Goals 2014: What is the 1 step you will take to be happier this Spring?

Dalai Lama quote on Happiness

Happiness Is Linked To Taking Action

How was your working week?  Stressy?  Unfulfilling?  Seemingly Goaless?  Don’t worry if any of those responses ring bells with you.  According to Gallup’s 2012 State of the Global Workplace research only 13% of employees are engaged by their work. That suggests the bulk of workers around the world are unhappy with their employment, to some extent.  There is action you can take to change your situation.

About a week ago I spent a day out with friends in the 30 and 40 something age range.  This social time included setting the world to rights over a meal.  Enjoying a relaxed, supportive afternoon with people who are socially engaged set me thinking.  I reckon it doesn’t take very much action to become more connected to good people and therefore a little happier.

Research about actions you can take to become happier

It turns out that research conducted by Colby College Professor Christopher Soto, discussed in the Wall Street Journal by Elizabeth Bernstein shows that as we age we become more agreeable and better connected.

Apparently there are 5 psychological domains* which help shape about half of our personality (the other half comes from our biological make up, although Dr Dean Ornish suggests in a TED Talk that your genes are not your fate).

5 Personality Domains Discussed Professor Soto’s research

We can choose an area from the following domains and set an improvement goal for ourselves within that area (I’ve worked on goals in the final domain for instance, so I can confirm that spending time with your friends, works wonders).






Your 1 Question Leading To Happiness

Here’s your 1 question:  which of these domains will you dip into during the next few days to identify your spring happiness goal?  That is your first step toward selecting the most obvious action to take, to move you toward the life you deserve at work and beyond the 9 to 5.

More About A Happy State

If you want a quick pick-me-up before diving deep into goal setting you can always clap along with Pharrell Williams whose song ‘Happy’ puts a smile on my face.  To learn more about the connection that song has made with people across the United States and around the globe try this short excerpt from an interview Oprah conducted with Mr Williams recently.

There are further ideas relating to your work and life goals in the Archive section here, on Facebook and Google+ too.  Or you can View Roger Dennison’s profile


Goals 2014: 2 Questions To Help You Distinguish Yourself At Work

image of a latte

A Latte – Good For Creativity, Reflection And Patience

Is your local coffee shop your ideal third space, away from work and home? Do you reach your goals more easily with a cup of your favourite coffee in hand? Or maybe you mooch about with a Mocha when you want to refocus your work and life?

If you answered ‘yes’ just then, you may want to learn more about the BBC’s collaboration with the Open University. The first episode of Business Boomers sheds light on the subject of the rise and rise of the coffee shop, a thriving part of the hospitality sector, even after the global economic crisis of 2007-08.

Coffee Shops As Places To Change Your Life

As Chris Ward’s book ‘ Out of Office’ suggests, the wifi enabled coffee shop is a place where you can change your life, or have the big ideas which can change the world around you.  Here’s a link to the Business Boomers Open University mini site: if you are very curious you can also click on a programme summary here – Business Boomers Coffee Shop Pdf

Despite the new types of working venues and the new technologies to support that work times are still tough.  The focus remains getting the best possible results from limited resources.  How much of your To Do list gets done, or thought about outside office hours?

What Is Your Third Space?

One of my local third spaces – Cafe Le Delice – attracts customers for work and leisure by offering an attentive quality of service; handmade food; and flexible usage (reserving a private room for a voluntary project meeting for instance).  This makes it the kind of venue where work  can still get done, after the 9 to 5.

There’s an analogue to the coffee shop as third space destination of choice.  How does an individual stand apart from his or her more prominent peers, when their offer seems similar?  How do they retain the work-life balance they want whilst giving their best performance?

Your 2 Questions To Help Distinguish Yourself At Work

Here are two related questions to work on:

  • What is your unique offer and how does it stand out in quality terms from everyone else’s?
  • What actions will you take in the next 12 weeks to further differentiate your brand from others; improve your prospects; and enjoy your free time?

Help yourself to the further ideas relating to your work and life goals in the Archive section here, on Facebook and Google+ too.  Or you can go to LinkedIn and View Roger Dennison’s profile

Goals 2014: 3 Questions To Help You Get The Leadership And Management You Deserve

What Connections Do Leaders And Managers Inspire?

What Connections Do Leaders And Managers Inspire?

How confident are you about the effectiveness of your organisation’s senior leadership? What rating would you attach to your manager’s skills?

I ask as an article by Liz Ryan for Forbes online concerning Bad Managers has triggered my post (there are other Liz Ryan articles on LinkedIn ).

I had the privilege last week of sitting in on an Enterprise Nation Webinar, at which serial entrepreneur Doug Richard talked about the goal of Improving Leadership and Management.  My favourite quote from that conversation is shown above.  The post Liz wrote reminds me that Bad Managers leave a trail of angry and demotivated employees in their wake.  The Bad Manager helps create disengagement and they are a liability to their team and their employer.

One of the least inspiring managers I ever worked for had two operating modes. One with senior colleagues, involved smiling and kissing up. Mode Two, with team members, involved micro managing and being divisive. I remember once mentioning some of the valuable lessons I’d learned from my degree course and the Manager’s response was a classic: “Oh, you have a degree. That does surprise me!”

Needless to say I was never happier than when I left that part of the organisation.  I wasn’t the only one.  Effective management binds teams together and adds value to the connections between team members.  Bad management sows the seeds of disruption.  The manager I encountered clearly needed support to improve their practice. I only hope that they received it, before their behaviour triggered a complaint.

Here are 3 questions for your consideration this week:

  • How content are you that your job goals are being supported by your current management?
  • How congruent are your values with those of the organisational leaders who have the most influence on your work?
  • What actions will you to take this week because of your answers to the 2 preceding questions?

Feel free to look at the further ideas relating to your work and life goals in the Archive section here, on Facebook and Google+ too.  Or you can always View Roger Dennison’s profile


Goals 2014: 3 Questions To Help You Decide Where To Offer Your Acts Of Service

Your Connections Increase In Number When  You Volunteer

Your Connections Increase In Number When You Volunteer

Were you following my previous posts about the reasons you should have a volunteering goal and the benefits coming your way from volunteering?  If you missed the posts on Contributing to your Community click in the Archive for 30 March and the Morale post is located there dated 8 April.

Your Acts of Service

That wider conversation led to me making a contribution to a discussion with Forbes online magazine contributor and Twitter user @tomwatson  You can get a flavour of the back and forth via this tweet:

This goes to show once you start offering thoughts and sharing views you quickly encounter the major benefit of volunteering: being connected means you can offer acts of service to others.

How Can Dunbar’s Number Help You Serve Your Contacts?

Mind you, if you can only hold stable relationships with 150 people it makes sense that as many of those people as possible are folks to whom you can be of service.  So here’s 3 questions for you based on Dunbar’s Number (those 150 people):

  • Do you want to offer service to your 5 most significant contacts, or do you feel obligated to do this (it is more authentic if you want to take action)?
  • What common characteristics do your top 5 contacts share?
  • How does that information shape the acts of service you will offer them this week?

Good luck to you with your offer to serve others.  You can get more ideas by checking out – and Liking if you want – my posts on Facebook and Google+ too.  Or if you use LinkedIn you can View Roger Dennison’s profile

Goals 2014: How Will You Connect And Contribute To Your Network This Week?

Do you have a goal to connect effectively to the people in your organisation, sector, or wider community? What sort of contribution do you want to make to the people in your networks anyway?

Dunbar’s Number

Did you know research by networking advocates Editorial Intelligence suggests that you can only hold stable relationships with 150 people (a figure known as Dunbar’s number)?  If communication is part of your goal setting agenda you are under no pressure to make your connections count!

Contacts You Connect With & Contribute To

How Many Contacts Do You Connect With & Contribute To?

Engaging People

Seriously though, these are timely questions. Organisations are setting their goals for the new financial year. Their staff are creating their strategies for personal improvement.

The UK Civil Service even has Engaging People as one of its key values (although it still has some work to do, to improve the feedback process on the blog published by its Head Sir Bob Kerslake ).

Organisational psychologist Professor Cary L Cooper outlines in a blogpost for the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development that our networks not only help us to thrive, they help us to cope. He says networking is a key determinant of success.

John P Morgan is another advocate of inter-connectedness and service. You can find out more about his view here on youtube : his perspective is applicable in the UK, US, the UAE or anywhere else people act collaboratively.

Your Actions

So, now you have a different perspective of the role of contributing to others here’s a question for you to answer (making an appointment with yourself to see it through):

What one action are you going to take, this week, to make an authentic contribution to your network?

There are further ideas relating to your work and life goals in the Archive section, and on Facebook and Google+ too.

View Roger Dennison's LinkedIn profileView Roger Dennison’s profile

Goals 2014: Want To Know How Volunteering Helps You Improve Your Morale?

Would you say your communication skills were above average?  Do your emails have clarity and purpose?  How about your clients, do they always engage with your messages, taking the necessary action as a result?

If you answered ‘Yes’ research suggests you probably accomplish a lot in your work, by getting your message across effectively.  I believe you will also gain if you spend some time as a volunteer, using those skills to benefit your community.

By offering your existing skills to a project you inevitably highlight your learning needs; this can lead you to acquire new abilities, gain confidence and benefit others in the process.  Your morale increases when your skills are being put to good use (OECD data suggests in the UK people spend 2 minutes daily in volunteer activity, compared to 6 minutes in Australia and 8 minutes in the US.  That’s just a snapshot of the positive energy being generated globally through volunteer effort).

Using Skills Well Benefits You & Your Community

Using Skills Well Benefits You & Your Community

In the short term by volunteering you will be affecting and improving the lives of a range of clients, prompting them to take action and make a difference in their own, plus others’ lives.  From my experience in England Community First (#commfirst on Twitter) projects and panels benefit from volunteers, like you, who can communicate effectively.

There are plenty of other voluntary projects you could offer your communication (or other) skills to, depending on your location.  Your local voluntary action co-ordinating organisation should be able to signpost you to a list of outfits in need.

So, when will you take the first step to put your skills to use for others’ benefit?  Doing this helps you find renewed purpose and confidence, which can feed back into your work and make you a more valuable member of staff.

Want to find out more about goals you can explore, relating to your work and life?  Then visit the Archive section here, or take a look on Facebook and Google+ too.

Goals 2014: 3 Questions To Help You Advertise A Vacancy Or Select Your Next Job

Is searching for a new job on your Spring To Do list?  Perhaps you are a recruiter whose goal is to fill your post with the ideal recruit.  Neither goal is easy, is it?

Cufflinks For Work

What Are The Essentials For Your Job?

As an applicant you have your check list of what you want (which might include a role that is a good match to your skills; the right salary; a workplace culture you like; a happy work -life balance).

Meanwhile the advertisers are picturing their ideal candidate, someone with the Essential Qualities for the vacancy. They might have in mind someone: aggressive about getting results; assertive without being cocky; independent yet a team player, where necessary.

Here’s the thing. The language used in adverts themselves may be off putting to some potential applicants.  Why?  Time magazine’s online edition shared some German research this week, suggesting that women do not apply for male sounding jobs.

Some terms, like ‘aggressive… assertive… independent’ could be sending unattractive signals out about the vacancy.  They could also be saying something unintended about the organisational culture too.  As the global economy starts to recover from the shock of 2008 there is strong competition to secure the right talent.  Getting it right promotes business growth.  Letting applicants know you are a good organisation to work for is a quick win.

Unappealing language is easily fixed, if advertisers take a few minutes to think about the most appealing / inclusive wording they could use, before signing off their recruitment text and posting their vacancies.  That simple adjustment might broaden their reach and result in a better hiring decision at the end of the recruitment process.

As you are thinking about the psychology of changing your job here are 3 questions for you to respond to.  They are ideal whether you are seeking a job, or advertising one:

  • What language in the advertisement attracts your interest / best represents your vacancy?
  • How many of the Essentials Qualities do you have to offer / do you really want candidates to have?
  • How will this job help you achieve your personal goals once you get it / how will filling this vacancy help your organisation’s goals?

Good luck taking action which moves closer to your recruitment goal.  Feel free to nose around the Archives here and look at ideas I refer to relating to your work and life goals on Facebook and Google+ too

Goals 2014: Here’s 1 Action To Help You Improve Your Personal Presentation

Here are some questions for you to reflect on over the weekend.  How much effort do you put into the visual side of your personal brand?  Could your choice of work wear represent who you are more effectively?  What action will you take to improve your personal presentation this Spring?

What Does Leadership Look Like?

What Does Leadership Look Like?

Not too sure how to answer? No worries.  Here is a short video you can watch now as part of your personal improvement goal.  It was filmed at Ad Week Europe and in 4 minutes Gok Wan, Kathleen Saxton, and the Guardian’s John Plunkett outline some useful key presentation concepts.  Could this be another theme for you and your coach to explore when you discuss your goals and your values?

Feel free to look at the further ideas relating to your work and life goals in the Archive section on Facebook and Google+ too