Starting a project, like the one Felipe and I envisioned, in a company where these ideas hadn’t been discussed at any time has the same difficulties as when you meet a friend or colleague and tell him/her that you are working as a Chief Happiness Officer… everyone tells you Chief of what!? Because the concept of Happiness in a professional function seems too strange for them. Although it’s something that may require a little effort to explain, it doesn’t generate any problem when it’s explained to people who aren’t directly «affected» by the function, however, it’s a great challenge when the team or the human capital of the company doesn’t really understand the role you will play.

Initially, everyone imagines companies that use a Chief Happiness Officer as companies that seek fun and enjoyment. They often imagine open spaces, like those found in Google, with slides, Ping-Pong tables and more … and yes, it’s true that this is a way to get a concept of happiness, but there is more than one concept for “happiness”, and there is one that particularly applies in a more rigorous way to what I like to carry out within the teams. I’ll write it below literally, it’s a quote from the book, “An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization”, by the great author Robert Kegan:

«However, the research literature on happiness suggests another definition, one that is overlapping but significantly different. The second definition sees happiness as a process of human flourishing. This definition, whose roots go back to Aristotle and the Greeks’ concept of eudaemonia, includes an experience of meaning and engagement but in relation to the satisfactions of experiencing one’s own growth and unfolding, becoming more of the person one was meant to be, bringing more of oneself into the world.

Just as labor pains are a part of bringing new life into the world, the process of human development, of seeing and overcoming one’s previous limitations, can involve pain. Unlike happiness as a state brought on by experiencing only the so-called positive emotions, happiness as a process of development includes the experience of loss, pain, and suffering (rather than standing in contrast to it).
This other kind of happiness may be less fashionable in a world entranced with pleasure, stimulation, and the avoidance of pain, but for anyone who has tasted it, as our DDO informants testify, it is a treasured income of surpassing value».
Therefore, that flowering of the person, that ability to learn and put its learning into practice, of feeling that its taking advantage of its personal talent and giving a meaning to what he/she does, is what we really believe is the deep concept of “happiness” applied to the corporate culture. That’s why this is the meaning we are taking as a guide for the actions we do in the company, starting by correctly explaining that this is the focus that we are going to have from my role as Chief Happiness Officer, because at the beginning there was no lack of people saying that talking openly about a conflict between the team members is not worth because “they are not happy” and that kind of things that distort the work we want to do, but that are understandable when you don’t have a clear idea of what is being done.
As you can see, a concept may seem only as a beginning, but it’s a fundamental part that we must stop to analyze: if we don’t properly explain what we are going to do, an atmosphere of confusion is generated, which can cause some to take inappropriate licenses or experience resistance when getting involved in the whole process of change.

Luis Gil– Inspira y Avanza.

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