Last year I ran an evening event I called a Learning Network Event. The purpose of the evening was to provide a space for those interested in positive psychology to share and learn from each other in a gently facilitated way. We used a world café process to stimulate conversation and to ensure cross-pollination amongst those present.
In many workplaces conversation is regarded as an adjunct to the real work of getting stuff done. All too often a request for a conversation is experienced as an interruption, a distraction from real work. Seen as a necessary evil, the objective is to complete the conversation as quickly as possible so all involved can get back to work. While the topic of conversation may be regarded as important, the quality of conversation doesn’t even register. This is very unfortunate as the quality of any conversation will have an impact beyond the moment.
Lots of people feel instinctively that happiness and wellbeing at work must be important. But are they a business necessity or a ‘nice to have’. Surely it makes more sense to ensure your business is profitable and thriving before you start worrying about how people feel?
Increasingly research suggests that investing in employee wellbeing by ensuring positive work relationships, an emphasis on strengths-based development, and worker happiness has productivity pay-offs. So why delay, start promoting positive psychology practices at work today!
Unclear objectives are sometimes unavoidable, the dangers and how to avoid as learned in Bosnia
Brief account of the book
The book has noble, honourable and inspiring intentions: it offers holocracy as a ‘new operating system’ for organizations that will create a ‘peer-to-peer distributed authority system’. This operating system creates empowered people who are clear about the boundaries of their authority, about what they can expect from others, and are able to be highly effective in their roles.
So Why Do We Need To Do Change Differently
1. Because the old ways are too slow and hard
Traditionally change has been a top-down, linear, compliance process; first designed and then implemented. In today’s fast paced world this takes too long and is too hard. People resist the pressure. Instead we need change that is whole-system owned and generated, focused on maximising tomorrow not fixing yesterday.
Over the past year we have assembled a range of card packs to support development activities from coaching to strategy development. In particular we have our own Positive Organisational Development Cards that condense the wisdom of positive psychology into questions and action suggestions across twenty themes, from leadership to positive emotions. We also have a selection of Strengths Cards suitable for groups across the organisation. And we have a range of other cards to enable work with Values, Behaviour, Expertise and Emotional Intelligence. While many have free downloadable pdf guides, all are highly versatile, easily portable and great value!
Save smart - make savings and improvements without the hidden costs
In the quest for ever great efficiencies, productivity and general cost saving, a few key questions can open up new avenues to improve performance and profitability.
Appreciative Inquiry and other co-creative methodologies are essentially divergent ways of working together; the emphasis is on the value of diversity and variety. Such ways of working can trigger a pressure to converge on a few key points very early in the process, indeed sometimes before the event has even begun. This pressure can be the expression of various different needs, for example:
I used this recently with a group of managers as part of a workshop on positive and appreciative leadership. It is an effective way into the virtuous practices aspect of flourishing organizations and into the topic of authentic leadership. It could just as well be used as an exercise in individual executive coaching or development
A number of Appreciative Inquiry practitioners were having a conversation concerning the strong demand frequently experienced from commissioners and contractors for a highly convergent end to a discursive, divergent event.
We asked ourselves two questions: What was this request an expression of? and How could we meet it without compromising the spirit of our endeavours? Here are the high points of our discussion.
The pressure on new leaders or senior appointments to make an impact, and quickly, is tremendous. The organization has spent time and money attracting, selecting and securing the chosen candidate, now they want to see the value they have bought. It’s a brave person who can hold fire while they take time to look and learn; take time to find out what works here, and how it does; to find out who the people are who really ensure the work gets done; to find out who is brave enough to deliver bad news. This knowledge is often hidden, while, to new eyes, what doesn’t work, who doesn’t look or behave like management behaviour, and who too often isn’t at the end of their phone or at their desk, is all too obvious. In their attempts both to improve things and make a mark quickly, New Brooms frequently commit one or all of these mistakes:
It is increasingly apparent that sometimes people with severe personality disorders (narcissistic, psychopathic, paranoid and schizoid) slip through the organizational selection net. The problem is they don’t appear in our midst with ‘trouble’ tattooed on their foreheads, instead they are often rather charming devils who do very well until they fall (and bring everyone else down with them).
Positive psychology is the new domain of psychology that burst upon the world when Martin Seligman coined the phrase at his inaugural speech as the President of the American Psychological Association in 1998.
Many leaders are currently facing the challenge of leading in conditions of great uncertainty in an unpredictable environment. Yet much leadership and change guidance is predicated on the assumption of a relatively stable or foreseeable future – for which plans can be made. Here are some principles to help leaders continue to offer leadership even when firm predictions are hard to come by and plans are difficult to make.