Category Archives: blogging

blogging

What is happiness?

smiley faceThere has been much discussion around happiness and the opening of our hearts to truly experience passion and energies which have a profound effect over our ability to elevate our emotions and increase productivity, relationships and success in life.

Pharell Williams, the music artist, had an unbelievable global success with his song ‘Happy.’‎

But with all this in mind, exactly what is happiness?

A few years ago I arrived at Hong Kong international airport earlier than anticipated and purchased a book by Professor Richard Layard called ‘Happiness’ In this new edition of his landmark book, this book shows that there is a paradox at the heart of our lives. Most people want more income. Yet as societies become richer, they do not become happier. All the evidence in the book show, that on average, people have grown no happier in the last fifty years.

So with this in mind, can money buy love, or even happiness?

It is certainly natural to believe that success will bring you happiness, but a variety of psychologists, including Harvard’s Shawn Achor, have argued that this common sense understanding is actually backwards. Success does not make you happy so much as happiness makes you more successful.

But how much more successful exactly, and how can you ever rigorously scientifically test something like that?

Interesting enough, something as simple as writing down three things you are grateful for or three things that you have intentions towards, every day for 21 days in a row can significantly increase your level of optimism and happiness.

Happy and unhappy people have the same pain and trauma. The difference is happy people have a disposition which helps them bounce back very quickly. When you cultivate a happier attitude, you become less dependent on external sources of validation, and trust your thoughts, emotions and behaviours.

It’s a proven fact that happy people are:

·        Smarter and more creative

·        More stable and happy marriages

·        Make more money

·        Healthier and live longer

·        Are more generous

summer pictureMany organisations wrongly assume that employees dealing with things like stressful commutes or worrisome family problems can simply check their emotions at the door. Most cannot. But there are steps that both employees and employers can take to reset the bad moods that compromise job performance.

One important way employees can reset a negative mood on their own is by creating an intentional transition. That might mean stopping for a coffee, listening to a favorite piece of music or taking a more scenic route to the office. It Is more than just a feel good strategy, it can set the stage for making a better impression at work.

In terms of relationships and happiness at home, according to a new Brigham Young University study published by researchers Lori Schade and Jonathan Sandberg, romantic couples who text each other with confirming messages (“How are you?” “How’s it going?” “I miss you!” “I feel tingly just thinking about you!!!”) tend to experience greater relationship satisfaction. Confirming messages are best conveyed with an emotional dimension – communicating essentially: “I care about you,” and “You’re important in my life.” In fact, sending affectionate messages to one’s partner yield even greater emotional satisfaction than receiving them.

On the other hand, couples who rely on texting for conflict resolution tend to experience lower relationship satisfaction. When texting, vital verbal, non-verbal and emotional cues are invariably missed, which can severely limit a couple’s ability to reconcile.

What makes you happy and how do you manage work and personal happiness?​

Book Review: Murray Eldridge’s “Leading High Performance”

book cover "leading high performance"A good friend and fellow Non-Executive Director Murray Eldridge, has just launched his new book Leading High Performance.

Over the Easter break, Murray asked me to read and critique the book. Not only was I honoured with such a request, I decide that this week’s blog post should present Murray and a synopsis of his new book.

Murray rowed for Great Britain at Junior World Championship level. He won at Henley and other national competitions. Completing a career at sea as a captain at twenty-nine he embarked on a thirty year business career. He ran companies in China, Singapore, and the UK in oil & gas, and telecoms. He was also active in the water sectors where he remains a shareholder in a desalination company.

Murray runs a consultancy company, carries out board evaluations under the Governance Code, and delivers leadership and strategy workshops for the Institute of Directors. He is a Chartered Director, Chartered Manager, Fellow of the Institute of Management, and an MBA.

Murray’s book provides an excellent and candid summary of the winning principles that rip apart the methods used in many such books, as well as arguments from evidence-based management.

The book focuses not only on leaders, but on the people who work in complex and highly competitive environments. Those environments need people not only to be the best they can be individually, but to cooperate closely over time to secure long-term winning performances.

In sports, coaches are intimately involved in developing athletes, squads, and teams and bring an impressive array of technology and wide-ranging expertise to bear on all aspects of high performance development. There is much that businesses, especially leaders, can learn from coaches and sports.

Leading High Performance takes those elements of sports coaching that are relevant to businesses and shows how the principles of coaching, sports science, training, and even psychology offer tremendous opportunities for achieving high performance in all organisations. It looks at ways in which high performance is achieved in sport and describes, using examples, how this approach develops individuals while encouraging them towards high performance. It then analyses the most relevant ideas and techniques, converting them into easily applicable business models and tools.

The book then goes on to describe how not only leaders, but people in general rely on their connections with other people for business sustainability, that other people can change our very physiology and our emotions, and how people, especially in groups, can inevitably “catch” feelings from one another. This is especially true of the leadership simply because everyone watches the boss. Even when the boss isn’t visible, his or her attitude affects the mood of his direct subordinates, and a domino effect will eventually ripple through the company’s emotional climate. In this way, the author demonstrates the reason a successful leader must be credible at all times.

The last part of the book describes exactly what is required of the high performance leader to effect results, demonstrating through a bespoke methodology, the performance triangle, how leaders can select followers and develop these people in ways that will offer the highest possible chance of achieving high performance in the organization.

In summary; great performance is as much about the belief system and culture in the organization. These beliefs are found in the vision, ethos and values, leadership, the strategy and plans, in people, and importantly that people are trusted to make things happen.

Murray continues to state that if these core attributes are applied to the business then high-performance leaders must have an overwhelming desire to lead – and that the desire to lead must be for the right reasons. It is only through having this overwhelming desire that they will have the energy, enthusiasm, stamina and drive to undertake the unremitting pressure and sustained hard work required to turn an average organisation into a high performing one.

Recommended reading!

Heads-up for my guest blog post

The Financial District in London, UK. Photograph by Geoff Searle.

The Financial District in London, UK. Photograph by Geoff Searle.

I have very exciting news to report!

Remember that on March 10th I sat down with Alice for a Q&A session? We discussed business plans, start-ups, how to support business continuity, and more.

This Q&A was of value to many people. As a result, I got requests to expand a little on some of the issues.

One of those requests came from Alium Partners. They asked me to write a guest blog post for their blog. That guest blog post will be about the current demand for business growth and how interim directors can play a part in the economic recovery.

I will name three challenges for today’s leaders, which skills you need to master, and how to upgrade your talents. You do not want to miss this.

My guest blog post will go live on 9th April. I will post the link here as soon as it is up!

Have a successful week, everyone!

Introducing Geoff

Geoff SearleGeoffrey’s skills and self-motivation gave him the drive, determination and tenacity to continue a journey of hardship to reach inner self fulfilment and finally, success.

He describes his book as the life journey of a young man’s heart and his desire to turn his dreams and vision into a business success. And, he succeeded.