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WCPP2019 Conference takeaways - Part 2

Updated: May 28, 2020

Abundance culture change - ways to create positive organisational change for business effectiveness

Kim Cameron and Marcia Ryan at WCPP2019

Part 2 of my key takeaways from the International Positive Psychology World Congress recently held in Melbourne, focuses on Kim Cameron, and how leaders can reach beyond ordinary success to achieve extraordinary results. Read Part 1 blog here

A specialist in Positive Organisations and Positive Leadership, he is among the top ten organizational scholars in the world whose work has been most frequently downloaded on Google. I have helped many leaders learn and embed positive leadership practices into their workplaces based on Kim's research and Kim provided even more tips how leaders can enable thriving and flourishing rather than simply address obstacles and impediments.

"If you want great business results, merely gathering positive people together, does not make for an effective organisation." - Kim Cameron

Kim finds not all senior execs are open to his recommendations of implementing Positive Leadership initiatives, expressing concerns the practices are soft and don't contribute to the bottom line. Yet, after fifteen years of evidence based results, Kim concludes an abundance culture and implementing positive leadership practices is significantly and positively related to profitability, productivity, quality, innovation, customer satisfaction and employee retention.

As practitioners, we need to get better at educating leaders to see positive psychology practices are not smiling and being positive. Instead, use business case studies to show results and explain key evidence informed practices that impact business and human growth and bottom line. The type of positive practices Kim has assessed in an organisational context include:

  • Gratitude and appreciation

  • Dignity and respect

  • Support and compassion

  • Caring and concern

  • Meaning and purposeful work

  • Inspiration and positive energy

  • Forgiveness

  • Understanding trust and integrity

What did Kim recommend to positive psychology practitioners to implement into organisations?

He shared many with me, but here are my top 2 that best resonated with me:

1. Identify 30 Positive Energizers in a company that exude relational energy

A positive ripple effect takes hold when you select positive change agents in a company and give them charge to infect the rest of the organisation with positive psychological initiatives in 80 days. Employees are selected not due to personality, attractiveness or leadership influence but their inherent attraction to relationship elevation. They interact with others in ways that are uplifting, life giving interactions versus being exhausting or depleting de-energisers.

He teaches the group positive practices over three days of training - to understand the philosophy and practices and then let them at it to do it their own way. The group are tasked to attempt 1% change.- changing culture, strategy and personal approach. Results from implementing this intervention at Prudential Financial Services included a successful culture merger, 95% retention of clients, higher employee opinion survey results and a shift from a 70 million loss to 20 million profit.

2. Award 1+1 – contribution trumps achievement goals.

Reward and acknowledge contribution. Set contribution goals for teams to achieve. Identify how everyone contributes each week in a small way to make a 1% change to business. Ask: What did I/you do this week that contributed in a small way to our team?

How to implement contribution goals?

  • Learn something new and teach everyone else. Roster 1 person to teach their new thing each week – everyone’s a contributor

  • Positively embarrass someone everyday in front of someone who cares. This makes us notice and focus on things that are important

  • Ask: What’s the best thing you did for someone today?

What evidence informed positive organisational practice might you implement into your workplace to create thriving humans and effective businesses for better performance results?

If you would like guidance in selecting, implementing and measuring the effectiveness of positive practices into your leadership program or organisation to reap the results Kim's research has identified, get in touch here.

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