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A Question from Workhuman

The Canadian Contingent at Workhuman. Photo credit: Pam Ross.

What am I doing?

This is the type of question that can be interpreted in different ways.

As in, have I lost my mind?  Or,

How am I effecting time and space?  Or

How am I occupying my time?

This question (and its various interpretations) has come to mind several times while participating in Workhuman 2017.

I came to Workhuman to be inspired, to be ignited, to pursue action.  I love the folks who come to Workhuman and getting to hang out with them, even if briefly, is so worth it.

Workhuman is a conference about getting away from the stale and into things that are new.  It is not only about current thinking but also evidence-based reasons for change, the future. Last year I was overwhelmed and overjoyed by the focus on happiness at Workhuman.  After being armed with some new tools for bringing happiness to the workplaces I influenced seemed achievable.

Happiness is something that people can achieve individually and together.  There are many ways to achieve it. Following Workhuman last year my firm set out to start impacting happiness at our clients.  We introduced the concept of the need for happiness in the workplace in baby steps, like incorporating measurement questions about happiness into employee surveys, or discussing the topic at team meetings, or sharing websites and books about happiness.  I also got more public about the activities I was doing to support my own happiness including my nearly 1000 km walk on the Bruce Trail.

Then, early in the conference this year, it hit me, “What am I doing?”

Although in my happiness project I have been focusing in on me, perhaps because I needed it, focusing on me alone is not a great strategy for truly infectious happiness among those I interact with.  With regards to the promotion of happiness, and the adoption of tools for happiness, I need to be doing more.  And the things I am doing to be more happy have to be effective, or I need to try new things.

The first moment this came to me was when I was listening to to Christina Hall from LinkedIn talk about social recognition and employee performance. The data has indicated that performance increases exponentially by the number of recognition moments their employees received from their peers.  Just three recognition moments, increased performance of employees by 54%.  While performance and happiness are not exactly the same thing, they are correlated.

Then there is Michelle Obama.  She said many inspirational things but what I will remember most is, “Our goal must be to lift each other up.  It starts with us.”

So clearly, I need to be in the habit of recognizing of others.  And I need to be open to both feedback and recognition.  That notion of being receptive to feedback, and also encouraging others to give better feedback came to me during Adam Grant’s presentation when he and his colleagues read mean course reviews.  Enabling people to provide authentic and constructive feedback supports happiness across the entire population.

So changing, that’s what I am doing.

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