The Happiness Advantage and The Orange Frog – Dick Ruhe at ATD2015
Following on the accidental theme of happiness in Orlando today, I wonder if The Universe is trying to tell me something.. Time to get happy? As a fan of Tal Ben-Shahar’s “Happier” and the unpronounceable Hungarian-American’s “Flow” I am intrigued to see what session SU31XD has to offer.
Dick Ruhe has taken the stage to tell us what the latest research on positive psychology can do for the workplace. (Tip number one: If anyone is looking unhappy, just slap ’em!)
Ruhe starts by noting that most organisations seems to have the happiness formula backwards. We tend to think: Work hard -> Get success -> Get happy. But actually, it’s the happiness we need first. When we can find ways to get happy, we will work better and get better results. And when we keep this in mind people produce better business results. According to Ruhe, there are 7 principles we need to bear in mind if we want intrinsic motivation and increased engagement…
The happiness advantage
Organisations need to know this: Happy people get better results and attrition goes down. Ruhe cites how the brain creates endorphins and people feel better. But he adds that studies of successful organisations show that happy people are more satisfied and tend to stick around.
Do you believe this?
The fulcrum and the lever
The lens through which we see the world (the fulcrum) doesn’t shape us. It’s the way we see things that shape us. Two people can see the same situation completely differently. And if we can do something with that (the lever) we can influence our happiness and our results. Ruhe says that will require effort from leaders. We need to look for and embed positive (happy) experiences and work towards getting more of that.
Are you doing this?
The Tetris Effect
These are the patterns we have for doing things in the organisations. After time, those patterns become habits and traditions and we continue to get more of the same things, over and over again. We need to see how the pieces are falling and what we can do about it to line things up better for happiness.
Are you doing this?
When people fail, falling-up is about how they focus and take action to move in a new direction to bounce back. The “on the other hand…” vibe. Ruhe mentioned a study where people were told to imagine they had walked into a bank which was being robbed and got shot in the arm. They were asked: We’re you lucky or unlucky? 70% said “unlucky”.
What would you say?
The brain perceives big movements and big changes as overwhelming, which limits forward progress. But if we can start off small and see results, the brain can record the “win” and maintain the belief that their efforts can have an impact.
Are you helping your people see their results?
The 20 second rule
This is all about doing something that easily will move us forward. The next concrete (easy) action. For example, if you are thinking “I need to run more”, you might start making a big plan with a SMART objective and some challenges in there. But when it comes to actually running, if it’s easier to turn on the television than go running, no change is going to happen. We need to make it possible in 20 seconds to take some easy action towards are goal. Whatever it is.
How can you move forward now?
Connecting with the people around us makes everyone more happy. Ruhe suggests that we take more time to do this, everyday.
Reading back my notes, some of the points seem so obvious, I wonder what I get from it. But if I’m honest, I know I can do better.
Thanks for reading