Tuesday, August 2, 2011

What Makes People Happy?

Tony Hsieh of Zappos fame, has shared some great information about the psychology of happiness in his newish book - Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose.  You should read it!

This online shoe store turned consumer goods marketplace, which "got married" to Amazon in 2009, has been lauded for it's exceptional customer service and employee relations programs.

While there are MANY differences between selling Nike sneakers and selling social change, a lot of Tony's ideas about how to create high-performing and HAPPY teams are applicable to nonprofits. 

Here are the highlights.  Steal away!

According to Tony, people need 4 things to be happy.

1. Control - People need to have a sense of authority over their work.  What this means for you. Set clear guidelines for what needs to get done, why and when and then get out of the way!

2. Progress - People need to feel like they are moving the needle.  What this means for you.  Do quarterly instead of annual reviews, be curious about and responsive to your employee's dreams.

3. Connectedness - According to Tony, "studies have shown that engaged employees are more productive and that the number of good friends an employee has at work is correlated with how engaged that employee is." What this means for you. In addition, to ensuring that new hires have the right skills for the job, ensure that they are the right culture fit!  Also, create opportunities for your employees to connect inside and outside of work. 

4. Meaning - People are motivated to create MEANING in the world.  You already know this, but once their basic needs are met, "humans are more motivated by other non-materialistic needs such as social status, achievement, and creativity."  What this means for you.  Keep the VISION of your organization front and center for you and everyone else.  While achieving fundraising goals, recruiting new supporters and getting covered in The Times is great, in the end of the day, most of us are motivated by making REAL CHANGE in the world. Don't forget to make meaning!




Richard Kent Matthews said...

Thanks for sharing and allowing the stealing. I have posted this entry on my blog and have given both you and Zappos full credit. Good stuff. Thanks again.

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