The Power of Play: Uniting Nations, Transforming Workplaces 

Once upon a time, two groups of people who despised each other were shooting and killing each other across a battlefield.   

And the next day they decided to put down their guns and play a game of soccer. 

Sounds like a fairy tale, but this is in fact a true story about the Power of PLAY… 

Christmas Day 1914, German and British soldiers who had literally been killing each other hours earlier put down their guns. They crossed enemy lines. Then they sang songs, exchanged gifts of cigarettes and food, and played a fun game of soccer across the battlefield.  

This spontaneous event is known as the “Christmas Truce.” The Power of PLAY was so strong it literally stopped the war so two groups could engage in some lighthearted fun and celebrate a shared holiday. 

A few centuries earlier, in ancient Greece during the Persian and Peloponnesian wars, armies were mandated to suspend their fighting. Why? To ensure the safety of the athletes playing in the Olympic games. 

Known as the “Olympic Truce,” legal disputes were put on hold and capital punishment temporarily stopped so that PLAY could continue without interruption. 

The 1995 Rugby World Cup champions hosting the trophy in victory. Springbok Rugby Squad united South Africa through the Power of PLAY.
The 1995 Rugby World Cup champions, South Africa’s Springbok Rugby Squad.

A more recent example: The 1995 Rugby World Cup that Nelson Mandela famously used to unite a divided South Africa after the end of Apartheid. Play (in this case rugby) was a catalyst for healing wounds, promoting national pride, and creating a sense of shared identity.  

Throughout history, the Power of PLAY stopped wars, disarmed combatants, and united a divided nation. 

If play can stop wars, imagine the positive impact it can have on your business!  

Supercharge Team Dynamics

Intentionally integrating playful experiences into our work lives benefits (and unites) all our employees. By embracing PLAY and making it part of your workplace culture, you will start to: 

  • Create a level playing field where everyone can participate and contribute regardless of position, title, or hierarchy. 
  • Break down organizational silos, foster friendships and create inclusivity by bringing people together with shared fun experiences. 
  • Unlock innovation and inspire breakthrough solutions through a culture of creativity and collaboration.  
  • Alleviate stress and contribute to greater job satisfaction and overall employee well-being. 

The Power of PLAY in your Business

From halting wars to transforming workplaces, play transcends boundaries, barriers, and differences.  

When your team is united and working together cohesively, your organization becomes more dynamic, innovative, resilient and goal focused – a powerful game plan to win as a team. 

If you are looking for ways to easily implement PLAY into your business regardless of industry, position, or budget, check out my book, It Pays to Play – How Play Improves Business Culture, it’s a rich resource filled with case studies and tactics that will help you improve engagement, retention, and workplace culture, and have fun doing so!  

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