How This Colorado Leader Brings His Outside Passions to the Workplace
Creativity isn’t just valuable in creative professions — it’s what helps any employee approach challenges from unexpected angles, adapt to change and come up with innovative ideas. So why do many people feel they have to keep their creative pursuits separate from their work life?
Whether you moonlight as a DJ after your day job as a marketer, make textile art in your downtime from coding or tend to a backyard vegetable garden in between sales calls, having an outside passion likely makes you better at your job. Studies have shown that engaging in creative activities is associated with superior job performance, lower stress levels and improved self-confidence. Far from pulling employees’ attention away from their responsibilities, nonwork interests can often help people stay focused and energized when they’re on the clock.
This understanding is central to the close-knit culture at MakeMusic, part of Peaksware’s portfolio of brands. The company develops software for music notation, education, composition and performance, so it welcomes and celebrates musical talent at the office.
Employees don’t have to be piano virtuosos or expert bassists to get leadership’s support, though, Jason Wick, MakeMusic’s director of product development, told Built In Colorado.
What’s most important is that the team feels comfortable being themselves and sharing their interests with one another, no matter what they are.
Below, Wick shares how the company champions its employees’ creative outlets.
Peaksware is a software company that provides training and practice solutions for musicians and athletes.
How does Peaksware encourage team members to bring or engage with their passions at work?
As the director of product development for MakeMusic, one thing I love about our work environment is how integrated musical activities are. We’re a music software and publishing company, so many of our employees naturally have musical backgrounds. We have a small music practice studio space and a quarterly open-mic event where anyone can perform, and it’s beautiful to see how people can tap into these passions at work.
Tell us about a time when you’ve engaged with or shared a passion of yours in the workplace. What was special or unique about this experience for you?
One of my passions is studying leadership. I love reading books and talking to people about it, and I even have a podcast called Leadership Voyage. I’m honestly fortunate to be able to share this passion on a weekly basis. As a director in our organization and a manager of 11 people, I always leverage my continued learning from this hobby. I love that my senior leadership looks at this activity as an enhancement that makes me better in my career and at work rather than something that competes against my job.
How does creating space for team members to share and engage with their passions help build culture and team camaraderie?
Ultimately, I think encouraging team members to share their passions is foundational because we bring our whole selves to work. There’s been a lot of talk in recent years about what we should or shouldn’t talk about at work — or on LinkedIn, for that matter — and the fact we all should embrace is that you are your entire self at home, at work and wherever you are.
There's been a lot of talk in recent years about what we should or shouldn't talk about at work and the fact we all should embrace is that you are your entire self at home, at work and wherever you are.”
We want people to be who they truly are, and the more authentically they present themselves, the more vulnerable they can be with their teammates. This base-level understanding of each other is the foundation upon which we can build a strong culture.