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The Business of Happiness

(posted: March 1st, 2011)

Can you use "happiness" to increase employee's productivity and their personal engagement to woo customers and increase business?

The short answer is YES! But how does this happen?

How Do Leaders Use Happiness?

Companies should be figuring out how to use happiness to market happiness and provide greater meaning in the workplace.

  • But how can managers and companies help people find happiness, keep it, and use it as a resource?
  • Is happy-hour/pleasurable moments different for different individuals?
  • What about customers?
  • Do we really know what makes us happy?

First how could we define happiness?

According to Jennifer Aaker, a Stanford marketing professor who offers a graduate level course called "Designing Happiness," the answer is this:

"Happiness is a state of well-being characterized by emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy.

According to Tony Hsieh, CEO at Zappos, one way to gauge the happiness meter is to ask yourself this:

"What are things you can improve in your work or attitude to WOW more people? Have you WOWed one person today? We want to see random acts of 'WOWness."

And boy do they deliver "happiness in a box."

Happy Endings

Whether it's the happiness their customers feel when they receive the perfect pair of shoes or the happiness they feel from our surprise upgrades to overnight shipping or when they talk to someone on the customer loyalty team. The thing that ties all of these things together is happiness.

So in 2009 they expanded their vision and purpose to a simple statement, "Zappos is about delivering happiness to the world."

Quick Questions:

  • So, as a leader, how can you uncover the happiness quotient for your employees and provide greater meaning in the workplace and the world?
  • Can it help you improve your business?

I absolutely believe so!

Question This

One simple way is to ask people, "What is your goal in life?"

Whatever their response, I ask "Why?"

What is interesting is if you keep asking why enough times, you'll find yourself arriving at the same answer that most people do when they repeatedly ask themselves why they are doing what they are doing. They believe that whatever they are pursuing in life will ultimately make them happier.

In the end, it turns out that we're all taking different paths in pursuit of the same goal; happiness.

The Happy Board

I have had my clients create a "what makes me happy board."

It has been so exciting for me to help my clients discover what really makes them happy. They take snapshots of magic moments every day for 30 days and then rate each moment on a scale of 1 to 10 to quantify their feelings.

Or, they pull out words or pictures from magazines or newspapers to desrie their feelings of "happiness."

Then we look for patterns. What we find most often is meaningful experiences often is what makes people the happiest. I have also found that happiness shifts with age. Younger people feel happiest when things are new and exciting while older people find more pleasure with peacefulness and relaxation.

Challenge Yourself
  • Have you figured out what makes you happy?
  • What about your family and your team?

Make the time. I guarantee you will see the positive changes in your life and your business.


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