literally boosted your immune system.
I’m not kidding.
These studies found that employees who knew how to take a joke — then shoot one back in a good-humored retort — generally had better physical and mental health than their poor-humored contemporaries. They were better able to buffer the inherent stresses of the workplace, and were measurably more efficient at their jobs.
But if you don’t like peer-reviewed studies — that’s okay! I’ve got some hard science here that might just tickle your funny bone.
Laughter actually ENHANCES your antibodies (the little proteins in your blood that help you fight infections), leading you to have — you guessed it — a stronger immune system.
If that isn’t cause for a good cackle, I don’t know what is.
3) Funny Equals Money
We’re reaching across the aisle to our pals in marketing for this one.
A survey on the power of advertising found that ads with a built-in punchline had 25% more impact across the board. That means that humor literally makes people want to buy things.
I want you to consider this statistic for a second, because it’s got a much greater implication than you might think. Sure, ads that pack a comic punch are more likely to sell a microwave-proof set of cutlery to your uncle who watches a little too much daytime cable, but there’s more to be sold with a laugh and a smile.
Think about the real-estate broker finding a hundred homes for a hundred happy families.
Think about the up and coming entrepreneur closing their first multi-million-dollar deal. Think about the selling-power humor can have for YOUR business.
4) Comedians Climb The Corporate Ladder
It’s not just good alliteration. It’s also true.
A Robert Half International Survey conducted an in-depth investigation on a range of top-dog leaders from across the globe. One area of investigation aimed to reveal what executives generally believed to be the most important traits for career advancement.
This study turned up the regular subjects. Coming in early. Staying late. Being informed. Taking the initiative. But can you guess which trait was reported by 91% of executives to be CRITICAL to the young and hopefuls looking to climb the corporate ladder?
You guessed it. A good sense of humor.
To top it off, 84% of the surveyed execs noted that they believed people with a good sense of humor simply do a better job than those that don’t.
If this doesn’t have you frantically googling ‘top 50 jokes for the workplace that won’t get me reported to HR’ then I don’t know what will.
5) Comedy Is King
I’m about to say something crazy. Don’t laugh. I’m being serious.
A workplace that promotes humor is literally more valuable than ACTUAL MONEY.
Go ahead. Laugh. I knew you would anyway (despite me asking you not to). But I’d like you to know that you’re currently cackling at a hard, scientifically proven, FACT.
A couple of years ago, an industry-wide survey of over 2,500 people did a deep-dive with a wide range of workers at every level of management. This study revealed that if given the choice, 55% of workers would take LESS MONEY in order to have MORE FUN at work.
I can’t make this stuff up.
You may think that 55% splits it pretty even, but when I look at that number I’m frankly more surprised that it isn’t closer to 5%.
In today’s culture, we’re told to chase the mighty dollar like it’s the only thing in the world. As someone who’s done that for a good couple of decades (and been pretty damn successful at it) I can tell you right now that money isn’t the be-all-end-all answer we make it up to be. Sure, it helps, but these days there’s a currency that I value much, much more.
And what’s the time-tested, much-revered, shortcut to happiness?
You’re already two steps ahead of me.
So a priest, a rabbi and a minister walk into a bar…