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Building a Culture of Well-Being

Cover of "First, Break All the Rules: Wha...Cover via Amazon

You can count on the Gallup Organization to do good work. They gave us "First, Break All the Rules" and StrengthsFinder. Now, with "Wellbeing: The Five Essential Elements," they've once again come up with valuable insights into worker engagement and productivity.

Gallup researchers Tom Rath and Jim Harter studied people in 150 countries - from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe - to explain how people experience their days and evaluate their days overall. In other words, what makes people feel truly satisfied overall? Experience a sense of well-being? They analyzed hundreds of Gallup's global surveys involving millions of respondents. I mean, these guys were thorough.

A couple of key insights emerged. Here they are. Think about what these insights mean to you as a leader and to your role as culture-builder where you work.

#1. Five core dimensions are universal elements of well-being. Achieving nirvana in one or two at the exclusion of the others doesn't work. They require a holistic perspective in order for people to achieve well-being. Take a look. Is your work culture "well-being-friendly"?

Career Well-Being: Feeling appreciated as a person and not just as an employee, respecting management, looking forward to going to work each day, enjoying the company of co-workers, feeling pride in the organization you work for

Social Well-Being: Having good relationships at work, friends, a support system for weathering tough times

Financial Well-Being: In control of finances, frugal but not pinching pennies, aware of costs and in control of expenditures

Physical Well-Being: Lots of energy, healthy eating, getting sufficient rest as well as regular rigorous exercise

Community Well-Being: Being actively and productively engaged in the community and neighborhood groups, being part of meaningful activities like Crime Stoppers, homeowner association, PTA, Red Cross, et cetera.

#2. The secret to a happy life is rooted in interactions with co-workers and the boss. Remember the saying, "People don't quit a company; they quit a bad manager?" Gallup's latest research supports that.

Good managers know what their employees care about, see them as individuals, know what's going on in their lives and are interested in their career development.

Good managers see their employees as unique individuals, know their strengths, celebrate their successes and are clear about expectations so their employees know what they're supposed to be doing on a daily basis.

Good managers understand the importance of socializing at work. Productive employees are engaged employees and they likely have a best friend at work with whom they chat and interact.

Intrigued? Each copy of the book has a unique ID code for Gallup's online "The Well-Being Finder," a program designed to help you track and improve your own well-being, as well as gain insight into supporting a culture that supports the five elements. Check it out.  

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Instead of first zooming their focus on the bottomline, if business owners first looked-up from their financial statements and walked around and engaged in conversations with their employees to check the 'culture of well-being' in their companies,then maybe they will be surprised with the increases in productivity they will gain.

A collaborative and positive company culture will provide the foundation or support for managers and employees to become good managers and good employees.

It's not just one or a few managers being good but an entire organization, its culture, systems and processes enabling good leadership and the success of its employees.

Dianne Crampton book: "TIGERS Among Us: Winning Business Team Cultures And Why They Thrive" provide examples of companies like Tribe Inc., Zappos, 4Refuel, Dos Gringos whose successes were largely due to 'building a culture of well-being' based on the values of trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk, and success.

So hopefully more business leaders would look at the 'culture of well-being' in their companies; and not just think they can only find answers to improving their bottom line just from looking at what to downsize or cut in their financial statements.

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