Productive and Happy? Or, Happy and Productive?


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Over the last 20 years or so I have had my share of debates with senior leaders and even more than my fair share with HR professionals on this very question.

Yesterday, I shared an excerpt from Kevin Kruse’s article, along with one of CSI International’s engagement whitepapers on the causation and correlation that employee engagement has on business results and customer satisfaction / loyalty.

The essence of these emotionally charged conversations around productive and happy or happy and productive stem around a core philosophical value that both I and CSI International share deeply.

That value and hypothesis has been proven over and over again and in my mind is the key to engagement and the key to unlocking all the results that engagement can deliver.

This key is not to run around trying to make your people feel happy. If that was the case we could simply send all of our team to Disneyland and let them spend every day there as we know that is the happiest place on earth!

We all know that is absurd, but yet these same HR professionals and senior leaders spend millions of dollars on surveys and assessments to get a pulse or a baseline of employee engagement and the issues that are preventing them from being “fully engaged.”

I think we have over baked the turkey when it comes to assessing engagement and trying to ensure they have “a best friend at work” today.

What I personally see and experience in organizations both large and small on this continent and all over the world is that what creates engagement and sustainable results is not making people happy, but enabling them.

What I mean by enabling them is ensuring that they have the skills, competencies and career path to excel with customers, to produce outstanding results, and to know if they do those things, they get rewarded, recognized and promoted.

Here is my organizational employee survey that you can do on a cocktail napkin.

1. Are you getting the skills that allow you to excel in serving an internal or external customer?
2. Does your direct supervisor actively remove obstacles or procedures that get in your way of serving an internal or external customer?
3. Do you feel when you produce valued results you are recognized and rewarded?
4. Do you feel people are promoted based on competence and results produced?

Go ahead and try that. We have found simple is always better.

Regardless if you are a senior leader or an HR professional, if you try to make your people feel “happy” you are caught in the B.S. trap. The “behavioral sciences” trap.

Now, if you are an individual contributor you may find yourself in an organization that is stuck in the B.S. trap; assessing, monitoring, doing pulse surveys, but not providing the type of learning that makes you more marketable or actively removing obstacles that get in your way of serving an internal or external customer.

So, if you read that last paragraph and say, “that sounds just like my organization” then I have a secret that will help you be more productive, more marketable and yes, more happy.

For those individuals in organizations that are stuck in the B.S. trap, here is your life preserver and a way for you to rise out of the pack.

They key is for you to realize you gotta be there any way, why not be magnificent?

If you choose to look at every interaction as an opportunity to create delight, and you live out those actions daily, I think you’ll be blown away at how productive and happy you have become. Exactly in that order. Productive first, happy second.

Click here to view the info graphic below:

Be Great

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Peter Psichogios
Peter Psichogios is the President of CSI International Performance Group whose mission is to help companies create engaging employee and customer experiences. Prior to joining CSI International Peter served as an executive member of one of the largest Instructional System Association companies in the world. In this capacity, he led all the front-end analysis and worked directly with Dr. Ken Blanchard. Peter has been fortunate to work with the who's who of the Fortune 500, helping them deliver innovative learning, engagement and recognition solutions.


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