What happens when organizations strive to bring happiness and humanity together for people, purpose, and profits? This is the question we posed in our October 2022 "Booksgiving Campaign." We asked people to nominate leaders and organizations that were ready to move Beyond Happiness to create better workplaces for all.
We received several entries across healthcare, government, tech, and small business industries. These teams lived the lessons from Beyond Happiness: How Authentic Leaders Can Prioritize Purpose and People for Growth and Impact [BH]. Some stated they were working on integrating purpose and positivity into their workplace to create a culture where all thrive. Others sought to understand what works well and how to work together to achieve an ideal workspace. And a few attended one of Jenn Lim's Keynotes and were inspired by the Greenhouse Model to nurture themselves first so that they can provide the best care for their teams and clients.
The five randomly selected winners received free copies of BH for their organization plus a one-on-one "Ask Jenn Lim Anything" virtual session. We recently held our first session with the City of San Jose, CA, The Capital of Silicon Valley. In their nomination, they expressed a desire to learn from "Jenn's inspirational research and wisdom to inspire the city's leaders, rising stars, doers, and influencers to cultivate and deliver improved happiness at work, for everyone, through an intentional focus on values, purpose, and authenticity."
The City of San Jose invited Jenn to join their first Monthly Mentorship sessions of 2023, in which the focus was Me, We, Community. Here are a few highlights Jenn touched on:
People are people; not to oversimplify things, but there's a core of humanity in every culture around the world. Instead of focusing on what divides us, we should focus on what unites us. That's why purpose and values are an important fundamental part of growing and building a strong culture. In some ways, it's natural for people to want to be told what to do, but when it's too open, there's a bit of doubt and uncertainty.
Two things to focus on: Number one is walking the talk. When leaders and managers do what they're saying, it opens a sense of trust and psychological safety to testing new things. The second thing, there needs to be more clarity about self-management. It seems everyone can do what they want, but that's not the case. There's agency and trust in believing everyone will do the right thing. But there needs to be rigor at the same time. Without rigor or some structure, it just becomes a loose cannon across the organization. Creating the scaffolding which comes with purpose and values, if the organization is aligned on purpose, if you're individual teams are aligned, we're not just acknowledging or rewarding when people are doing their skills right, we are doing this when they're living their values.
There are many layers of complexity beneath what this can mean because some people can't be remote at all, while others can. Sometimes there is tension there between those that can and can't. Whichever one we choose, the biggest thing is leaders and colleagues need to actively ask and continue asking how it's working because, let's be real, no one has completely figured it out. It's all been a test, which depends on the conditions of that particular environment and the people that work there. So what works at Google will likely not work with you—being able to ask and listen attentively, not assume that we know the answers. The most successful organizations can adapt and keep adapting as people and teams try new things.
This is tied to one of the exercises in BH called the Happiness Heartbeats. We've used this exercise for 12 years, but since COVID, it has gotten even more popular and meaningful. We all get those moments of low. What is revealing about this exercise is we're looking at your own life and work to identify your highs and lows. You're the star of your own show. When you pull out those highs and lows and start identifying what happened and the values that were either present or not in those situations, you can begin to carry those values in the most difficult decisions and times of life. And at the same time, be able to reflect on your own lows, how you got out of them, and what you were feeling. How did you get to your next high? That surpassed any self-help book because when you dig deep into what you personally saw that you got out of whatever low you were in, you realize you have grit, you're resilient, and a sense of I can do this.
We, as leaders, are so natural at growing and nurturing others. But please never forget to grow and tend to what nurtures you. Be the scientist in testing new things because someone's meditation differs from another's walk in the park or a cup of tea. Now's the time to test it on yourself because it's much more empowering what you can do for others when you're feeling grounded, solid, and growing yourself.