Team Ziksana Playtank

Top 3 Things We Learned at Playtank


Ziksana’s March PlayTank event, “Developing Creative Teams and Cultures,” was another fantastic success! We were honored to host a diverse group of professionals for an evening of exploration, networking, and play. The evening’s design highlighted our SPARK creativity and innovation program, providing participants with a taste of the games and takeaways they would experience in the full day course. If you weren’t able to join us, here are the top three lessons from PlayTank:


1) Yes Means Accept, Not Agree

‘Yes, And’ is a listening tool frequently taken from improvisational theatre and applied in day to day work. The concept encourages people to build off the suggestions of others in a positive and collaborative way. At PlayTank, Ziksana facilitator Akshay Sateesh took the concept further, qualifying that saying “Yes” means accepting the other person’s idea, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with that idea or are ready to move to implementation. Accepting another’s idea, concern, or critique promotes psychological safety, which creates an environment where employees are encouraged to listen (but not necessarily agree).  Implementing ideas is a later step in the innovation process that requires alignment with the business’s strategy and execution capabilities.


2) It Takes All Types To Make A Successful Team

Ziksana’s SPARK program uses the FourSight Thinking Profile, which helps participants discover their individual problem-solving preferences. The assessment identifies the subject as a Clarifier, Ideator, Developer, Implementer, or some combination of traits. Using the assessment in an established team can be particularly helpful in determining where they may thrive or stall in the problem-solving process. Every successful team needs a mix of preference styles to successfully take an idea from conception to an implementation that positively solves a company’s key challenges.  


3) Success requires a balance of Challenge and Support behaviors

Teams that know how to successfully solve problems know how to challenge assumptions and challenge each other in productive ways. They also know how to support their teammates, and how to support the best solutions, no matter where they came from. Teams that are able to practice both challenge and support communication behaviors can sustain psychological safety, a critical foundation for successful teams.


For more about our SPARK creativity & Innovation program click here:


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Appreciative Listening

How well do you listen?


If you’re like most modern-day workers, you’re probably so torn between emails, smart phones, task lists, and deadlines that your human-listening skills aren’t what they should be. Think about the last conversation you had with a coworker. How much of that conversation do you remember? 50%? 20%?


Now put yourself in the speaker’s shoes. If you’re sharing with your boss, and your boss only remembers 20% of what you shared, then why even bother sharing at all?


At Ziksana, we believe that successful leaders move beyond listening to hear and instead build the skill of listening to appreciate. We call this Appreciative Listening. The goal of Appreciative Listening is to make the speaker feel valued, and truly understood without judgment. By combining active listening with positive psychology, our Appreciative Listening framework makes it simple and even fun to listen to those who we agree AND may disagree with.

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Building trust at work through play

Building Trust at Work through Play

“Trust is not a default. It is work and it is intentional. It is structured and it is disciplined.” Rex Miller , Author & Culture Change Expert


“We need to build trust in your team to get more done.” Perhaps you’ve heard your Leader say this at some point.  It’s easy to say, but hard to do. And you’re not alone.


According to  PwC’s Annual Global CEO survey, in 2017, across industries, levels of distrust at work have climbed to 55%. And CEOs aren’t the only ones feeling the tension: one in three employees surveyed don’t trust their manager.

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Wonder Spaces by Team Ziksana for Team Building, Play to fuel productivity

Team Ziksana at Wonder Spaces


Exactly two weeks ago, Team Ziksana bonded at Wonder Spaces, a pop-up art exhibit in San Diego.


Our play goal: to inspire our sense of wonder and awe, and to spend time connecting with each other.


Our productivity goal: to find new ways to connect people and think about work and play differently. To do so, we took time to actively reflect on how we can connect our new learnings to the work that we do.


We are constantly exploring AND integrating what we learn to the work that we do – for YOU!

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office design at Ziksana values collaboration and alone time to balance productivity and play and honor workflow preferences.

Office Design for the Future of Work

Team Ziksana moved! We are actively using our new office design to improve productivity and workflow. We’ve learned that face-to-face interactions and spontaneous conversations are important to productivity.  HBR data suggests that chance encounters and unplanned interactions improve performance. We recognize that office space is a strategic tool for growth because a well-designed workspace serves as a communication tool that can promote exploration, engagement, and energy.


In this short video tour, Team Ziksana’s President, Akshay Sateesh, invites you to take an inside look into our progress and process for office design:

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Culture of Innovation at Intuit

“At Intuit, it’s everyone’s job to innovate.” This comment about Intuit from Glassdoor describes the culture of innovation I experienced a few weeks ago at Intuit in San Diego perfectly. During my visit to Intuit last week for their Customer Experience Meetup, I was amazed at the sense of psychological safety there that fostered a hearty exchange of feedback during nearly every word spoken at this 2.5 hour Design Critique event.

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Your Brain on Creative Arts

To develop leaders, executive teams can implement the creative arts at work to train employees to embody a playful mindset for a more activated company culture. For companies facing an uncertain future or dealing with a tricky, incipient problem, embracing the creative process at work is just what your company needs. The creative arts – defined as theater, dance, art, or music – train employees to embody a playful mindset– to be curious, to ask open-ended questions, and to see the big picture, all which fuel productivity.


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People sitting on stools laughing

April Playtank @ The New Children’s Museum

 We are excited that this coming Thursday, April 13th, from 6:30-8:30pmfor the first time ever, Ziksana’s Playtank, our free monthly professional networking event, will be hosted at The New Children’s Museum. This FREE 90-minute event is for professionals to network and explore leadership topics through the science of play. This month, our theme is Why the Creative Arts Are Critical for Innovation. 

RSVP here

Here are some pictures from our team visit to the New Children’s Museum yesterday morning:

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Is the Open Office Trend Responsible for Lack of Productivity?

Jason is an intrapreneur at a local car dealership in San Diego. He deals with brokers on the phone instead of customers in person most of the time, so his work is quite solitary in nature. He and I share this secluded style of work, where we interact with coworkers frequently but the majority of our most productive work is completed by ourselves.

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