Over the past six weeks, our training division at SuccessHawaii has been under contract to the Hawaii State Department of Education, Facilities Management Branch. I am proud of the work we accomplished together, but I am even more satisfied knowing the quality of people we have representing us in this critical function of state government. These are highly motivated employees who are responsible for the design, development, and maintenance of our public school facilities.
In quick retrospect, the past month has been a hectic one. In looking back, it was the participants within each of these focus groups, which we had the good fortune of working with, that made all the difference. In a nutshell, these highly-qualified professionals (i.e. architects, engineers, and former businesspeople) are an amazingly positive and dynamic group of people that work so collaboratively together.
We started this process by conducting five (5) focus groups with the various branches that fall under the Facilities Management Branch within the Office of Business Services. We followed that up with a half-day “Summary” session in which we assisted them as facilitators to boil-down a ton of input from the previous five sessions. In the end, all the various stakeholders negotiated many options to arrive at their agreed upon mission: “We take a vision and give it form through collaborative solutions to build opportunities for student achievement.”
On reflection, it has been a mini-marathon of very rewarding training workshops that achieved the goal set forth from the start. And today we completed the final, all-day training session with nearly 70 participants. Now, as I sit at my computer to debrief my thoughts, I’m taken back to my days as an athlete way-back-when. I can recall those days of giving everything I had physically and mentally, to play at peak performance. At least, to my abilities. Whether we won or lost was never the issue, it was whether you knew that you gave it your “all”. In this latest training series with the DOE, I confidently walk away knowing that we did give our very best and that’s the bottom line. Finally, consider this relevant quote on excellence from legendary coach, Vince Lombardi:
“….I firmly believe that any man’s finest hours – his greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear – is that moment when he has worked his heart out in good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.”
When I came across the following article in the February 13th, 2009, edition of BusinessWeek, I was compelled and intrigued. As a businessowner, the succinct title definitely captured my attention, especially given these challenging economic times in which we find ourselves looking for ways to thrive, and not merely survive. And since it directly relates to one aspect of the consulting services SuccessHawaii provides organizations, I was duty-bound to learn more and read onward.
In essence, it’s about understanding how positive psychology–the so-called science of happiness–is actually being used by entrepreneurs and businesspeople.
According to the article, consultants who specialize in positive psychology are selling a twofold promise:
“One is that optimism and cheerfulness have a measurable effect on the bottom line. The other is that happiness is a muscle you can strengthen.”
In this piece, the author, Jill Hamburg Coplan, cites thirty years worth of surveys at Gallup which, “have found that the most successful companies are ones whose employees believe they get to do what they do best every day. (Only one-third of working people do.)”
After nearly 20 years in the personnel training and HR development business with The Human Connection, Successories and now, SuccessHawaii, tracking results empirically has always remained a challenge for us. We know it works and makes an impact on the bottomline because we utilize tools to measure the results. But the best indicator is the fact that clients tell us of the organizational improvements, and most telling, they ask us to return.
In the BusinessWeek article, Coplan said, “If all this sounds too fuzzy for you, well, just speak with Juan Humberto Young, the founder of seven-person consulting firm Positive Decision Analysis, in Zürich. A positive psychology consultant…Young hears one criticism most: Positive psychology is too soft for numbers-obsessed business owners.”
But it’s not just empirical-minded business owners that this business is a little too soft for. I still remember a Hawaii state government contract that The Human Connection had back in 1993. It required more documentation (“red tape”) and post-analysis than the actual time spent interacting and training personnel. Although it was more “numbers crunching” than I ever experienced in the private sector; it was a state contract that required the ultimate “justification” at our expense.
To read more, check out Coplan’s well-written article for yourself: “How Positive Psychology Can Boost Your Business…In tough times, entrepreneurs try the so-called science of happiness to build thriving companies”
And to learn more about our training and consulting services at SuccessHawaii, visit our website today.
Surprise, surprise: According to a research study from the Ceridian Corporation in 2008, employees are most productive when they enjoy their work. But as you may know, even the most engaged employees can start to lose their drive if they feel overwhelmed, under-appreciated or panicking about job layoffs. So how can you as a manager keep your team members motivated when the workplace becomes stressful?
According to Ceridian, if everyone is working harder than usual because of layoffs and other cutbacks, talk openly with your team members about the situation. Acknowledge that times are difficult and let them know that you notice and appreciate their efforts. Here are some ways to keep up your team’s commitment and morale during difficult times.