Business at the Speed of Happiness

Keeping your best talent in our competitive marketplace

By Stephen Garber

“When I was 5 years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school they asked me what I want to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy.’ They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
— Attributed (apocryphally) to musician John Lennon

In most of our businesses and organizations, our model, our “unique selling proposition,” our service, or our “technology” is not our differentiator. It’s the quality of our people and how they relate and communicate with each other and the world around them—our stakeholders and our customers—that determines our success.

Attracting and keeping great people is the pathway to sustainable success. And it’s a very challenging market out there for notable talent, particularly in South Florida.

“Management,” as a concept, often seems complicated, sophisticated and even obtuse. “Leadership” is even more esoteric, and harder to qualify and quantify. They’re both about understanding human motivation, and what makes people happy. As Abraham Maslow taught us in his 1943 hierarchy of needs, once our basic needs (wellness and safety) are met, it’s the higher needs of love, esteem and growth that keep us motivated—and happy.   

Assuming your people are healthy—and working in a healthy environment—and they’re receiving a fair compensation for their contribution to your organization’s success, creating an environment of “likeable” and “happy” is the best way to keep your best people engaged and loyal.

The Association of Accounting Technicians in the United Kingdom did research that was absolute in its result: Good colleagues beat high pay: Eight in 10 workers would turn down a higher salary if it meant working with people they didn’t like.

Happy people make delighted customers, which make happy shareholders. They’re all people.

When you look deeply into Apple, Google, Zappos and other hugely successful, standout companies, you’ll find they nearly all have something in common that helps separate them and keep them soaring. From the bottom to the top of the organization, their people:

• Are passionately engaged advocates for their business.

• Understand what the business strategy is, and their part in delivering it.

• Go above and beyond what they’re paid to do.

• Have an emotional engagement with the business, the product and with their client or customer.

• They are happy where—and with whom—they work.

This is what separates the mundane from the good. And, more important, the good from the great.

On the flip side, the cost of having a disengaged culture is huge—probably a lot larger than you realize. Factoring absenteeism, low morale, poor customer service, lost sales, lost long-term customers … the costs of unhappy people are obvious.

The most important business and leadership objective for sustaining business growth is to attract, retain and grow great people—and keep them happy.

Are you happy at work? Do you help others be happy? It is the direct path to so many rewards in business and life.♦

Stephen Garber is director of Third Level Ltd. Contact him at 561.752.5505 or sgarber@thirdlevel.com.

You May Also Like

Reaching Out

I know that Stephen Garber knows people. The president of Third Level is a seasoned expert on change management, relationship building and quality-of-life issues. He is an international executive coach, mediator, trainer and public speaker. Stephen coaches individuals, teams and organizations to replace conflict and dysfunction with effective communication and functional relationships, causing increased profitability

Stephen Garber

This is the time and this is the page when the new editor-in-chief typically would tell you to get ready for a new SFBW experience—but since you’ve seen the cover, you already know. Graced by Charmel Maynard, the fashionable financial star who’s the chief investment officer and treasurer at the University of Miami, our cover

Are Your Salespeople Taking Shortcuts?

Connor, a software sales rep, had been having a rough day. He’d been bombarded with questions from several customers and gotten behind on work he needed to finish before the end of the day. Then, he got a call from Tony, a prospect who introduced himself by saying: “I’ve heard great things about your engineering

COVID and the Commercial Sector

[vc_row css_animation=”” row_type=”row” use_row_as_full_screen_section=”no” type=”full_width” angled_section=”no” text_align=”left” background_image_as_pattern=”without_pattern”][vc_column width=”2/3″][vc_column_text] For South Florida’s vigorous commercial real estate sector, there is a Grand Canyon-size fissure between market conditions on March 1 and every day since. Punching delineators such as “pre-COVID-19” or “post-COVID-19,” South Florida commercial real estate brokers, developers and owners have struggled to recalculate the new

Other Posts

Gucci Opens Newly Relocated Boutique in Palm Beach

Gucci has been a staple in Palm Beach and the new location adds to the Italian brand’s legacy in the U.S.

Palm Beach to The Real Housewives of Miami: Not Today

The show was planning to shoot on Worth Avenue, but the city shut that pipe dream down.

Coke Florida Earns Recognition as a Top-Performing U.S. Company

Coke Florida has been recognized as a U.S. Best Managed Company for two consecutive years and was the first and only Coca-Cola bottler to receive this prestigious title in 2022.

Scenic Group USA Reveals Key Executive Appointments

The company is increasingly focused on brand awareness and expanding distribution channels.