Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Treasury Department's proposals to require the CEOs of companies receiving TARP funds to sign off on conferences and events to ensure that they are note "excessive or luxury items," carries with them a real risk of overzealous application. Although "reasonable" expenditures for sales conferences, staff development, and performance incentives are not the intended targets of the regulations, it's not hard to imagine situations where a CEO's fear of negative public reaction could squelch any expenditures on meeting and travel that carry even a hint that they might be any fun.

And that would be a very bad thing -- and not just for the meetings industry and the 2.4 million Americans with industry-related jobs. Successful managers and business owners know that providing opportunities for social interaction and recreation is not a frill, but an investment in creativity and renewed energy and commitment.

In "The Serious Need for Play," in the February/March issue of Scientific American Mind, evolutionary biologists argue for more, not less, play. Unstructured playtime is crucial for the support of creativity, emotional wellbeing, and top cognitive functioning, of, not just children, but adults.

We all need to work smart in this economic climate, but it's critical that we play smart, too.