Is there a company of any significant size that doesn’t seek and venerate “employee engagement?” Twelve years ago, a colleague and I wrote a book called “The Power of Full Engagement.” The concept now needs a major overhaul.
Our research encompasses the following themes: vocation, purpose, wholeness, engagement, commitment, meaning, and impact.
A conversation with Emily Esfahani Smith about the relationship between happiness, meaning, and modern life. Happiness isn’t the only kind of fulfillment that we are yearning for these days. As many of us live ever-more isolated from family and neighbors, no longer deeply connected to religion, what we long for is a sense of meaning and community. Journalist Emily Esfahani Smith is the author of the new book The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters, which explores the difference between a deep sense of meaning and a momentary sense of happiness. Ultimately, Smith arrived at four pillars of living a meaningful life: belonging, purpose, transcendence, and storytelling.
When the leaders of the world dispense advice to the next generation, they tend to emphasize the same message: Help others. That was a key theme in almost two-thirds of the talks in a study of graduation speeches at U.S. universities.
Graduates are promised by those who have “made it” that being generous — readily sharing their time, energy, and expertise — will lead to a successful career and a meaningful, happy life. It can, but it doesn’t always. The road to exhaustion is often paved with good intentions.
Organizations aren’t getting the performance they need from their teams. That’s the message we hear from many of our clients, who wrestle with complex challenges ranging from strategic planning to change management. But often, the fault doesn’t lie with the team members, our research suggests. Rather, it rests with leaders who fail to effectively tap diverse work styles and perspectives—even at the senior-most levels. Some managers just don’t recognize how profound the differences between their people are; others don’t know how to manage the gaps and tensions or understand the costs of not doing so. As a result, some of the best ideas go unheard or unrealized, and performance suffers.
Everyone has days when they aren’t performing at the top of their game. I’m no exception. Some days, words flow readily to the page, and I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished. Other days, I stare at the blank page or struggle to come up with insightful ideas.
In the mid-nineteen-seventies, the cognitive psychologist Ellen Langer noticed that elderly people who envisioned themselves as younger versions of themselves often began to feel, and even think, like they had actually become younger. Men with trouble walking quickly were playing touch football. Memories were improving and blood pressure was dropping.
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”— Max Planck, German quantum theorist and Nobel Prize winner
There are two primary mental shifts that occur in the lives of all highly successful people. Many make the first, but very few make the second.
Few topics have received more attention in talent management than motivation, defined as the deliberate attempt to influence employees’ behaviors with the goal of enhancing their performance, and in turn their organizational effectiveness. Indeed, other than talent, motivation is the key driver of job performance, for it determines the level of effort and persistence…
According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, you have a happiness set point. It’s partly encoded in your genes. If something good happens, your sense of happiness rises; if something bad happens, it falls.
But either way, before too long, your mood will creep back to its set point because of a really powerful and perverse phenomenon referred to in science as “hedonic adaptation.” You know, people get used to things.