From Positive Emotions to Collective Growth: A New Vision for Organizational Success
I've been fascinated by the link between wellness and work—how feeling good can actually make us work better — for a long time. If you've followed my previous posts and videocasts, you know this passion runs deep.
Then, I stumbled upon Professor Amy Young's incredible insights at my old stomping ground, the Ross School of Business. I was so blown away that I had to bring her wisdom directly to our vibrant community of the University of Michigan Alumni Association in Silicon Valley through a virtual chat.
Trust me, the insights she shared are game-changers. You won't want to miss this if you're looking to transform your work environment and boost your productivity. Let's jump right in!
Amy's professional journey began with a focus on individual psychological health as a researcher. However, she soon realized the transformative potential of altering the workplace environment to support a larger demographic, so she teaches BBAs, and MBAs, and does research and consulting for various organizations. By fostering a supportive environment where tasks can be efficiently executed, we stand a chance to uplift countless lives.
Recognizing and Addressing Functional vs. Flourishing Organizations
Amy elaborated on the distinction between functional organizations, which are merely "good enough", and flourishing ones, which take their performance and well-being to the next level.
Implementing her 'Flourishing Triangle' model, Amy emphasizes the three pillars: positive emotions, positive meaning, and positive relationships. She explains the neurological process that explains how making positive emotions, relationships, and meaning an intentional part of one's daily routine, leads to the creation of emotional and relational energy, which in turn, promotes thriving in the workplace.
Research conducted at the Center for Positive Organizations at the University of Michigan underscores the potential of the Flourishing Triangle. Outcomes linked to its application include improved employee engagement, job satisfaction, team cohesion, innovation, customer satisfaction, and even financial performance.
Understanding and Amplifying Positive Emotions
Challenging conventional psychological notions, Amy underscored the importance of cultivating positive emotions over merely alleviating negative ones. These positive emotions expand attention, creativity, and cognitive flexibility. In her model, well-being drives performance, reshaping our understanding of energy and functionality. Furthermore, positive emotions have direct physical health benefits.
Amy's advice for individuals is to focus on short activities that naturally invoke positive emotions. For leaders, it's essential to introduce practices that foster group-based positive emotions, such as gratitude expressions.
Life Purpose and Its Impact
Amy shared that living with purpose brings greater satisfaction than merely pursuing a passion. Leaders can help employees recognize their purpose by communicating their contributions to the organization and encouraging introspection.
Amy's final advice is for individuals to be intentional with their well-being. Prioritizing well-being doesn't mean sacrificing work. For Amy, it means dedicating lunch breaks to well-being practices.
For me, it means having a morning routine that combines exercise, mindfulness, and gratitude to set me up for a positive and productive day.
If you are interested in diving deeper into this topic, you can watch the event here.
As I reflect on the invaluable insights shared by Professor Amy Young, my personal convictions have been deepened. It's evident to me that emphasizing positive emotions and establishing robust relationships within teams isn't merely a luxury—it's essential for genuine success. Recognizing each team member's unique role and its overarching purpose can be transformational.
However, an eye-opening revelation for me was that not every industry is on board with prioritizing well-being or is ready for a shift in culture. Realizing that areas such as Law, Finance, and Consulting might be resistant to these changes was a bit of a jolt. But here's my personal takeaway: if wellness and balance are non-negotiables for you—as they are for me—it might be time to rethink our professional direction.
There's immense value in aligning ourselves with industries and environments that genuinely resonate with our values, rather than tirelessly trying to change those that seem immovable. For me, this event underscored the importance of being in places where our core values aren't just acknowledged, but actively celebrated.
What about you, divas? What are your strategies to improve well-being in the workplace? Leave your comment on Facebook, share this post on your social media, and follow us on Instagram for more wellness and balance tips!