Happiness sits atop the pinnacle of human needs and is the ultimate goal behind our lives' endeavors.
Even an entrepreneur’s relentless quest for a thriving business is fueled by the belief that his or her business will lead to happiness. But what if, instead of happiness being your destination, it played a role while you were growing your business? There is certainly evidence of success among brands that focus on an ideal which goes beyond the product and service they sell.
I recently discovered a whole set of such companies, all dedicated to teaching businesses how to use happiness in their business models.
One of them was Delivering Happiness. I had an inspiring chat with the company's "chief happiness officer," Jenn Lim. Turns out that applying happiness is not about simply having great service or needing to be content all the time, as Lim told me. Instead, applying happiness means making this value intentional in the culture and experiencing it in daily activities, all of which are translated into better results.
Here are five steps to create your own happiness culture:
1. Commit to building the right culture.
If you want to build a long-term, sustainable brand, commit to building the right culture. Whether you root your business in happiness or another positive value, make your main objective one of generating the well-being of the customers you serve and the well-being of your employees. Demonstrate your intent by committing the time and financial resources to make these aims a core pillar of your business. Make a personal commitment to live, learn and build such a culture.
2. Define your core values.
Every individual has his or her own set of values, rooted in their upbringing, experiences and beliefs. If you are an entrepreneur, you are likely to instill your own values into your company. But don’t leave your employees guessing what those values are; take a stab at articulating them. First, write down your personal values and then those that you want your company to reflect.
How closely do they align? Establish core values that you can embody. Employees will appreciate your being real and transparent; and that appreciation will support the difference your business intends to make in the world.
3. Make each person feel like a part of a larger ideal.
Working for a meaningful purpose is more rewarding than for a monetary reward. Hopefully, the product or service you sell truly solves consumer needs, but if that is not obvious to your employees, they will likely be somewhat transactional and disengaged. What is the larger vision and greater purpose that you want to promote in your employees beyond money or profit?
As an entrepreneur, what would you be passionate about doing if you didn’t fear failure and didn’t make money for the next 10 years? Answer these questions to learn the bigger ideal for your business. Then make all your employees feel like part of it, so they can work passionately behind it.
4. Create a culture of positive interdependence
Employees that get along are more likely to find common solutions to problems and reduce the stress of the internal transactions needed to get their work done. Spend some time thinking about the kind of environment and communication that can help you and employees build meaningful relationships. The goal is to create connectedness among employees so they have a positive reliance with and support for one other.
The output of a fulfilled team will translate into better customer interactions, better products and better ideas, which in turn will attract more new clients, more business opportunities and better recruits.
5. Build the right team and invest.
I believe in the premise of “hire slowly, fire quickly,” as it aptly describes the hard task of building the right team. It’s hard to find the right people, and equally hard to let people go. Yet you have to do both for the benefit of the team.
Use your well-defined set of values as filters to hire the best candidates who will not only embrace your culture but also help grow it. Once you have the right team members in place, invest in their personal development and share the wealth of your business with them via the appropriate rewards and recognition. Make success possible for everybody.
The culture of happiness can be seriously good for business. If you own a business or are trying to build a stronger brand, begin by committing to building the right culture and bringing happiness as a value more consistently into everything you do: how you lead, your intent for the products you sell and your treatment of your employees. Imagine how much businesses would soar if we all became the "chief happiness officers" of our work!