Category Archives: Happy companies

The meaning of life is happiness – just not your own

A few weeks ago I got the opportunity to give a speech about a brand new (for me) topic: Why are we here, alive, in this universe? What’s the meaning of life? What is a good life and how do you get it?

Based on lessons from philosophy, psychology and neuroscience, I make the claim that the purpose of life is happiness – just not your own. I also talk about how to apply that in our workplaces.

Watch the speech and tell me if you agree :)

How WD-40 built a billion-dollar business with happiness

In this AMAZING speech from our International Conference on Happiness at Work, CEO Garry Ridge gives you a look “under the hood” of one of the world’s most recognized brands, WD-40 Company,  where 98% of employees say they “love to work.” This high engagement has resulted in a company that has doubled in revenue in the last decade, and is on a trajectory to double again in the next.

Garry shares his “learning moments” from his journey to transform the company’s culture, beginning in 1997. Lessons and principles covered include:

  • The personal journey of every servant leader, and why that philosophy is critical
  • The emotional connection of a greater purpose that creates high engagement
  • How to carefully and consciously choose values that will be embedded in all aspects of leadership and employee development
  • The difference between a “team” and a “tribe”, and why WD-40 Company strove to create a cohesive tribe that spans 15 countries where employees work
  • How company performance results are directly connected to its focus on people

Watch the whole thing – it’s phenomenal!

Here’s my personal favorite quote from his speech:

Leaders are champions of hope. Life is a gift. Let’s not send it back unwrapped. We have only time, talent, treasure, and technology to deal with, and none of them are abundant. So it’s our job as leaders to help people focus on the things that really matter and to take that hope to a real result.

 

Hiring For Happiness at Menlo Innovations

Tech company Menlo Innovations in Ann Arbor, Michigan have a VERY different way of hiring and interviewing new employees.
They call it Extreme Interviewing, and it is not only much more efficient than the traditional approach, it also has a much better success rate in hiring the right candidates (and eliminating the wrong ones) AND it’s fun and engaging for everyone involved.

Related links

Your job: Make someone smile!

Danish CEO and entrepreneur Peer Krogh had one main message for his employees:

”The most important thing is really this:

Have you made someone smile today?

If you have, you’ve done a good job.”

He passed away in 2013, but the company still has that message written in the office and on badges like the one you see above.

What a great example of Leading With Happiness.

I’m back from speaking in Shanghai and Austin

We’re back from 2 AWESOME weeks in Shanghai and Austin. It’s just crazy how the interest in happiness at work is growing all over the world.

In  Shanghai I spoke at a management seminar for 100 managers from Hermés in the region. Hermés already has a strong focus on employee happiness. They LOVED my talk and are now taking this message to all stores and offices in the region.

In Austin I spoke at the WorkHuman conference, which is essentially all about happiness at work. Other speakers included Simon Sinek and Amal Clooney, so I was extra proud that several people called my speech their favorite from the event :)

My books in very good company at WorkHuman:

The entire team on stage:

Signing books after my talk:

More AMAZING work from our partners around the world

We are constantly blown away by the great work our international partners do to promote happiness at work around the world. Here are just a few recent examples.

Israel

PlusConsulting in Israel did a Workplace Happiness seminar for 45 HR managers from leading organizations. They presented a case study of a big retail company that they have been working with for the last 2 years, to train all their managers with leading with happiness tools, and many other happiness tips. They have also been working with the National insurance services’ headquarters to involve positive psychology tools like mindfulness, appreciative inquiry and strengths in their daily routine.

Switzerland

Florian Amstutz of PeopleUp in Switzerland did a presentation on happiness and change management for 120 managers from a company. He had lot of fun and the CEO was really happy with the speech.

Hong Kong

TGI Monday in Hong Kong have developed a workshop called Choosing Happiness at work which is dedicated to any employee willing to increase its happiness at work. It includes a lot of videos, good practices examples from caring organizations for Hong Kong FCCIHK – as you can see above, people love it :)

Pakistan

Mush Panjwani from Hong Kong will be going to Pakistan to do the first ever training on happiness at work in that country.

India

Happy Office from Holland did two sold-out workshops at the Agile India conference.

Serbia

Vega IT Sourcing in Serbia did a charity relay race where 83 teams participated on a sunny Sunday morning to help children without parental care.

Denmark

Nicolai Knudsen had a breakthrough in his work to make the Danish military a happier workplace when he gave a keynote at a conference for the organisation for personal advisors and colleague support, a voluntary organisation within the Ministry of Defense that helps people cope with personal problems, stress, offensive behavior, sexism, trauma and PTSD.  The head of the MoD center for workplace environment health and safety was really inspired and had never seen that approach, despite having worked with health and safety in over two decades.

Japan

Mari Niwa from Ideal Leaders in Tokyo came up with a new way for coworkers to praise each other. In Japan people are a little shy, so rather than doing it in public, you can put up envelopes for each person and then people can praise you by writing a note and sticking it in your envelope.

Australia

Dr. Jenny Brockis recently delivered the closing keynote on  Thriving@Work at a huge retail conference in Melbourne which was really well received and she’s now getting many more inquiries about this topic as organisations wake up to the need to improve their employees’ experiences at work to boost productivity, performance and overall happiness.

Slovenia

Paleta Znanj in Slovenia are wrapping up a 2-year project of rebuilding/upgrading organizational culture in one great and very successful small company (up to 20 employees, 25 years on the market) who needed help to cross the gap between financial and organic growth (high profits, low employee satisfaction), and to enter “modern age” of leadership. They helped align the company culture with their current and future needs, to make a shift from being profit oriented culture to being people and client oriented one and so to bring more happiness into their working lives and did analysis, counseling, team buildings, coaching, workshops and introduce a tool/system called the Growth Book.

Woohoo – we got to visit Ben and Jerry’s

We finally got a chance to visit Ben and Jerry’s global HQ in Vermont and it was AWESOME. Not only did we get to hear about the company’s mission to create a better world, see how the ice cream is made and visit the famous flavor graveyard – we even saw a man propose to his girlfriend in the middle of a tour. She said yes :)

Here are some impressions from our visit.

Proudly written on the walls: “Business has a responsibility to give back to the community.”

“If it’s not fun, why do it?”

The flavor graveyard is where Ben And Jerry’s celebrate their mistakes by honoring every ice cream flavor that failed. It looked very pretty in the snow. You can also find it online.

This is brilliant – instead of hiding or punishing their mistakes, they celebrate them. Here are 5 reasons why every workplace should do that.

All in all we got a very positive impression of the culture at Ben and Jerry’s. The employees we talked to clearly loved their jobs, they do their utmost to make great ice cream while protecting the environment and also have a mission to create “Linked prosperity” for their entire ecosystem, including suppliers, farmers and the local community. It’s inspiring to see a company so focused on creating a happier world, which is also why their mentioned in my latest book Leading With Happiness.