Powerful Leadership: It's All About Culture

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In the recent November 2017 copy of National Geographic Magazine, there was an article on the world’s happiest places, by Dan Buettner, the author of The Blue Zones, Lessons for Living Longer from the People Who’ve Lived the Longest.  According to Buettner, the three happiest places on earth are Denmark, Costa Rica, and Singapore.  The things they have in common are that their “people feel secure, have a sense of purpose, and enjoy lives that minimize stress and maximize joy”.   The research was categorized by the three strands of happiness which prioritize each life factor by pleasure, purpose, and pride.  What if we applied these same concepts to create a “Blue Zone of Happiness” at work?  Could the world’s happiest business places be the place where personal joy, business purpose, and success intersect?  In order to create this intersection, leaders need to pay attention to four key areas:

1. Purpose

People are inspired by the noble cause and want to make a difference in the world.  When employees feel like they are serving something bigger than themselves, this gives them purpose, passion, and pride.

  • Why does the organization exist?

  • What purpose does it serve in the world?

  • What values are most important?

2.   Security

People feel secure when they know where the company is going, there is a long-term vision of what success looks like and a clear strategy to get there.  Employees want to have clarity on how they fit into this big picture.  Their contributions are valued; it’s clear that what they do contributes to the success of the organization. 

  • What is the long-term vision of success?

  • What are the roles and goals necessary to execute on the long-term strategy?

  • Are team members’ contributions acknowledged in meaningful ways?

3. Minimize Stress

All stress is not created equal.  There is stress in the tension created around deadlines, wanting to do a great job, pushing to a strong close at quarter/year end, serving a client in their time of need—all things that likely contribute to a good outcome.  Stress isn’t completely eliminated, instead it is at a level that creates a sense of urgency, action and momentum.

  • Is there clarity on productive and unproductive stress? Where does each exist in the organization?

  • Is stress in the right places and in the right amount?

  • How could unproductive stress be reduced or eliminated?

4. Maximize Joy

Growth and development are an evolution. Going in the direction of strength is the most effective way to consistently achieve success. When employees have the opportunity to contribute what they do best on a daily basis they are happier.  If what they do also helps move the organization’s goals forward—double bonus.  “When people are able to play to their strengths they experience less stress, and have more positive interactions with their coworkers and customers.” *

  • Does every team member have the chance to use their talents/strengths each day?

  • Are teams made up of employees with diverse talents/strengths?

  • Do teammates know how to leverage the talents/strengths of others?

Some results of creating a “Blue Zone-like Business” could be happy employees, lower turnover, clear vision & strategy, high levels of execution and productivity, and increased revenue and profitability.  Interested in learning more?  Check out our website at: https://www.aspirationcatalyst.com/strengths

*Source: Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0