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Humour and positive psychology shift negativity

Humour and positive psychology when applied can shift negativity!!

Pat Armitstead ¦founder and convenor of 3rd Annual Humour in business Awards

Media statemenAugust 11, 2008
What do you get when you bring together pirates, blind taxi drivers, gorillas and rabbits and send amazing mail and contribute to society?
You get the 2008 Humour in Business Awards and you get fun and productivity!!
Winners of the third annual New Zealand Humour in Business Awards are announced tonight at a typically hilarious evening ceremony, in Auckland.
The winners are:
1. Overall winner - from Queenstown, sponsored by Quest Auckland ApartmentHotel

Canyon Swing

2. Sole proprietor -Sponsored by Foresight Institute

Ali Mooney, North Shore, Auckland
Allison Mooney a passionate, and humorous speaker, having won many prestigious speaking awards will engage and challenge any audience to
'speed read' others to find out what they really want
talk to others in a way that makes them want to listen
relate better by seeing things through their eyes.

3. Business with up to 19 staff -sponsored by Ignite Systems
Winner - Signature Group Auckland

Marty Searle and Jo Hulsdouw have developed Signature Group Limited into a unique business that combines brand image, design and manufacture in all aspects of the signage, merchandising and printing industry. Humour in business is part of our company's everyday chemistry, with the pressure we all work under the fun stuff keeps down the stress and keeps smiles on faces. With our imagination coupled with our youthful craziness, we developed a charity event called `The Pirates'. Signature Group, like many businesses, budget a set amount of their profits towards supporting the community.Focussing a set amount of funds to the Pirates Charity and being pro active with those funds, has a very rewarding outlook. The Pirates are a fun loving bunch in crazy looking sponsored vehicles who give up their weekends to shake the buckets to raise cash for a needy children's cause. The direct benefit to the company has created more fun and charity from the staff and developed closer bonds between our clients and their staff.

Runner up - Sun Media Tauranga
Brian Rogers is the outlandish owner and editor of the largest circulating newspaper in the Bay of Plenty. Bright and zany, The Weekend Sun has turned the publishing industry on its head with its colourful and sometimes brash approach.
Brian writes every week in his column, Rogers Rabbits, an outrageous piss-take on anything and anyone, from national and local politicians and issues of the day; with political correctness a regular target.
Rogers Rabbits is the highlight of the week for thousands of readers, many who have admit to bouts of domestic violence in the household, arguing over who gets to read it first.
Rogers uses humour and satire not just to entertain, but to tackle issues and provoke healthy public involvement in many issues.
As a bonus, the huge success of the column hasn't done Sun Media's publishing business any harm, either!

Highly commended - Dare a Gorilla Wellington, and Qudos Auckland
2 Guys, 1 Gorilla, 5 Big Hairy Audacious Goals
Join the Journey - Simon Wolyncewicz and Chris Dodds are passionate about young people reaching their true potential. They want to see them have dreams, vision and a belief they can actually make them a reality. Rather than bore young people with more talk, they have created an outrageous gorilla character who is walking the talk and achieving 5 big hairy audacious goals of his own - including a date with Samantha Powell - Miss Universe New Zealand. The journey is being shared through social networking sites like Bebo and will eventually lead to a website where young people submit their own goals and receive help from the gorilla and other mentors.

4. Business with 20 or more staff -sponsored by Geewiz
Winner Canyon Swing
Matt Hollyer said :- We started life as a figment of Hamish and Chris's dream/nightmare as "Not Your Average Backyard Variety Swing Limited" - try putting that in the tax forms Any who, having the privilege of throwing adventure seeking tourists from atop a 109 metre high cliff past rockfaces and wandering goats has been thrilling for both them and ourselves since 2002. Whether these visitors remember us for containing traces of nuts, tragic icon status for The Hoff, gimped mascots, 100volt cattle prods, Harry's jokes or just having a smile on our face is all part of the "service" at Shotover Canyon Swing, where gravity is a toy, come out and play!

Runner up Dunedin City Council

Dunedin City Council's Customer Services Agency, lead most ably by William Robertson, has used humour and fun to create a lively place where people want to come to work. By injecting some much needed humour into the workplace, the Leadership Team improved the morale in the Customer Services Agency, staff job satisfaction and the Agency's operational performance. Key to this success was the appointment of Alissa Perkins as the entertainments officer, who alongside her role as a Customer Services Officer, co-ordinates our fun activities. This year, she produced a year book, which is a useful reminder of all the fun and enjoyment from throughout the year.

The awards celebrate the contribution of humour to wellbeing and productivity, says founder Pat Armitstead, Joyologist of Tindalls Bay, Whangaparoa, Auckland
Mike Hutcheson is MC for the evening, which is being opened by the Hon Lianne Dalziel, Minister of Commerce.

Prizes to the value of $1000 are given for each category, with sponsors being Geewiz, Quest Auckland Aprtment Hotels, Foresight Institute, and Ignite Systems, CM Digital, Image Centre, Albany Design and Grant Cole. The evening typically closes with comedic entertainment, this time provided by NZ's own Maverick Bill Potter!!

Mike Hutcheson, one of the judges had this to say about the entries" The winners and finalists really selected themselves. Not only did they demonstrate that they had fun at work, but that spreading and sharing humour with their customers was part of a business strategy. Their entry submissions clearly reflected that."

The winners of the 2007 Humour Awards were Canyon Swing in Queenstown!!
Overall winners again their entry reflects the degree to which they focus on fun and safety!!
Laughingly referred to as "not your average backyard swing", the reason their entry won was it demonstrated their genius in successfully combining humour and safety. With an incident/injury free track record they have used their humour to market and provide the customer with a unique and memorable experience.
They use humour to calm, entertain and distract. Their philosophy is "VIBE": V for vitality, I for innovation, B for being safe and E for experience. Customers are raving about the farting gnomes, seemingly blind van driver and funny telephone prompts.

The 2006 Lets Go New Zealand tourist guidebook said " AJ Hackett may have written the book on bunjy jumping but he won't play you Barry White, attach a doll to your harness, and strap you upside down 109 m over Shotover Canyon…"
Matt Hollyer, Canyon Swing general manager says, "Delivering this high standard of experience is only possible from a 100% safety record, and from the well being of staff."

Businesses of all types and sizes are encouraged to enter the awards, describing how they have fun at work; how they either planned or inadvertently affected business relationships, outcomes or productivity as a result of a humourous event or strategy.

One of the funniest men known to humankind, British-born John Cleese, endorsed the awards when they were launched, which coincided with his comedy tour of New Zealand in 2006. He told Ms Armitstead: "I used humour for many years in the video arts management and sales training films. However, there's a right and a wrong way to use humour. It must grow out of the point that you want to make, and not be tacked on to it. "."

Pat Armitstead, operates her own speaking and training business, Joyology - Department of Humour Resources . She says the awards are designed to celebrate the notion of fun at work and contribute towards the general well being of individuals, teams and the nation. They raise awareness of the ways humour and fun contribute to workplace enjoyment and personal and team productivity.
"It is not necessarily about the most sophisticated application of humour or the best use of jokes, though these are all part of what it means to be good humoured. Being good humoured is about being appropriately responsive. High trust environments foster this space. "

Ms Armitstead has toured Russia with another humourist, Dr Patch Adams, bringing joy to some of Russia"s orphans. She's been selected to join his annual trip again this year, in November.

The judges of the 2008 Humour in Business Awards were Mike Hutcheson, business columnist and director of Lighthouse Ideas and former managing director of Saatchi and Saatchi advertising agency; Tony Falkenstein, chief executive of Red Eagle; and Dr Barbara Plester, lecturer at the University of Auckland whose Masters thesis was on humour in the workplace. All are based in Auckland.

Judges details
Dr Barbara Plester Auckland has completed her undergraduate and Masters degrees in Management as well as completing her PhD also in Management.
Her research interests include workplace humour, organisational culture, IT, group and team processes and communication. Her PhD research explores the influence of organisational culture on workplace humour in a variety of New Zealand companies.

Tony Falkenstein has been a CEO of companies for over 25 years, including subsidiaries of multi nationals, two NZX-listed companies, and for the past sixteen years, his own family company, Red Eagle Corporation Limited. His business philosophy is uncomplicated: "Keep it simple, enjoy what you are doing, and make a profit".


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