Change For The Better

Posted on October 5, 2007. Filed under: Happiness |

The other day I was having a discussion with a colleague around what’s the best way to communicate in a team. He was of the view that people are good as they are so one really shouldn’t go about changing or expecting personality changes and I kept saying one doesn’t have to change just better ourselves in some ways. That’s when he made a profound statement

As the adage goes the only person who likes change is a wet baby .So change is something one is apprehensive and anxious about. But this is true when the change is brought about from outside.As in the locus of control is outside of us .But what if we want and will ourselves to change? Would we still be anxious and apprehensive? No I don’t think so. 🙂

My theory is that individuals who are more open to giving and receiving a feedback would generally find the motivation to change within. My second guess is that these people would also be high on the emotional quotient and thus good at understanding what drives them and others. (In case you are interested to know how open you are Johari Window acts a good starting tool. Click here to take the assessment. While answering the questionnaire if you answer the entire set of 20 questions with either the “office you” in mind or the “family and friends you”) .

How does all of this impact the workplace? There’s an excellent post over at the Chief Happiness Officer’s blog on how any kind of motivation that works is the one which is intrinsic and how about how leaders who are successful have understood this. I especially liked this excerpt from Peter Block and Peter Koestenbaum excellent book Freedom and accountability at work:

We currently act as if people are not inherently motivated, rather that they go to work each day and wait for someone else to light their fire.This belief is common among managers and employees alike…

So it all boils down to knowing oneself. As an enlightened soul has once stated -The finest thing in the world is knowing how to belong to oneself!

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We Have Fun At Work

Posted on September 17, 2007. Filed under: Happiness |

What platforms do you offer in your organization, for team members to get to know each other? Is it a once a year annual gathering that you organize with much fanfare and spend huge amounts on? How do you foster a feeling of belonging and ownership amongst the team members? Wait a minute! are these words “belonging “,”ownership” just empty words beaten to death at your workplace? How much time and thought is spared by leaders on trust, transparency, morale? Even before you get to answer those questions… who do you have at the helm of affairs? A leader or a manager?AND

Most importantly do your people have fun on the job?

Phew! what a lot of questions? And why am I even raising these questions?

We have been talking of collaboration all along for the enterprise 2.0 model. Now how would you have collaboration online in your organization, if you don’t have it offline?

If you have been thinking of implementing any of the enterprise 2.0 approaches at your workplace, it would be worthwhile to answer the questions above .

We have a unique approach to Enterprise 2.0 – that of HAPPINESS and I have fun finding unique ways to put a smile on every one’s face. It’s a pretty informal atmosphere that we have built, we pull each other’s leg go out for hikes, lunches, bowling together. We play cricket and or football over the weekend or get together for a pot lunch. At work when we feel the need to unwind we go play Foosball and are right now in the throes of arranging a chess championship – the decision for one was taken by a few of us who stayed back late at work one day and decided over dinner that it would be fun. What was the most fun was the TEAM CHALLENGE activity that we did a few months back to find some use case scenarios for the product we are about to launch soon. See! how we could integrate fun with work. Then we have the Pathshala sessions (Hindi for School) where we have loads of fun and come away with messages worth thinking about. It could be anything like making proper use of resources or how to be creative at the workplace. The point is sooner or later everyone at MangoSpring catches the happiness bug :).

The result do I hear you asking?

1. We have fun at work AND with work.
2. We are positive and productive .

The culture that we have built by having one eye on trust, transparency, and fun all along while the other eye focused on building the product and the strategy. Sadly though very few organizations realize this… the focus internally nowhere equals the focus externally.

I would definitely love to know if all of this makes sense to you!

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Happiness @ work is possible

Posted on August 21, 2007. Filed under: Happiness |

About an year back I would have been skeptical of the headline had I read it somewhere. Sure enough I did have some “happy days” at work and the glowing feeling of accomplishment but it’s was not THE way of life if you ask me.

That was then, today I subscribe fully to the concept of happiness @ work and take my job as Happiness Manager very seriously at MangoSpring.(We were inspired by Alexander Kjerulf).

Happiness@work happens when There is enough meaningful work for everyone to do .

1. Because there is enough and more meaningful work for everyone, there is a lesser sense of insecurity amongst employees.
2. It helps to have a strong and clear vision for the team/organization. It makes everyone feel more aligned and gives a direction.
3. Of course there has to be an open culture. What it means is that everyone feels free to say what they want without the fear of any repercussions. The management encourages everyone to think and doesn’t frown when a few employees have opinions other than theirs. This just helps fine tune the solution and also ensures that everyone is on the same page and agrees to the course of action.
4. Because there is an open culture and loads to do with a clear direction defined, everyone feels more charged and energetic on the job.
5. As a result each individual makes a difference, and there is no office politics.
6. Organized fun times, brings the team together and well ensures that everyone has fun. Who wouldn’t want fun??

We at MangoSpring have been lucky in the sense that we are a startup, so the team was entirely new and we could decide on the road we wanted to take without any baggage whatsoever. But no reason why other teams can’t reach this state of nirvana.

All of it boils down to one thing I guess, HR making a concentrated effort across the board.

Terms like Happiness Manager and Chief Entertainment Manager are gaining more acceptance these days. Just like families that eat together stay together, teams that have fun together stay together. Not a bad analogy 🙂

Yes, how productive we are on a particular day somewhere boils down to how sunny we are feeling. However if you ask me I wouldn’t say it’s entirely true. I have bad days when I have to literally force myself to work and bad days when I have wanted to immerse myself at work. But in both the cases what has helped is a supportive work environment, a place where I feel like going back to and where I don’t have any Monday morning blues 🙂 . So I don’t buy into Happiness at work :A myth to be punctured.

A good quote I would want to sign off with – There is no key to happiness, the door is always open…

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