While 2024 will present many of the usual business challenges and, I’m sure, some novel ones, I believe there is much to be excited about and new opportunities for growth and success.
In my last installment I shared interesting viewpoints on how incorporating happiness in our careers and workplaces has a major positive impact on employee attraction, retention, and performance. I also shared what I learned about how the brain can be rewired through repetitive reinforcement to achieve a positive mindset.
As we head into a new year, I want to share what we’ve learned from implementing changes in our own workplace to increase happiness, and ultimately, results.
We started the process with a focus on helping leadership understand and embrace the psychology and goals of promoting the power of happiness in our workplace. They needed to know that the science supported what we were about to embark upon. After all, it would be a major challenge to have our leadership adopt the behavior of being always positive and continually sharing that positivity and enthusiasm with their teams if they themselves had negative views of what we were trying to achieve. Of course, it all had to start with senior-most leaders.
I can share that it was a clear challenge amidst all the negativity, division and bad news that seems to be pervasive in our society. However, by forcing myself to stop and find the good in each situation and finding what author and happiness expert Shawn Achor calls the Third Path. By always looking for the Third Path, our leadership team was able to avoid either/or, this or that, or worse, or else situations that paralyze employees and submarine true collaboration.
I am pleased to see as our leaders evolve, there is far more positivity in our workplace, more collaboration, and increased empathy for each other which has led to far greater desire to help one another—all of which has had a clear impact on the happiness factor in our workplace.
Since implementing (changing our attitudes may be a better way of saying it) our initiative, we have seen a marked improvement in turnover, better candidates being attracted to our company, and, while a bit early to attribute increased sales results to increased happiness, we are experiencing healthy growth above our norm. Certainly, in our minds, happier employees tend to make our clients happier. Data analysis throughout 2024 will provide a clearer picture and I look forward to sharing our findings.
Here is what our roadmap for changing attitudes and creating an environment of trust and happiness looks like:
- Pause: find the good in every situation and individual;
- Use clear, direct, open, honest communication and active listening;
- Invite participation (proactive inquiry) encourage feedback;
- Value input and adopt suggestions;
- Encourage risk-taking and making mistakes as positive learning experiences (what Achor calls Falling Forward);
- Engage only in productive disagreement;
- Nurture a learning, growth, mentoring/coaching environment.
While this might seem a forbidding list of actions, it turns out the psychological science is correct: when you begin with one behavior—seeing the positives everywhere around us—we naturally progress to the next step in the process.
I have a strong belief in creating happiness in the workplace and I’m driven to achieve a happiness culture. The opportunities and rewards are simply too great. The potential of people working together in harmony is very powerful. Together we are able to achieve amazing things. We are well on our way. And for that I am happy!
As always, I am most interested in learning about what others are doing to reduce risk and solve business challenges. I would love to hear your thoughts.