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Five Ideas to Improve Happiness, Success, and Performance at Work

Many of us have been told that if we work hard, we’ll be successful, and once we’re successful, then we’ll be happy. But decades of scientific research have proven that this formula is backward. Happiness makes us smarter and more efficient-it actually fuels our success. Shawn Achor, Harvard Professor and host of our new program, The Happiness Advantage has a whole set of strategies that you can use to do this. Here are five:

  1. Practice random acts of kindness: Every time you perform an act of kindness, however small, your brain enjoys a spike in happiness. Write a thank-you note, compliment a colleague’s tie, or drop coins in a stranger’s meter.
  2. Invest in your social relationships: Your social support network (friends and family) are the best predictor of success and happiness. Remember to invest in your social support networks!
  3. Exercise: You know about the physical benefits of exercise, but don’t forget the mental ones: just 30 minutes of exercise can act as an anti-depressant. Another study found that executives who started a regular exercise routine experienced a 70% improvement in their ability to make complex decisions.
  4. Start with small, manageable goals: When you fell stressed and overwhelmed at work, don’t panic. The best way to get control of the situation (and improve your happiness) is to start with small, manageable goals. This helps you gain confidence so you can gradually take on larger and larger tasks.
  5. Avoid Multitasking: We live in a world that almost demands that we multitask... And we can do it: the only problem is, when we attempt to multitask, our brain actually decreases our success rate on both of those tasks. So focus on one task at a time!

These are just a few ideas that you’ll find in our new release, The Happiness Advantage. Our customers have already told us they love the program and are using it in the workplace. We think you’ll agree! Take a look at the free preview and see for yourself.

The Happiness Advantage Training Video

Posted under Best Sellers, What’s New, Training Ideas, HR and Training, Leadership, Management, Corporate Strategy, Shawn Achor, The Happiness Advantage by Stewart on Apr 13, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Comments Off

The Importance of Getting Buy-In...

Dr. John Kotter Book Buy-In

I was lucky enough to read John Kotter’s new book a few weeks ago. It’s called "Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea From Getting Shut Down."

As many of you know, "Communicating for Buy-In" is step #4 in Dr. John Kotter’s 8-step process of change. No change effort can succeed unless your entire team buys into the process. Buy-in is essential, but it can also be the biggest roadblock.

This is a terrific book if you want to have more productive meetings and presentations and obtain "buy-in" from everyone.

In this book, Kotter uses a simple and straightforward way to discuss the obstacles that can occur when you try to get Buy-In. He also provides a wonderful prescription for addressing the most common attacks that you might encounter when you’re trying to pursue a good idea.

The first half of the book tells a theoretical story about a town that needs new computers in their library and initially the resident making the presentation gets shot down. But her brother-in-law, Hank comes to the rescue by using common sense and ingenuity.

The second half of the book features 24 attacks that are often typical responses used to kill new or different ideas and they are grouped in 4 strategies:

  • Fear Mongering
  • Delay
  • Confusion
  • Ridicule (or character assassination).

We have all heard them before..."it’s worked before so why change it" or "you’re abandoning our core ideals." The authors provide methods to help you counter the naysayers.

That alone is a good reason to take a look at this book. But what I love the most is that John and his Co-Author Lorne Whitehead have delivered this message in a fun to read format. I enjoyed reading the book - and I got a lot out of it...

Give the book a look. I think you’ll like it.

To purchase a copy of this book at Amazon.com, Click Here.

Posted under What’s New, John Kotter, Management by Stewart on Jan 26, 2011 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Lessons From Chile

The wonderful scenes that gripped the world with the rescue of the trapped miners in Chile in the past week have been truly inspirational. Who didn’t cheer for each of the miners who returned from their harrowing experience? The interesting thing is that there are many lessons we can learn from this. Here are a few:

Great Ideas Can Come From Unusual Places: Who would have thought that the experts at NASA would prove to be so helpful in a mining disaster? What, after all, does space have to do with the deepest depths of the earth? Well, as we know, the team from NASA proved to be particularly helpful. After all, they are the experts on how to live in small confined spaces. The lesson here is clear: Look for great ideas everywhere - not just in your own company or area of business. You can learn from many different people in many different fields of endeavor.

Routine Helps: The miners were able to make it thought the harrowing experience through structuring their day. I think that it was interesting that so many of the experts said that it was important that every one of the miners had scheduled a routine to their days. That structure helped them stay positive. While I am not an advocate of rigid structure, it does seem that we all benefit from some basic routine and organization for our days.

Joy Is Infectious: I noticed that the faces of the (normally impassive) TV reported would be alight with smiles every time they saw the celebration of the reunited families. That is an improvement from the normally bad and divisive news we regularly receive on television. The smiles were welcome. I had a smile on my face all day myself (and I know that I am smiling now, thinking about the joy that was expressed). If you’ve read the Shawn Achor book, "The Happiness Advantage" that I recommended in an earlier blog, you’ll know why this happiness spreads (and you’ll know why it is a good thing for you, your business, and for your own productivity).

I have to celebrate and congratulate the rescue workers, the people of Chile, the folks from NASA, and all the others around the world who helped with this extraordinary success. And most of all, it is so inspirational to see the miners, who remained positive and resilient in the face of such incredible adversity.

Posted under Miscellaneous Thoughts, Shawn Achor by Stewart on Oct 15, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

Release of "The Happiness Advantage" Business Book

The Happiness Advantage Book Cover

This week, Shawn Achor’s book was just released! It’s called "The Happiness Advantage." As you can imagine, I have read many business books. Almost all of them have great advice, research, ideas, and suggestions for improving management, teambuilding, service, and personal success. The downside of most business books is that they are very serious - and often so filled with data, that it can be a tough read.

"The Happiness Advantage" is different! This is truly an engaging book that is not only informative but also funny. As I was reading the book, I found myself laughing out loud. In fact, I was laughing so much that people in the office asked me, "What’s so funny?" But the other fascinating part of the book is the research that Shawn has uncovered. We have always been taught that if you work hard, you’ll be successful...and if you’re successful, then you will be happy. The research that Shawn and his colleagues in the field of positive psychology have shown is that we all work better when we are happy. And the good news is that anyone can improve his or her level of happiness. There are many "take aways" listed in the book that will help you improve your happiness level on a daily basis. It’s all in his book - and I highly recommend that you read it.

Shawn Achor is a professor at Harvard University. For years, his course on happiness was the most popular and highly attended course with the undergraduates.

Here at Enterprise Media, we have fully embraced "The Happiness Advantage" and are releasing a video with Shawn and his humorous demonstrations and stories from his research entitled "The Happiness Advantage." This program will be released at the end of this year. I guarantee that you will laugh out loud reading his book and that it will perk you up and give you some great ways to handle those "difficult" people that you have to deal with both in the office and in life.

Here is a video clip from YouTube where Shawn shares some of the ideas that led him to write the book:

Screen Shot from YouTube clip with Shawn Achor

If you are interested in purchasing "The Happiness Advantage" you can click on this link at Amazon.com.

Posted under What’s New, Shawn Achor by Stewart on Sep 16, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

The Fish Philosophy and the Science of Positive Psychology

We’ve been working on a new training video with Shawn Achor. Shawn is the author of the forthcoming book called, "The Happiness Advantage." The other day, we filmed Shawn in New York in front of a live audience. Shawn’s message is based on the latest scientific research in the area of Positive Psychology coupled with anecdotal stories. We’ll have a lot more on Shawn, his amazing ideas, his forthcoming training program, and fun sense of humor soon. But Shawn’s lecture got me thinking about the "Fish Philosophy."

Many of you know about the "Fish Philosophy" and about the video "Fish!" If you don’t, the program follows a group of employees who work at the fish market in Pikes Place in Seattle Washington. Despite working long hours, getting up VERY early, and working in a job that some might consider unpleasant, this team is positive, enthusiastic, and energized by their work. Their enthusiasm is also infections.

The core message of Fish is that you can build a workplace that is fun and engaging if you have a positive attitude and willingness to see work as enjoyable. It is a powerful message, and has swept the business world by storm.

In some ways, the research that Shawn discusses in his book (and video) shows in a concrete manner that the message behind "Fish" isn’t just fun, it has a scientific basis. Fun and attitude are infections. You can "choose your attitude," and you can work to improve your outlook about work.

We will have a lot more on the "how" and "why" in our new video as the production progresses... Stay tuned!!!

Posted under Leadership, Corporate Strategy, Fish Philosophy, Shawn Achor by Stewart on Jul 07, 2010 | Comments: 0 | Post a comment»

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