FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM JULY 2011
Not long ago, I was reading about Clive Woodward, who coached the England rugby team to its World Cup win in 2003. What caught my eye was that he asked each player to read a business book – Paddi Lund’s Building the Happiness-Centred Business (1997) – and said it was the only book he’d ever read twice.
I was inspired by Lund’s simple message:
If you’re not happy with the work you’re doing, change how you’re doing it.
Lund, a dentist in Australia, made his discoveries after emotionally hitting rock bottom in his 30s. As his income grew, he found himself spending all of it and then focusing increasingly on ways to make even more money. His logic was that buying things made him feel good, so he always needed more money.
Eventually, he became so disturbed at work that he found himself crawling on his hands and knees to lock his office door, seriously worried that he was losing his sanity. He was hearing voices and needed Valium to sleep. (In many Western nations, dentists have the highest suicide rate among white-collar professionals.)
Over time, Lund realized he had defined his worth based on his job. He wanted to see if he could feel good at work instead of feeling miserable, stressed, and obsessed about making more money. He turned himself around and decided to set a goal of happiness at work.
He learned many things:
Focus On Happiness, Not Money.
Why do we think that business has to focus mostly on money?
This often induces a great deal of stress and can cause us to neglect our loved ones, our health, and our spiritual life.
“Business is hard,” writes Lund. But once he found out that he was not alone in experiencing this, “I didn’t feel so isolated and stupid.”
When we’re not working, we tend to do things that make us feel good. So why don’t we focus more on doing things that make us feel good in our work? Google gives its employees ‘20% time’ to work on their own projects.
“When money is the focus, human beings assume a lesser significance.”
Your business will be more profitable when:
You’re happier and having more fun: We enjoy buying from happy people, and we buy more. We prefer to spend our time with happy people.
You’re focused on making clients happier,
You’re not focused solely on the bottom line
When you have a business problem: “the decision that gives everyone the most happiness is usually the decision that is best for the business.”
Love, sympathy, and joy are good for business – they ARE appropriate. And many people “are starved of positive human contact.” Be kind, generous, and honest.
Learn to Control Your Stress
He found that his reaction to stress was often a “performance” and that he “had a purpose in losing control.” Maybe you are not aware of it, but he believes that we “do” stress because:
We want to show others that we are overworked
We are not getting enough attention
We feel that the way we were being treated belies our importance
The environment we work in (and live in) has a bigger impact on us than we realize – change it if it does not uplift you!
Great Relationships Are the Sum of All the Little Courtesies
He finds that the source of much unhappiness is in how people treat each other at work. “What made us most unhappy were the little forgotten courtesies and the unkind or thoughtless words or actions.”
You need a Courtesy System – Lund created eight performance standards. For example, Number 1 is: Speak very politely using a person’s name – please and thank you as a minimum.
“Politeness is the oil of the wheels of society. It is even more important between married people than strangers.” Humanize and personalize all your business relationships more often. Start with your team at work, then do it with your clients.
Apologize more often. It is not a sign of weakness – hardly anyone does it – it is a sign of courage, strength, and honesty.
He argues that the big things usually get addressed; it’s the seemingly small things that end up causing interpersonal problems.
Systems Make Difficult Things Easier
There aren’t many books that give you work systems that make you feel good.
We have all let go of habits or systems that once worked well for us, and we almost all could improve or add new systems.
Two brilliant insights:
“A new system will work only when it is easier to use than to ignore it!”
For example, if you’re not asking for referrals consistently, the question to ask yourself is: How can I make referral asking easier?
“Build in the rewards that make it easier to continue with the system than to go back to old ways.”
Make sure your system encourages warmth and bonding with clients. “Customers return to places where they feel cared for.”
Emotional rewards work more consistently than financial ones for your team. (Read Daniel Pink’s book, Drive, for more on this)
Build Your Happiness-Centred Business and Get More Referrals!
How does this relate to getting more and better referrals? If you focus increasingly on happiness at work for all parties and educate your clients on the benefits of your products and services, they will do the advertising for you.
When we spend more time enjoying ourselves at work, we make more money! What have you done that’s seen results in this area?
“There is nothing worthwhile in life that doesn’t take tremendous effort.”
FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM JULY 2011