“Pursuit of Perfect” by Tal Ben-Shahar, the famous professor of the even more famous Harvard university that taught the largest course at Harvard on “Positive Psychology” and the third largest on “The Psychology of Leadership”—with a total of over 1,400 students. In this book Ben-Shahar explains how perfectionsim might prevent you to be happy in your work as well as private life and how sliding from perfectionism to optimalism might bring you happiness and success.
In an AOL jobs article, Alexander Kjerulf propose 5 easy tips to make your work life happier. He reminds us that happiness at work is important for employees as it is most likely the activity to which we give the more time per week, because it is also good for our health (A Gallup’s report clearly indicates the possible huge financial benefits of having happier employees as they will be less sick and less prone to switch employers) and also because it will lead to success.
This last point is also supported by a 2005 scientific article of Lyubomirsky & King, “The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success?” in which the autors suggested that evidences indicates that it is happiness that creates conditions to success and not only the successes that makes people happy (although their is also a positive spiral effect here).
Many successful leaders (Jobs, Branson, Hsieh,…) have often repeat that they never worked as they always did what is a passion to them. They were not looking for success at first but more to make what was making sense to them. At the same time, such mindset creates better condition for success as you will likely not be devastated by your failures to the same extent as your goal is not to reach a result but more to do what you like. It is the same difference like between the optimalist and the perfectionnist (if I refer to Tal Ben- Shahar definition in his book “Pursuit of Perfect“), you will enjoy the path to success instead of waiting the success to be enjoyed.
“Delivering happiness” from Tony Hsieh, the CEO and co-founder of Zappos, the first online shoe store in the world, recently purchased by Amazon for about a billion Euro, is providing probably the best example of a new way to manage a company. First define your values, create the right culture and the rest will follow.
As an example, here are the 10 Zappos familly values:
Deliver WOW Through Service
Embrace and Drive Change
Create Fun and A Little Weirdness
Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded
Pursue Growth and Learning
Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication
Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit
Do More With Less
Be Passionate and Determined
One of the result of this approach is likely the quality of Zappos customer service. Do you know a lot of companies where you can return your purchased good within a year (the Wow effect) but also one where the customer support agent will send you flowers and a card, on the company’s name after you called to ask for the refund of your recently deceased husband Shoes? Happy customers through happy employees, that is very likely the best marketing you might ever have.