When I tell friends that I’m helping organize a global event around happiness, I am often met with a pained roll of the eyes. A moment of polite silence. And attempts to contain the happiness conversation.
Well, you can’t be happy all the time.
Don’t you think being fulfilled is more important than being happy?
Happiness, I read between the lines, is deemed fluffy and fleeting. Not robust enough.
Meet a business leader who gets it. Cedric Bru, the CEO of Taulia, a maker of invoicing software for the likes of Coca Cola, Halliburton, Pitney Bowes, PayPal, Agilent Technologies, Hallmark and many, many others. Taulia has a 100% customer retention rate since launching in 2009. Taulia is doing something right.
How do you hire people? Cedric Bru was asked by Adam Bryant, the former curator of the compulsively readable New York Times Corner Office column (NY Times, 2/5/2017).
I believe that people overperform when they are happy. And I don’t believe that companies make people happy. People find happiness in a company, in their life. It’s not external. People have to be happy with themselves.
For Bru, the notion of happiness is more than a fanciful leadership idea. It’s an explicit part of the workplace conversation.
Happiness is personal; the way you find happiness in a company is different from mine. So I ask questions that are tailored to understanding how they will find happiness here. It becomes a shared assessment.
I will ask you how you will find happiness at Taulia, and I want you to think how feasible it is. Because if you don’t think you can find happiness here, I don’t want to work with you. It’s not good for you. It’s not good for everyone else.
We tend to hire folks for skill and culture fit. Cedric Bru taps a deeper animator. His comments make me think of a trip I took to Bhutan in 2017. Bhutan is famous for having created a Gross National Happiness index. Political and spiritual leaders are committed to creating conditions that allow their citizens to be happy. This commitment is supported by specific policies that are deemed to foster a happier country. And yet, every civic and spiritual leader I spoke with in Bhutan was unequivocal: We can create the conditions that make it easier for you to be happy. But we cannot make you happy. You’re responsible for your own happiness.
If these considerations interest you, tune in for an entire week of great chats about happiness. The virtual World Happiness Agora is taking place this week, March 18-22 (www.happinessagora.world). It is the most comprehensive global gathering ever of thinkers and practitioners in every aspect of creating happier lives. Happiness and Mental Health, Happiness and Education, Happiness and Self Mastery, Happiness and Technology, and Happiness@Work.
I had the pleasure of helping organize an entire day centered on Happiness@Work. March 21. This day alone, hear from Mo Gawdat, Former Chief Business Officer at GoogleX and the author of “Solve for Happy.” Anna Gowdridge, Head of People at Virgin Unite. Blake Harris, Leader of the Happy Crew at Zoom. Peter Weng, Chief Business Officer Search Inside Yourself Business Institute. Doug Kirkpatrick, Author, TEDx Speaker, Global Authority on Self-Management. Pim de Morree, Co-Founder of Corporate Rebels. Raj Raghunathan, author of “If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy.” Eve Simon, Founder of The Future of Leadership Salon. And so many other wise and inspiring guests.
Cedric Bru was right. So are our friends in Bhutan. Happiness it’s a choice, and it begins with us.
So come, be inspired. Brighten your happiness radar. Join us for some amazing conversations!