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Be happy and increase performance

By Bob Harper, Crunchers Accountants

Ever since I came across the research from David Maister which revealed that a 15-20% increase in employee satisfaction delivered a 42% increase in profits, I have been interested in discovering the underlying drivers of profits.

If you think about it, it’s common sense: happy people are more likely to be positive with clients, colleagues and have more energy. But common sense is now becoming common knowledge because research from neuroscience, psychology and economics makes a clear link between a happy workforce and better business performance.

This is fairly new knowledge. Until 1998 there was a 17 to 1 negative-to-positive ratio of research in the field of psychology. We are expert at how to be depressed; now we are starting to discover how to be happy. And how being happy first drives success.

According to Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage, there are seven principles to happiness. I can’t cover them in this blog, but here is one tip. Consciously do three good deeds every day. They do not need to be big, just done consciously. For example, you could let a couple of cars out in the traffic jam coming to and from work. Pay for a lottery ticket for the person at the checkout – £1 to buy a burst of happiness is cheap at half the price.

What the book reveals is that it takes a ratio of 2.9013 to 1 positive-to-negative interactions to make a team successful. The research goes on to show that a ratio of 6 to 1 positive-to-negative interactions creates optimum teamwork. The example in the book is a mining company that was coached to increase their ratio from 1.15 to 3.56 positive-to-negative interactions. What they found was that production and performance increased by 40%.

How much would that be worth to you? How much would that be worth to your clients?


2 Responses to “Be happy and increase performance”

  1. julian.sharples says:

    There’s a sign outside the gents at my local which says “Happiness is a way of life.” I have long thought that happiness is a behaviour, just like love is an action. They aren’t feelings. Feelings are the effect.

  2. Robin Winnett says:

    Excellent article Bob.

    I also agree with Julian, i consciously make the decision to be happy and by doing that, guess what the effect is?! 🙂

    Of course there are times when “the moment” takes over, but I like to think in the majority of cases, this approach helps me to get back on track and remember what is important.

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