The Ultimate Factor in Boosting Productivity

by Aileen

happy woman

After working with small businesses for a number of years, and helping them with their HR needs, I had the privilege of watching most of them struggle, learn and grow into successful companies. Although each of them were unique in their product or service they provided, or in their approach to running a business, one of the components that was common to them all and had an impact on their success was the happiness factor.

One of my favorite clients was an owner on the brink of abandoning his business. When I first met him, his employee had just walked out in the middle of a very important project that was due to be completed in a few days. We sat in the backyard of his home based business and talked for two and a half hours. We discussed what makes employees great and how to keep them happy enough to stay. We then talked about the bigger effect of happiness and optimism, beyond being a happy employee or employer. Imagine what being happy can do for ones personal life!

Over the course of eighteen months, I watched his small business turn itself around and grow dramatically. It went from a home based business with two employees, whom he couldn’t keep for more than a few months, into an office building with fifteen stable and happy employees.

How He Did It

(1) Communication – By simply having a conversation with his employees about their job satisfaction, he was able to learn what they liked best about their job and what they liked least. It was also an opportunity for the owner to communicate any difficulties or challenges the company was facing so that employees understood the bigger picture and in turn possibly offered solutions he was not aware of.

(2) Shared Success – As the company grew more successful, he shared that success by increasing the benefits, much like the kaizen style of management of humanizing the workplace. A few of the benefits he added were paid time off, flexibility of schedule one day a week, and having a few of the employee’s favorite snacks available for free. This led to increased effort, higher productivity, and lower turnover.

(3) Teamwork - By communicating, sharing, and emphasizing teamwork, the owner showed that he cared about his employee’s well-being and they in turn felt that they were an integral part of the team’s success.

How You Can Do It for Your Personal Life

(1) Communication - Keep a journaled conversation with yourself. Look at your life satisfaction. Note the aspects you enjoy, what’s going well, and what aspects you want to change. Then outline simple steps on how to implement those changes and take action.

(2) Shared Success – Working hard can only go so far. At some point, you have to reward yourself or you’ll just burn out. So treat yourself to a small indulgence or perhaps a bigger one if you can afford it. If you feel you don’t really need anything then treat a loved one or someone you really care about. What’s the point of success if you can’t share it?

(3) Teamwork – Look at your own team, your relationships with family, friends, and community. What can you do to let others know they are important to you? Demonstrate your personal appreciation for your team and they will likely do the same.

Why it works

1. Inspiration – Happiness can lift other people’s spirits and create a desire to join-in and be a part of a team.

2. Speed and Momentum – When we are happily going about our tasks, we tend to get things done more swiftly and with less exhaustion. Our momentum carries us to streamline our tasks in new effective ways with less need for recovery and down time.

3. Openness – Happiness allows us to see more options and find creative solutions. We become less resistant to trying new things.

4. Gratitude – Happy people tend to feel more grateful and more appreciative which tends to inspire others to feel the same.

5. Fun – Happiness tends to give us a sense of fun, youthfulness and playfulness thereby making work feel less like work. Happiness can give us a zing, and a boost as we find ways of enjoying what we’re doing.

6. Health – Happiness can help keep depression, anxiety and stress away. We also tend to be more healthy and less susceptible to illness.

7. Flow – Life tends to flow and good things tend to happen for happy people. Rather than being caught up in the reasons why something doesn’t work, they focus on finding solutions that do work.

There are countless areas in our lives that are affected by our level of happiness. Experiment with it, and notice how happiness gives you and/or others the energy to carry through with even the most mundane tasks with zest. Notice your mind open to new efficient kaizen ways of handling these tasks and discovering new creative solutions and approaches.

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Tess The Bold Life October 20, 2010

This clearly states the benefits of happiness and how it affects those around us. As I read why it works, all seven play off each other and add momentum. Each one of those qualities is something I have in my life as a result of a positive attitude and bringing happiness to others. I’m moving forward with zing and laughter! Love this post;)
Tess The Bold Life´s last [type] ..Momentum Gathering- Katie Tallo

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Aileen October 20, 2010

I love that you’re moving forward with zing and laughter! I can tell that’s it’s wonderfully contagious :)

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emily October 20, 2010

thank you. I love to visit this site for inspiration and once again I am inspired. : )

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Aileen October 20, 2010

Thank you Emily :)

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Zengirl @ Heart and Mind October 21, 2010

Aileen,

When we are happy, healthy, and life is balanced, we seemed to do better both in personal and career wise. I have noticed when balanced in heavy in one side such as career, our personal life gets little time and it is unbalanced, creating a wreck on both sides.

Great inspiration and keep loving the new look still :)
Zengirl @ Heart and Mind´s last [type] ..Great Classic Books that Everyone should Read At least once

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Aileen October 21, 2010

You are so right Preeti, when we’ve got a bit of balance happening, the rest seems to follow nicely. I really admire how you maintain your balance with home schooling, and the littlest one not yet of school age… and your wonderful blog… You are inspirational!

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Farnoosh October 21, 2010

Hello Aileen, love your 7 secrets to productivity not just for small business but in how, as you say, it expands for all of us – if only I learn to do all of this all the time :)! Therein lies the challenge..
Thank you for the reminders!
Farnoosh´s last [type] ..Blogworld Series- The Inspiration in 76 Quotes

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Aileen October 21, 2010

Ahh yes, life’s wonderful challenges. Sometimes it feels like we’ve mastered the art of living and others times it feels more like we are trying to grasp it. It does make life the very adventure that it is :)

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Keith October 21, 2010

Hello Aileen,

Excellent job on this article! I love how all of these concepts are universally useful. They can be applied to business life or personal life and be equally beneficial!

Having the right balance is the key. When our lives are in balance we are naturally happier. When we’re happier we are healthier! Awesome how that works isn’t it?

Thank you for writing a great post. :-)

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Aileen October 21, 2010

Hi Keith. It really is awesome how it works – balance, happy, healthy – sometimes it’s fun to watch it happen, as an observer standing in awe of life’s process.

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Clearly Composed October 22, 2010

Happiness is contagious too. I feel happier just having read this. :)
Clearly Composed´s last [type] .. Success- 7 Questions and 14 Answers

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Aileen October 25, 2010

:) Yay for contagious happiness – it’s the thing that helps kill off fear and doubt

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Jen Gresham October 23, 2010

Great success story. I’ve worked with several otherwise great managers, people who really cared about their people, but just couldn’t embrace transparency in communication. From my experience, it’s THE biggest morale issue and yet the most often overlooked.

Of course, the rub is that even when you want to do it right, it’s not easy. We get so little training in effective communication, which of course is only possible after effective thinking. And who has time for that in business anymore? LOL

Thanks, Aileen!

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Aileen October 25, 2010

Hahaha – with so many years in the business world I’ve seen some incredibly foolish decisions such as not having time for effective thinking, effective communication or training for the important things such as these. They just tend to keep rolling along rather inefficiently which is why so many opt for having their own business where it’s okay to be human. :)

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Steven October 24, 2010

Shared success is definitely important. It strengthens our identity with the company. We don’t feel like just a subordinate being told what to do, we recognize that our actions mean something, and we can feel pride for our accomplishments (even if we aren’t a part of upper management). Great, great advice!
Steven´s last [type] ..PsychNews- Oct 17 – 23

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Aileen October 25, 2010

Hi Steven, thank you for stopping by and thanks for your comment.

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Suzanne October 24, 2010

Aileen, this is another wonderful WOW post. It is so right-on.

My favorite part was about Flow. Many of us know or have at least heard of it in regards to working, however you have it correct when you related it to life. Everyone has problems, adversaries and “bad days”. Happiness (and gratitude) allow us to keeping zooming right over the waves instead of going down and being afraid to try to go back up!

good things tend to hap­pen for happy peo­ple. Rather than being caught up in the rea­sons why some­thing doesn’t work, they focus on find­ing solu­tions that do work.
Suzanne´s last [type] ..TCOY Thinking- No Guilt Allowed

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Aileen October 25, 2010

Hi Suzanne, “Happiness (and gratitude) allow us to keep zooming right over the waves instead of going down and being afraid to try to go back up!” I love that!!! There really are ways to get back up again and knock fear on its butt and like you say Happiness and Gratitude are the way to do it!

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John Sherry October 26, 2010

All of these are top notch Aileen but I’m drawn to the mention of fun. We can work for and at a living but why not have fun WITH living? Looking back recently, as I have, it’s clear that my greatest accomplishments and highest success came from times when I was purely having fun and living with a smile in all I did. It’s a 100% pattern that I now aim to continue on stretching out into the future. Have fun, get your life back. Not a bad value for life.

PS Love the new design header and your font colours. It’s an absolute corker Aileen!!!
John Sherry´s last [type] ..5 Great Reasons Why It’s Good To Cry

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Katie October 26, 2010

This is such a great post, Aileen. I really had the urge, as I was reading, to send it to a former boss. Boy, could he use these lessons. I love how you bring them around to how we can implement them in our personal lives. So happy I read this. Thank you. It’s inspiring indeed.
Katie´s last [type] ..The 7-Week Life Cleanse- A Simple Guide to Infusing Your Life with Momentum

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