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What Happy Companies Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Company for the Better
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What Happy Companies Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Company for the Better

by Dan Baker
 

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Happy companies are winning companies. Well-adjusted, psychologically healthy companies collaborate better. They innovate more effectively. They change faster. They see reality with exceptional clarity, but they know how to address it positively. They uncover opportunities where others fixate on obstacles and blame. What Happy Companies Know reveals the five

Overview

Happy companies are winning companies. Well-adjusted, psychologically healthy companies collaborate better. They innovate more effectively. They change faster. They see reality with exceptional clarity, but they know how to address it positively. They uncover opportunities where others fixate on obstacles and blame. What Happy Companies Know reveals the five crucial elements that happy companies share in common... and shows how to lead any company to happiness! This book reflects the experiences of the world's best companies, as well as the latest scientific research. Drawing on case studies from dozens of great businesses and exceptional leaders, this book's authors offer a complete blueprint, practical tools, and proven best practices for achieving organizational happiness and breakthrough performance. This book shows readers how to build a company where individuals at every level can apply their diverse strengths towards shared goals that are meaningful, positive, and profitable.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Penned by three successful psychology and business writers, including the author of the worldwide bestseller, What Happy People Know , this book presents a strong case for introducing the new science of organizational happiness into the workplace.

Because motivated employees are the keystone to business success, companies built around people, positive mindsets and long-term goals consistently out-perform unhappy companies. Illustrated with examples of positive and successful businesses, this book will teach readers how to apply the principles, priorities and motivation of happy companies to their own organizations. Filled with practical ways to master “the softer side” of business, this guide will help employers effectively implement change and produce more cooperative, innovative and dedicated employees. One of the most convincing aspects is the discussion of the evolutionary and behavioral science on which the “science of happiness” premise is based. Thanks to the authors’ thorough research and accessible style, readers will understand not just how to improve their companies, but why it’s necessary.

Original and intelligent–a “complete blueprint” for building a happy and successful organization.

--Kirkus Reports, Vol. 3, Issue 3 (March 31, 2006)

Distinguished by optimism and honesty, a happy company has a "culture in which personal respect, appreciation, and trust become a major reason for its business success." Employees won't need to sing "kumbaya" to accomplish this, assert the authors of this persuasive and encouraging if dense guide. But promoting "happiness" may result in an innovative, collaborative company with employees who are relatively stress-free and attuned to opportunity-plus, happiness will promote the bottom line. Baker (a psychologist and coauthor ofWhat Happy People Know ), Greenberg (a leadership coach) and Hemingway (a business writer and coauthor with Bill Gates ofBusiness @ the Speed of Thought ) investigate the underlying emotional, psychological and even neurological influences on good and bad business practices. Beginning with an examination of fear and aggression as motivators for negative or even passive business decisions, the book later delves into topics including strategies for combating stress both personally and as an organization, employing humility in leadership and developing emotional intelligence. This book is relevant to both the CEO concerned with motivating workers and the employee figuring out how to improve personal coping skills.(June 6)

--Publisher's Weekly (4/17 Issue)

Copyright © 1997-2005 Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly
Distinguished by optimism and honesty, a happy company has a "culture in which personal respect, appreciation, and trust become a major reason for its business success." Employees won't need to sing "kumbaya" to accomplish this, assert the authors of this persuasive and encouraging if dense guide. But promoting "happiness" may result in an innovative, collaborative company with employees who are relatively stress-free and attuned to opportunity-plus, happiness will promote the bottom line. Baker (a psychologist and coauthor of What Happy People Know), Greenberg (a leadership coach) and Hemingway (a business writer and coauthor with Bill Gates of Business @ the Speed of Thought) investigate the underlying emotional, psychological and even neurological influences on good and bad business practices. Beginning with an examination of fear and aggression as motivators for negative or even passive business decisions, the book later delves into topics including strategies for combating stress both personally and as an organization, employing humility in leadership and developing emotional intelligence. This book is relevant to both the CEO concerned with motivating workers and the employee figuring out how to improve personal coping skills. (June 6) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Suggesting that most unethical or poor business decisions are made by people who are unhappy or fearful of failure, Baker (founding director, Canyon Ranch Life Enhancement Program), Cathy Greenberg (cofounder, Accenture Inst. for Strategic Change; coauthor, Global Leadership), and Collins Hemingway (coauthor with Bill Gates, Business @ the Speed of Thought) offer an array of biological and social research findings to prove that a happy company, which "distinguishes reality through a positive lens," will be more successful. Many of this book's tenets, including the importance of overcoming negativity, were first explored in Baker's What Happy People Know, coauthored with Cameron Stauth. Each chapter is a dense compendium of information on subjects not often discussed in business literature, including brain functions and evolutionary biology. Also included are numerous references to popular and business sources (from Survivor to Warren Buffett) and corporate case studies (from Arthur Andersen to Visa). The first half of the book explores the biological roots of fearful personal and organizational behavior, while the second half offers suggestions for change (in accordance with the acronym HAPIE: leadership that is Humble, Adaptive, seeks Profit for all, Invigorates shareholders, and is Engaged). Although this is an interesting book, it may offer more science and fewer blueprints for change than business readers expect. Recommended for larger public or business libraries only.-Sarah Statz Cords, Madison P.L., WI Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Does a happy company have to partake in handholding and the sharing of personal feelings? Absolutely not, according to Baker, Greenberg and Hemingway, three professionals who have unique but relevant backgrounds that have provided a new way for companies to regard reality in a positive way, while remaining down to earth. By using the new science of happiness, the authors present tools and practices for making any company a happy company. Copyright © 2006 Soundview Executive Book Summaries

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780137011681
Publisher:
FT Press
Publication date:
05/22/2006
Pages:
320
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.80(d)

Read an Excerpt

ForewordForeword

When Sigmund Freud was asked what constitutes a successful life, he answered, “Lieben und arbiten”—love and work. Taking his concept into business, what constitutes a successful organization? The answer is, people who love their work and who love the organizations they work for. Business success depends on highly motivated employees. Highly motivated employees multiply in organizations whose missions, leaders, and inner workings provide profound meaning and inspiration.

Yet many companies plod along with uninspiring leaders and uninspired employees. Many companies provide little motivation or the wrong motivation. They make short-term decisions, undermining employee morale and the organization’s future. The worst of them stampede into the kind of misdeeds and corruption that have been trumpeted in many news stories. These ongoing corporate debacles have had devastating impacts on the people in the organizations and repercussions that ripple through society as a whole. The damage is more than economic. It is also the loss of public trust in business and its leaders. Consumers, regulators, and business leaders are searching for ways to change such unhappy behavior, which expresses itself in everything from dreary work for individuals to personal conflicts between individuals and teams to outright criminality by the organization as a whole.

My own half-century sojourn of inquiry, study, scholarship, and practice in business has led me to understand a compelling paradox. When business leaders focus strictly on the bottom line, they are more likely to misbehave in an effort to achieve results, and they are also less likely to achieve good results even if they do not misbehave. Business leaders who address more than the bottom line avoid ethical lapses and are also far more effective at maintaining healthy bottom lines. They make their organizations ones that employees are proud to be a part of. They make their organizations a positive part of the overall community.

Such exemplary leaders have similar attributes. Driven by character, great leaders create meaning and trust, hope and optimism— and results. Three authors—Dan Baker, Cathy Greenberg, and Collins Hemingway—have combined their considerable talents to write a book that describes how you can develop such capabilities for yourself and for employees at all levels within your organization. They show how “mastery of the softer side” of business—my own phrase for people skills, good taste, judgment, and character—can improve business performance. They give practical examples of how to develop such attributes and apply them in the many situations that businesspeople confront every day. What Happy Companies Know: How the New Science of Happiness Can Change Your Company for the Better examines the underlying motivations and psychologies of outstanding companies and demonstrates how those positive mindsets can take hold in other organizations to transform their character and their fortunes.

Together, the three authors—Baker, a medical psychologist and a pioneer in applied positive psychology; Greenberg, a former partner in two of the world’s largest consulting organizations, an anthropologist, and now a respected executive coach; and Hemingway, a seasoned business professional and author—show the enormous potential that comes when businesses, indeed all organizations, adopt a “happy” mindset. As they define it, happiness is a mature, considered, positive outlook coupled with a search for meaning and self-fulfillment, the same sense used by America’s founding fathers when they established a new country dedicated to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Happiness creates enormous potential such as that unleashed when companies switch from trying to fix what is wrong within their operations to discovering the possibilities that emerge from what is right within their operations.

For many decades, business schools and business organizations have focused on numbers-oriented disciplines, such things as production and finance and return on investment. The authors propose that the new science of happiness adds a missing dimension that enables organizations to fully realize their return on people— on their talents, their passion, their interests, their knowledge. Far from a frivolous or secondary concern, happiness is the secret sauce to success that so many businesses seek everywhere except within the human beings inside their walls.

Among the elements of the new science of happiness, first and foremost is positive psychology applied to organizations—the study of strengths, best practices, character, and virtue in an organizational setting. Bio-evolutionary theory provides new insight into why humans react as they do under stress and how proper leadership can alter human behavior from the most self-serving to the most civil, noble, and altruistic. From organizational development comes the application of appreciative inquiry, a process that delves into the question of what gives life to an organization.

Among many new psychological instruments are the Benchmark of Organizational Intelligence (BOEI), which gauges the emotional intelligence of an organization as a whole, and various motivational profiling tools that evaluate not only how people function in organizations but also why—and how people with differing motivations can learn to work harmoniously together. Also, the latest in neurology and a fascinating new science known as cardio-neurology show how the coherence generated by positive emotion and positive thought unleashes creativity and imagination in ways that dramatically improve personal health and corporate productivity.

Although covering these topics in depth, What Happy Companies Know is no dry scientific treatise or abstract psychological discourse. The new science of happiness is always presented in a lively discussion of the real things businesses do: the real-world concerns, the day-to-day emotions, the hard decisions, and the tough actions. Baker, Greenberg, and Hemingway, with unique yet interlocking skills, bring nearly 80 years of accumulated experience to guide the reader in understanding how to create a constructive corporate culture in meaningful, measurable, and practical ways.

What Happy Companies Know takes you on a journey that describes human behavior and how it typically manifests itself in business, describes how that behavior can be changed for the better, and culminates in numerous examples of how that better behavior leads to improved financial results. The early chapters explain the behavior of unhappy people and unhappy business cultures through examples, many of which are “ripped from the headlines.” Showing that reactive, short-term decision making is hard-wired into us as an early biological adaptation that kept us alive in a hostile physical world, the authors demonstrate how such fear-based behaviors cause disaster after disaster in modern business.

Succeeding chapters contrast the self-limiting nature of reflexive behaviors with a myriad of healthy and happy behaviors that successful companies exhibit in outperforming their more macho counterparts. Because happy companies work from the highest level of consciousness and cooperation, they show consistent patterns of innovation, creativity, and strong financial postings. Chapters 12 and 13 in particular provide the more rigorous data supporting the thesis that “happy” means profitable.

The authors show how the values, visions, ethics, and cultures of such businesses call upon what is best and highest in human conduct, what is most moral, and what most unlocks the creativity and talents of their employees. They show how to engage the “whole-brain” functions that are at the disposal of every person in every organization. From these examples, the book develops the principles, practices, and tools that enable every company to become a happy one.

Several years ago, I wrote that effective leaders understand that there is no difference between becoming an effective leader and becoming a fully integrated human being. What Happy Companies Know extends that idea to the entire organization. It demonstrates the power of an entire organization whose people have become fully integrated human beings working cooperatively. The authors demonstrate that the real power of good business goes beyond the creation of jobs, products and services, and consumer value. A happy company transforms its people in ways that benefit them as individuals and society as a whole.

Dr. Warren Bennis Distinguished Professor Marshall School of Business, University of Southern California

Meet the Author

Three professionals with unique yet overlapping backgrounds have come together to create a book that will change the way America does business. Dan Baker, a medical psychologist, has spent his life counseling business leaders and organizations and is a pioneer in applied positive psychology. Cathy Greenberg, a trained anthropologist, has been a partner with two of the world’s largest consulting firms and is among the country’s most respected executive coaches and leadership trainers. Collins Hemingway, a business professional and highly regarded author, brings 25 years of experience in a variety of challenging management positions.

Dan Baker, Ph.D., is founding director of the Canyon Ranch Life Enhancement Program. Since 1988, his mission has been to engage guests of Canyon Ranch—some of the world’s highest-achieving people—in emotionally connecting with their well being. He often coaches and consults with CEOs, corporate officers, and their organizations. An adjunct lecturer at the University of Arizona Medical College, he has also facilitated and taught at Harvard Business School.

Cathy Greenberg, Ph.D., specializes in executive coaching, eLeadership, and personal and organizational transformation. Cathy served as a founding partner of Accenture’s Institute for Strategic Change and was the founder and executive director of the Institute for Strategic Leadership, LeBow College of Business at Drexel University. A contributor to many articles and books, she is the co-author of Global Leadership: The Next Generation with Marshall Goldsmith.

Collins Hemingway, MA, who served as director of business development and international marketing for Microsoft’s fastest-growing division, is best known for partnering with Microsoft CEO Bill Gates to co-author the #1 best-selling book Business @ the Speed of Thought. He is also co-author of Built for Growth, the most thorough book on creating, establishing, and renewing retail brands. Collins is an executive coach and marketing consultant.

Greenberg and Baker are co-founders of h2c—Happy People, Healthy Companies—the first organization to specialize in coaching leaders on the art and science of building happy, high-performance companies.

Brief Biography

Date of Birth:
1955
Date of Death:
May 22, 2003

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