You know how, when you go away on vacation, there’s always a little let-down when you come back home? Sort of like “what will I look forward to now?” Well that feeling was completely gone when I went through the mail and found a copy of Profit from the Positive by Margaret Greenberg and Senia Maymin – two fabulous coaches and consultants who are also positive psychology experts.
My area of interest is where positive psychology intersects with the workplace. I am also very interested about leadership and workplace communication – how do we speak to each other at work – and Profit from the Positive is a great resource for all of these areas. Even though I’ve been working in this field for a couple of years, I definitely learned a few new things, and garnered some insights that I’m going to take to my clients and their workplaces.
First of all – the book itself. It’s well-written. The chapters are concise. The examples are illustrative and compelling. My typical concern about “case studies” is that you really can’t apply them elsewhere – the situations are so specific, or that company has resources that yours doesn’t have, or else it’s a very different industry. There are several (good) reasons why some case studies in some books are just not helpful. However I found that in this book, the examples were very personable. They really look at positive interventions at the human level – and occasionally at the systemic level. Overall, I really had a sense that “you too can do this”. There were many great examples of positive changes that felt entirely possible, even likely.
The book is very well-structured. Each section starts off with an overview of the material to come, then an in-depth and very readable discussion of the material, and finishes off with a summary of what was shared and the most potent positive tools that you can use in the form of key take-aways. This book is also designed to be used as book club material with reflection / discussion questions at the end of each chapter. I can already see purchasing several copies for the leaders of an organization, and helping them hold a discussion group every two weeks to discuss a chapter or a tool. This book is ideally constructed for a learning organization – and an active learning process at that!
So what are some of my favourite tools from the book? Emotional contagion is a big one – I didn’t realize that emotions were more contagious from a leader than from elsewhere in an organization. This means that leaders really have to step up to the emotional plate and own their emotions and be as positive and forthright as possible. The book has a great example of how to manage when things are emotionally difficult as well -it’s not about being insincere or fake.
Capitalizing on what goes right is a big consulting and coaching theme of mine – and I was glad to see this book dive head-first into focusing on what goes well with people and processes. I truly feel that if more leaders were to simply catch people doing things right, this would be the best no-cost intervention to turn a workplace culture around. One of these days, I will write the book on it. Really.
Finally, there are some great tips around changing up the performance review process. Let’s admit it – no one likes performance reviews. The authors suggest a change: performance PREviews. Being future-focused is hopeful, positive and energizing. Not only do we want to be strengths-focused (though let’s remember to fix any fatal weaknesses too!) but we also want to be future-focused. I’m looking forward to bringing this insight forward when I help a current client organization review and revamp their performance agreement process. Stay tuned for how that works out!
Do I recommend this book? Whole-heartedly. Get a copy for yourself and for the leader that you report to. Sit down and discuss. This could be a career-saver, and an engagement-enhancer.
Want to win a copy of the book? Surf on over to Marie-Josee’s Shaar’s blog at http://www.smartsandstamina.com/2013/08/07/profit-positive/ and leave a comment to win!