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Happiness Matters

by Lewis Green  |  
November 26, 2007

Happiness is the driving force behind everything Americans do. It is the key to determining their wants, needs and desires. It is the essence of the American Dream and is as important as the air you breathe.

Even our Declaration of Independence calls for the pursuit of happiness. And yet a 2006 study by the Pew Research Center found that only 34 percent of Americans consider themselves "very happy," 50 percent "pretty happy," and fifteen percent report that they are "not too happy."
One of the most popular courses at Harvard University teaches happiness and creating "a fulfilling and flourishing life." In fact, the course on "Positive Psychology" outdraws "Introductory Economics." That scares me. Have we have gone so far down the road of work, power, and greed that we need to be taught about happiness?
This information points to an untapped market your business can penetrate. At least 65 percent of all Americans want great business experiences that will help make them happy. Even the "very happy" folks can be moved to a higher happiness level, creating even greater customer-conversion opportunities for business.The savvy business person will do everything possible to ensure that his or her business is people-centered and not primarily focused on the bottom line. My belief is that if you do good, your business will do well.
Happiness as defined in my fifth book, Lead With Your Heart, looks like this:

  1. Business is people-centered. People come before profit in every instance.

  2. Its values talk to making the world a better place to live and work.

  3. Business understands the wants, needs, and desires of it employees and its customers.

  4. It creates products, services, value, prices, and most important, experiences that meet or exceed people's wants, needs, and desires.

Ultimately, your fate as a business person be it entrepreneur, executive, owner, middle manager or lower-level employee comes down to the "who" not the "what." So it only makes sense to spend most of your time thinking about what makes people happy and what doesn't.
NOTE: Excerpted from Lead With Your Heart.

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Lewis Green, Founder and Managing Principal of L&G Business Solutions, LLC, ( brings three decades of business management experience. L&G Business Solutions, LLC, represents his third company. Additionally, he held management positions with GTE Discovery Publications, Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks Coffee Company.

In addition to his business experiences, Lewis is a published author and a former journalist, sports writer and travel writer. His feature articles have appeared in books, magazines and newspapers throughout North America. He has taught in public schools; lobbied for organizations both in state capitols and in Washington, D.C.; delivered workshops, seminars, and training programs; and made presentations to audiences in colleges, businesses and professional organizations. Lewis also has served as a book editor with a large publisher, the Executive Editor overseeing four magazines, and a newspaper department editor. Lewis served eight years in the U.S. Air Force, where he received the Air Force Commendation Medal.

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  • by Elaine Fogel Mon Nov 26, 2007 via blog

    This is a great lesson, Lewis. I guess that's why I was attractd to nonprofit marketing in my career. The mission and the people made the work meaningful. Any business can find its sweet spot for increased happiness.

  • by Lewis Green Mon Nov 26, 2007 via blog

    Elaine, That's an interesting comment because when I worked for non-profits, everyone was a bit too laidback for me. Here's the lesson, I think. Before we begin a quest for happiness, we need to understand what that special spirit inside us tells us. What is it that makes us happy and then go out and surround ourselves with it. Businesses do this a bit differently: First, the founders look within and then create a business around what is important to them (i.e., their values). Then they build a culture (hiring process) that also is passionate about those same values. Then everyone works together to ensure the culture is noursihed by those values (i.e., the happiness factors). Finally, the business works to understand their customers, especially their customers' bliss touchpoints, and works to ensure the environment, the atmosphere, the products and services, and their employees touch those bliss points in very positive ways. At the end of the day, the most successful businesses put people first. By doing so, they engage both employees and customers, thereby maximizing the business's potential for success. We do the same in our lives, if we wish to be the best we can be.

  • by Elaine Fogel Mon Nov 26, 2007 via blog

    I agree with all your points, Lewis, although I didn't find working inside the nonprofit sector a "laid-back" experience. In fact, expectations were often very high and people worked hard. In my experience, what was often lacking was a healthy, happy internal "corporate" culture with an external customer focus. You are so right - engaging and valuing employees bring success.

  • by Amy Vercruysse Tue Nov 27, 2007 via blog

    This truth bears out in organizations that treat their employees like mere cogs in the machine. They (the companies) then are usually contending with high turnover rates which in turn has a very real and negative impact on the bottom line. I never understood the mentality behind that.

  • by Neil Anuskiewicz Tue Nov 27, 2007 via blog

    Though I do volunteer work too, I believe that the market itself can help create happiness. That is, each of us seeking to do business adds to the sum of happiness. You offer something and someone wants to pay you for it. It is interesting that we take for granted this relative comfort we live in is the result of commerce (the market) with a healthy dose of government work (water, sewage treatment, environmental protection, fire, police, etc.) that makes this all possible. We live in incredible abundance and the free market is what drives it. Amazing really. It is not a government agency that decides how many loaves of bread you get but this self organizing thing we call capitalism. The invisible hand does work! Look around you. We live in the most abundant time in the history of the world. Literally.

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