Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 29/2016

My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from (roughly) the last seven days.

New York Times: The Incalculable Value of Finding a Job You Love by Robert Frank


Psychology Today: Why Limit Yourself? by Seth Gillihan


Heleo: Of the Two Kinds of Happiness, This One Will Help You Be More Resilient by Mandy Godwin


Independent: Altruism has more of an evolutionary advantage than selfishness, mathematicians say by Ian Johnston


Aeon: Don’t think too positive by Gabriele Oettingen & Pam Weintraub


Fast Company: This Is The Most Likely Reason Why You Feel Successful But Still Aren’t Happy by Neil Pasricha


The Positive Organization: An Elusive Leadership Skill by Robert Quinn


Weekly Times Now: Mindfulness is becoming more of a priority in Schools by Camille Smith


International Business Times: Reading books and watching films makes you kinder in real life by Léa Surugue


Greater Good Science Center: Why Your Office Needs More Nature by Jill Suttie

Positive Psychology News Digest

Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 28/2016

My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from (roughly) the last seven days.

Atlantic: Can this app make me happier? by Julie Beck


Positive Psychology News Daily: Are There Items on Today’s To-Do List that Bring You Joy? by Kathryn Britton


Esquire: 6 Surprising Things Science Says Will Make You Happy by Olivia Ovenden


Telegraph: Should happiness be part of the school curriculum? by Olivia Parker


Huffington Post: Can Your Building Make You Healthier? by Dan Probst


The Positive Organization: Denial and Reality by Robert Quinn


ABC: Connecting the dots between happiness and a sense of meaning by Sophie Scott


USA Today: Educators see gold in Pokémon Go by Greg Toppo


Time: Practice doesn’t make perfect, actually by Zachary Hambrick & Fredrik Ullén


Heleo: Scott Barry Kaufman and Sarah Lewis on the Art and Science of Creativity, no author

Positive Psychology News Digest

Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 24/2016

My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from (roughly) the last seven days.

Wall Street Journal: Steps to turn off the nagging self-doubt in your head by Elizabeth Bernstein


PsyBlog: 4 Personality Traits That Affect How Long You Will Live by Jeremy Dean


Psychology Today: How Trauma Can Lead to Positive Change by Susanna Halonen


ERE Media: Building A Positive Culture In An Atmosphere of Fear by Derek Irvine


Psychology Today: Can Too Much Meaning at Work Be Harmful? by Michelle McQuaid


Inc: This is the Secret Sauce for Happy Employees by Shawn Murphy


The Positive Organization: On Being Other-Focused by Robert Quinn


The Positive Organization: The Power of Authenticity by Robert Quinn


Atlantic: How Kids Learn Resilience by Paul Tough


Harvard Business Review: Lessons from Companies That Put Purpose Ahead of Short-Term Profits by Andrew White

IMG_7977-5

I’m still Up-Lifted…

I’m still so much “in love” with Lift, a leadership book by Ryan & Robert Quinn that I’ve already written about a couple of days ago. It’s just brilliant. Actually, I want to take a marker and then just underline the whole book – but I guess that would be kind of stupid. So, for today, I’d just like to share with you passage on being other-focused:

“[M]ost people find that when they become other-focused they do not lose themselves; instead, they become their best selves. They like who they become when they care about others. This makes sense when we realize that our identities are inseparable from our relationships with others. We are social creatures, biologically wired to empathize with each other. Becoming other-focused does not eliminate our unique characteristics, it draws on our unique characteristics to help us make more or our relationships.”

Lift - Mappalicious 

Lift! On Leading with Purpose

Most managers behave as if they were still in high school. The primary goal is not being laughed at.

This sentence resonates with/in me ever since I’ve heard it three days ago. Professor Robert Quinn, co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizations at the Ross School of Business (Michigan) coined it during a workshop on building positive cultures which was part of the Positive Business Conference 2016.

This is, of course, not the first time someone explained to me that most organizations create an atmosphere of (more or less) constant fear. But I have learned over the years that, in order to really grasp a “thing”, somebody has to present it to you at the right time in just the right words.

LiftI was so impressed after the workshop that I instantly bought his book Lift: The Fundamental State of Leadership (co-authored with his son Ryan) at the book table and devoured it on the plane back home from Detroit to Frankfurt, Germany. And what can I say? It´s one of the best books on leadership I´ve ever read.

Truth be told: I read a lot of management and psychology books (broadly speaking) and most authors on interpersonal leadership leave me rather unimpressed. I´m a senior human resources manager working in the headquarter of a multinational organization of 120,000 people, leading a team across two continents, additionally being responsible for groups of people that are part of our international trainee programs, and coordinating the efforts of multiple agencies that support us in recruiting and employer branding.

Against this backdrop, I can honestly say: Leadership is not easy. It doesn´t come down to checklists and simple recipes. Instead, it can be immensely taxing and challenging: It´s hard work. That´s why I enjoy leadership books that acknowledge and appreciate this basic condition.

Lift - Psychological States - QuinnRobert Quinn´s “Lift” is such a book. It draws on a useful metaphor from aerodynamics (the dynamic that makes objects fly even though they are heavier than air) but more importantly, is grounded in decades of top-tier research. The framework that serves as the outline of the book is based on an influential article in the journal Management Science from 1983, A Spatial Model of Effectiveness Criteria: Towards a Competing Values Approach to Organizational Analysis that aims at describing the basic dimensions of organizational effectiveness.

Quinn takes this framework and uses it to outline four corresponding psychological states of leadership: Purpose-centered, internally directed, other-focused, and externally open. This is the crucial point that differentiates “Lift” from most other leaderships books: It doesn´t tell (aspiring) leaders what to do on a concrete level. Instead, it serves to cultivate a certain mindset, a stance, a leadership conduct – what the author terms the fundamental state of leadership.

The author proposes we can enter this special mindset when we (implicitly or explicitly) apply a set of questions to given leadership situations, especially those that bear potential for resistance and conflict. These questions correspond to the four quadrants of the effectiveness/psychological states model.

  1. What results do I want to create? (objective: becoming less comfort-centered and more purpose-centered).
  2. What would my story be if I were living the values I expect of others? (objective: becoming less externally directed and more internally directed).
  3. How do others feel about this situation? (objective: becoming less self-focused and more other-focused).
  4. What are three or more strategies I could try in learning how to accomplish my purpose? (objective: becoming less internally closed and more externally open).

If you want to hear a short summary in Quinn´s own word, here you go:

For me, an added value of the book is that it provides a very clear definition of an individual purpose. I´ve been struggling with that concept for quite a while now. I know I will have to sharpen mine in order to live up to my full potential – but most of what I´ve read so far has left me irresolute. Here´s what Quinn proposes:

When people are purposed-centered,

  1. they envision and pursue extraordinarily results that are not constrained by previous expectations or by expectations that they receive from others;
  2. the results they pursue are energizing because they are self-chosen, challenging, and constructive;
  3. they provide a clear definition of the situation, focusing people´s attention.

Most management books I read – whether I enjoyed them or not – don’t nudge me to do anything differently afterwards. I put them in a shelf and hope, at best, to remember one or two good ideas.

With “Lift”, it´s a different story. I have already printed out the four questions and I will stick them to the computer screen in my office next Monday. And I will use the aforementioned definition to further mold my individual purpose.

Share and enjoy!

P.S.
To learn more, you might want to watch Quinn´s 2013 TEDX talk.

Passion. Purpose. Performance. Positive Business Conference (Day 1)

I’m absolutely thrilled to be at the University of Michigan, attending this year’s Positive Business Conference at Ross School of Business.This post is my personal summary of the conference’s first day, brought to you via some of the tweets I’ve put out there…

Prof. Vic Strecher shared some really intriguing upsides of having a strong purpose in life. More importantly, you should check out his fabulous app JOOL.

Prof. Jane Dutton had me change my mind on using the term rockstar only in contexts that involve electric guitars. She shared with us her Flourishing Triangle framework of organizational effectiveness.

I was equally thrilled to be able to learn directly from Prof. Alex Edmans, whose work on the financial impact of treating employees exceptionally well has been covered extensively on Mappalicious.

Prof. Joe Arvai shared some incredible research on how to help consumers make more ethical buying decisions. E.g., why is that we can consciously choose from what part of the world our coffee comes from (and how it was cultivated) – but not with regard to our gasoline? And what if we could

After lunch, I was thrilled to have the opportunity of attending a workshop led by Prof. Robert Quinn whose blog posts I share frequently via my Positive Psychology News Digests.

Once more it became clear to me that we do not really understand “a thing” (even if we’ve heard about it a lot of times) until somebody explains it to us in the exactly right words at the right time.

When you’re in the right space, the smartest “person” in the room is the room itself.

Jim Miller, VP at Google, shared insights on the special culture that drives the incredible success of the company.

Of course, there were more sessions, and more speakers, and an abundance of inspiring conversations while having delicious food – but I cannot cover it all here.

Yet, one last thing I found out is this:

Share and enjoy!

Positive Business Conference

Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 19/2016

My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from (roughly) the last seven days.

Guardian: Is grit the true secret of success? by Paula Cocozza


Quartz: The key to happiness at work isn’t money–it’s autonomy by Bell Beth Cooper


New York Magazine: Don’t Believe the Hype About Grit, Pleads the Scientist Behind the Concept by Melissa Dahl


NPR: How To Teach Children That Failure Is The Secret To Success by Tara Haelle


Scientific American: Review of ‘Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance’ by Scott Barry Kaufman


Greater Good Science Center: Why Do We Feel Awe? by Dacher Keltner


Atlantic: Self-esteem doesn’t work. Try self-compassion instead by Olga Khazan


Greater Good Science Center: Happy People Don´€™t Need to Feel Superior by Kira M. Newman


The Positive Organization: Adaptive Confidence by Robert Quinn


New York Magazine: You Could Probably Lift a Car, If You Really Needed To by Cari Romm


Harvard Business Review: Creative Job Titles Can Energize Workers, no author, yet feat. Adam Grant

News Digest - Mappalicious

A Positive Approach to Organizational Tensions

Pos_Org_QuinnI know I probably should be talking about Adam Grant´s Originals (I did…) or Angela Duckworth´s Grit (I will…) these days, but instead, today, I´d like to point you towards another superb book: The Positive Organization by Robert Quinn.

Robert is professor at the University of Michigan and serves on the faculty of Organization and Management at the Ross Business School. He is one of the co-founders and of the Center for Positive Organizations and author several bestsellers on management.

Description of the book (taken from the book´s wrapper):

The problem is that leaders are following a negative and constraining “mental map” that insists organizations must be rigid, top-down hierarchies and that the people in them are driven mainly by self-interest and fear. But leaders can adopt a different mental map, one where organizations are networks of fluid, evolving relationships and where people are motivated by a desire to grow, learn, and serve a larger goal. Using dozens of memorable stories, Quinn describes specific actions leaders can take to facilitate the emergence of this organizational culture—helping people gain a sense of purpose, engage in authentic conversations, see new possibilities, and sacrifice for the common good.

The book includes the Positive Organization Generator, a tool that provides 100 real-life practices from positive organizations and helps you reinvent them to fit your specific needs. With the POG you can identify and implement the practices that will have the greatest impact on your organization.

For me, the most intriguing part of the book is Quinn´s proposition to see organizations not as more or less static entities, but rather as a systems of tensions. This figure provides a nice overview:

Quinn_Org_Tensions.png

The remainder of the book is equally valuable. If you´re looking for management book that is based on solid science (Positive Organizational Scholarship) and yet offers jargon-free language and actionable ideas, “The Positive Organization” is for you.

Positive Psychology News Digest on Mappalicious | No. 14/2016

My favorite pieces covering Positive Psychology and adjacent from (roughly) the last seven days:

Center for Positive Organizations: Understanding positive business: Learning how to lead by Sue Ashford


Economist: Your employees wish you were emotionally intelligent by Natalie Baker


Center for Positive Organizations: Respectful engagement cultivates higher levels of creativity by Jane Dutton et al.


Psychology Today: The Shortcut to Finding Pleasure from Pain by Todd Kashdan


Huffington Post (Lifestyle): Simplicity, Free Time and Pursuing Your Passions by Taylor Kreiss


The Positive Organization: The Power of Self-Change via Robert Quinn


Vox: How scientists fell in and out of love with the hormone oxytocin by Brian Resnick


New York Times: The Keys to Happiness by Victoria Shannon


Forbes: Living Life With Renewed Energy: The Purpose Of Purpose by Brett Steenbarger


Huffington Post: 6 Quick Steps for Finding Your Company’s Authentic Purpose by Vic Strecher

News Digest - Mappalicious