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The Chief Happiness Officer Blog





Updated: 2017-10-17T07:21:36Z

 



Bertrand Russell on work

2017-10-10T07:22:13Z

“Without self-respect genuine happiness is scarcely possible. And the man who is ashamed of his work can hardly achieve self-respect.” – Bertrand Russell

(image) “Without self-respect genuine happiness is scarcely possible. And the man who is ashamed of his work can hardly achieve self-respect.”

– Bertrand Russell




The Cult of Overwork is Killing Startups

2017-10-11T07:31:04Z

The New York Times has a great article called ”In Silicon Valley, Working 9 to 5 Is for Losers” that examines workaholism in startups. It even quotes one entrepreneur as saying “I rarely get to see my kids. That’s a risk you have to take.” I wonder if he asked his kids if that was a … Continue reading The Cult of Overwork is Killing Startups

The New York Times has a great article called ”In Silicon Valley, Working 9 to 5 Is for Losers” that examines workaholism in startups. It even quotes one entrepreneur as saying “I rarely get to see my kids. That’s a risk you have to take.” I wonder if he asked his kids if that was a risk they were willing to take.

The piece also quotes from this excellent article by David Heinemeier Hansson, where he points out that startup investors are the main driver of this culture:

There’s an ingrained mythology around startups that not only celebrates burn-out efforts, but damn well requires it.

It’s not hard to understand why such a mythology serves the interest of money men who spread their bets wide and only succeed when unicorns emerge.

There’s little to no consequence to them if the many fall by the wayside, spent to completion trying to hit that home run. Make me rich or die tryin’.

It’s bullshit. Extractive, counterproductive bullshit peddled by people who either need a narrative to explain their personal sacrifices and regrets or who are in a position to treat the lives and wellbeing of others like cannon fodder.

These two articles do a great job of exposing the toxic overwork culture in many startups but I just want to add five few quick points on the topic:

1: If hours are all that matter, an entrepreneur working 80 hours a week will be beaten by one working 90 hours a week. Where does it end?

2: Many of the mental qualities that make a startup successful are lost when people are overworked, tired, stressed and unhappy, including networking, creativity and effective decision making.

3: Permanent overwork kills people. For instance, those working a 55-hour week face 33% increased risk of stroke.

4: Permanent overwork doesn’t result in increased output.

5: Pointing to successful startups that worked 80 hours a week proves nothing. What about all the startups that worked 90 hours a week and failed?

Imagine starting your own company and ending up creating a workplace where you hate to work. How stupid is that?

On the other hand, employees of a startup where people are happy to work and have full lives outside of work, will be more productive, motivated and innovative, boosting the startup’s chance of success.

Even if working crazy long hours did enhance a startup’s chance of success (which it does not), it would still be wrong because it hurts employees physically and psychologically.

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Bertrand Russell on success

2017-10-10T07:15:04Z

“I do not deny that the feeling of success makes it easier to enjoy life…. Nor do I deny that money, up to a certain point, is very capable of increasing happiness. What I do maintain is that success can only be one ingredient in happiness, and is too dearly purchased if all the other … Continue reading Bertrand Russell on success

(image) “I do not deny that the feeling of success makes it easier to enjoy life…. Nor do I deny that money, up to a certain point, is very capable of increasing happiness.

What I do maintain is that success can only be one ingredient in happiness, and is too dearly purchased if all the other ingredients have been sacrificed to obtain it.”

– Bertrand Russell




Today I did a speech on 50 minutes notice

2017-10-06T16:34:12Z

OK – that’s new. At 8:30 this morning I was in a café going through my tasks and emails, when I got a call from a client asking if I could do a speech for 100 people at their offices at 9:20 the same morning. The speaker they’d booked had called in sick. To make … Continue reading Today I did a speech on 50 minutes notice

OK – that’s new. At 8:30 this morning I was in a café going through my tasks and emails, when I got a call from a client asking if I could do a speech for 100 people at their offices at 9:20 the same morning. The speaker they’d booked had called in sick.

To make matters even more interesting, I’ve already spoken to the same group last year, so I couldn’t just do our standard presentation. But who doesn’t love a challenge!

I started to put together some slides that fit their current situation then got on my bike and rode over. While their leaders presented I sat in the back of the room and finished my slides just in time.

And even if this is the least notice we’ve ever had, I do believe I rocked.




Lego, making near-record profits, lays off 1,400 people – with no criticism from anyone

2017-10-05T07:19:46Z

I am incredibly disappointed in Lego’s recent decision to lay off 1,400 staff even tough they have near-record profits. Here are the facts: Lego’s revenue fell 5 percent in the first half of 2017 to 14.9 billion Danish kroner ($2.38 billion) compared with 15.7 billion Danish kroner in H1 2016. Net profit came in at 3.4 … Continue reading Lego, making near-record profits, lays off 1,400 people – with no criticism from anyone →I am incredibly disappointed in Lego’s recent decision to lay off 1,400 staff even tough they have near-record profits. Here are the facts: Lego’s revenue fell 5 percent in the first half of 2017 to 14.9 billion Danish kroner ($2.38 billion) compared with 15.7 billion Danish kroner in H1 2016. Net profit came in at 3.4 billion Danish kroner, compared with the first half of 2016’s 3.5 billion Danish kroner. They will therefore lay off 1,400 people – approximately 8% of the workforce. Normally in a situation like this, I’d suspect leadership of doing layoffs to placate stockholders, but Lego is privately owned, so that’s clearly not the case here. Crucially, the company is not losing money. In fact, even though sales have fallen slightly, profits are essentially constant and at near-record levels for the company, so it’s hard to see exactly what motivates this move. What has really surprised me is that there has been no pushback or criticism from the financial press. It makes you wonder: What kind of a business climate are we living in when this kind of decision is met with nothing but approval from all observers? I’m sure no one at Lego or in the financial press cares the slightest bit what I think, but I thought it was important that someone speak out against this kind of leadership. Hence this article. Lego´s chairman of the board and former CEO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, says that the layoffs come because the company has become too big and complicated: The way we do business, the way we do our marketing, the way we do our market management, but also how we run the whole administration of the company unfortunately has become too complicated as we’ve grown the company massively over the past 12 to 13 years. That’s what’s really hindering us in executing in a strong way – as we used to – and therefore we are finding it harder to grow in some of our very well penetrated and established markets. But if the organization has become too complex, you don’t fix that just by laying people off – you do that by fixing the organization. In that context layoffs may even be counter-productive. Trying to streamline your organization becomes a lot harder when you’re simultaneously laying off 8% of your staff and dealing with the ensuing organizational and psychological fallout. Mostly I’m disappointed with the attitude towards employees revealed by this decision. Layoffs carry huge psychological costs for both those who lose their jobs and for those who remain and therefore they should be a last resort when all other options are not sufficient. In this case, lego clearly had many, many other options. I see this move as a huge lost opportunity for Lego. They could have cemented their reputation as a good workplace that can handle a minor drop in sales and profits in a way that doesn’t make staff pay the price. As a consequence, I have removed all mentions of Lego from my next book, Leading with Happiness. I’d included them in a couple of places as an example of a company where leadership cares deeply about its people – this is clearly not the case any more. What should they have done instead? In my next book I share the story about a tech company that lost half their revenue and found a way to come out stronger and more profitable without laying off a single person. If a company can do that when it’s very survival is threatened, Lego could definitely have done s[...]



Leading with Happiness – my speech from the World Happiness Summit in Miami

2017-09-20T07:39:33Z

At the World Happiness Summit in Miami I gave a 15-minute speech on Leading with Happiness – the same topic I’m covering in my next book. In the video I share what’s wrong with traditional leadership and its relentless focus on business results and give some great examples of leader who create more happiness for … Continue reading Leading with Happiness – my speech from the World Happiness Summit in Miami

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At the World Happiness Summit in Miami I gave a 15-minute speech on Leading with Happiness – the same topic I’m covering in my next book.

In the video I share what’s wrong with traditional leadership and its relentless focus on business results and give some great examples of leader who create more happiness for themselves, their employees, their customers and the world.




I need your feedback on the back cover text for my new book

2017-09-19T09:33:11Z

This is the first draft I wrote for the back cover of my new book, Leading with Happiness. Do you like it? Would you read this book? Any suggestions? Here it is: What if there was more to leadership than maximizing business results, whatever it takes? Drawing on fascinating research from psychology, brain science and … Continue reading I need your feedback on the back cover text for my new book → This is the first draft I wrote for the back cover of my new book, Leading with Happiness. Do you like it? Would you read this book? Any suggestions? Here it is: What if there was more to leadership than maximizing business results, whatever it takes? Drawing on fascinating research from psychology, brain science and philosophy, this book will show you why leaders are more successful when they put happiness first – for themselves, for their employees, for their customers and for the wider world. Learn from some of the best and happiest leaders in business, arts, politics and the military, including: The symphony conductor who knows that happy musicians play better music The company founder who got much better results when he stopped being a jerk and started being happy The industrial CEO who had to unlearn everything he’d been taught about leadership to create a happy and successful manufacturing giant The nuclear submarine captain who stopped giving orders The IT executive who brought his company out of a major crisis by focusing on his employees’ happiness Using these lessons, your leadership can become a force for good, creating better business results and a better world. [...]



My new business card

2017-09-01T07:25:19Z

We had a photoshoot for our website. This one is going on my new business cards. Here’s another of my favorite shots:

(image)

We had a photoshoot for our website. This one is going on my new business cards.

Here’s another of my favorite shots:

(image)




See all the fascinating talks from our 2017 Conference on Happiness at Work

2017-09-01T07:20:31Z

We have now published all the amazing talks from our 2017 International Conference on Happiness at Work. You can watch every single talk from the event above or at this link. And if you think that looks awesome, join us in Copenhagen on May 17+18 2018 for the next conference. Sign up here to be … Continue reading See all the fascinating talks from our 2017 Conference on Happiness at Work

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We have now published all the amazing talks from our 2017 International Conference on Happiness at Work.

You can watch every single talk from the event above or at this link.

And if you think that looks awesome, join us in Copenhagen on May 17+18 2018 for the next conference. Sign up here to be notified when ticket sales start.




Download a free pdf poster with great quotes about happy leadership

2017-10-11T08:56:37Z

We have created a poster with inspiring quotes about leadership – you can download the pdf for free right here.

(image)

We have created a poster with inspiring quotes about leadership – you can download the pdf for free right here.