Tracking Our Happiness – My experience + an exercise for leaders

So I am at Day 4 of measuring my happiness as I participate in the Happiness Research project of Matthew Killingsworth (my last post referenced his article in the Jan/Feb 2012 Harvard Business Review – which I will call HBR from this point on).  One of my blog readers followed suit and shared that the 3x a day reminders were making him angry – which made me smile, so the study is working for me.  I am guessing we will balance each other out in the research. 🙂

Here is what I have noticed:

  • The goal is not about being happy all the time, that is impossible.
  • When I stop to think about it, it makes a difference on how I feel.
  • I get annoyed by the emails – then I remember I asked to be part of it, so I laugh at myself and do it.

This might be a fun experience with a group of managers.

First: Present the opportunity to a group of people and ask for 3 volunteers to participate and own reporting back (sorry, they must have iphones).

Second: It is about a 15 day study, so (as the organizer) email them every 3 days and ask them to send you a quick email (1-2 minutes) answering the question “What a-ha moments have you had in the last three days being part of this study and watching your happiness?”

Third: Set aside an hour with the whole group to process the topic.  As preparation, ask the group to read the article The Science Behind the Smile from HBR Jan/Feb 2012.  For the three volunteers – ask specific questions about what were some of the things that impacted them from the outside (what they were doing? other people? events?) and how what they were doing had an impact?  The agenda might look like this:

1.  Share what you learned (3 peopole) – 15 minutes

2. Brainstorm / Discussion:  What we do as individuals to achieve more happiness today?  Draw a line and ask what we learned that we could/should do more of to increase happiness?  What jumps out at me when I look at this list? (go around the room)? – 15 minutes

3.  Brainstorm / Discussion:  What do we do as leaders do to increase the happiness in our workplace today?  What are some things we could do?  What jumps out at me when I look at this list (go around the room) – 15 minutes

4.  Wrap-up:  What is one thing I am going to do differently for myself or my team? Be specific, and partner people up as partners for success – 15 minutes

FYI – Remember talent management is about conversations, not training.  Leaders getting together to share observations/experiences, make little changes on how they manage themselves/others, and partnering to support each other is like training – but better, and less expensive. 🙂