The Google Slide

You read that title correct. In Google’s Zurich offices they have a slide in their building.

 

An awesome

shiny

big metal slide

that the employees can slide down to get to the cafeteria.

 

The Google Slide

 

Working happy at its finest!

 

Raise your hand if you want to work for Google.

 

Yep. I thought so. That’s why working happy works. When people are happy they perform better.

 

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Image courtesy of  andrewarchy

Alltop Loves Me

AlltopWhat is Alltop you ask? Alltop is a site that takes the best blog feeds from all types of categories and displays them on their site. Their description of what they do goes like this…

 

Alltop’s Purpose

We help you explore your passions by collecting stories from “all the top” sites on the web. We’ve grouped these collections — ”aggregations” — into individual Alltop sites based on topics such as environment, photography, science, celebrity gossip, fashion, gaming, sports, politics, automobiles, and Macintosh. At each Alltop site, we display the latest five stories from thirty or more sites on a single page — we call this “single-page aggregation.”

You can think of an Alltop site as a “dashboard,” “table of contents,” or even a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet. To be clear, Alltop sites are starting points — they are not destinations per se. The bottom line is that we are trying to enhance your online reading by both displaying stories from the sites that you’re already visiting and helping you discover sites that you didn’t know existed. In this way, our goal is the “cessation of Internet stagnation.”

 

I have officially become a valued source to the work happy industry. I know that to become a self actualized person I shouldn’t need validation from outside sources, but I can’t help it. The inclusion of my blog feed into their site makes me proud.

 

So take a look around and see if you can discover any other great sites. My recommendations would be…

 

  1. Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk
  2. Escape from Cubicle Nation
  3. Passion, People and Principles
  4. Three Star Leadership Blog
  5. The Chief Happiness Officer

 

There are so many great sites and I hate to pick only a few, but I wanted to give you a head start. So check them out and be impressed, and If you don’t want to miss any more of the action from Work Happy Now then subscribe to my blog feed and get your daily work happiness fix.

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Oh yeah! I almost forgot, it was pointed out to me that my Google PageRank is at a 5. The scale goes from 1 being low to 9 being so crazy good that it makes you pee your pants. Being at a 5 in less than 3 months is pretty good. I want to thank everyone who has left a comment. When you join in with the conversation it makes this blog 10x better. Just think, when this site explodes you’ll be able to say you were there from the beginning. Okay maybe I’m getting a little ahead of myself, but that’s what this site is all about – living your work dreams. Thanks, now it’s back to work leaving comments, editing my next blog, and online networking.

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It’s the Little Touches that People Remember

Doubletree Cookie

I recently stayed at a Double Tree Hotel in Dallas for training and their little touches were right on the money. When we arrived they had plenty of people working the front desk. The computers were freezing as they processed our check-in, so while we waited for their computer to boot back up the lady gave us some warm chocolate chip cookies. They even had a woman call up to my room fifteen minutes after I walked in to make sure everything was satisfactory. That wasn’t even the best part.

 

The lady that checked us in had a great personality. You could tell that she was working happy. She smiled and joked with us even when she was frustrated with her computer. It made me think of a quote from Charles D. Kerns, PhD.

Both job performance and the employees’ level of happiness impact the potential of success for an organization.

 

When an employee can manage the little annoyances and still allow for a good customer experience then they will help make their company a success. These employees will also rub off on the rest of the staff.

 

I never asked the woman at the hotel if she had trained her staff to respond to customers’ requests in a happy way, but when I stopped by the desk to ask for the training schedule a man in her staff smiled and gave me the starting time for the next morning. I’ve been in the same situation in the past and about 9 out of 10 times I’ve been given the look of “why are you disturbing me with such a trivial question.” He seemed to have the same attitude as her manager: happy.

 

I wish that I could have asked her what her, techniques were, but I could see that she didn’t have time with the line backing up behind me. It made me think of another passage from Charles D. Kerns, PhD.

 

Perhaps the initial way for a managerial leader to think about how to influence the happiness level of his or her employees is in relation to the employee’s present situation. For example, engagement with one’s work can likely be enhanced by having an individual assess her “strengths” and utilize those strengths in her work. This may include coaching to help the individual use her strengths in innovative ways. An employee’s level of engagement at work, and subsequent happiness, is likely boosted when he or she has the opportunity to do what he or she does best at work – utilizing one’s strengths is a positive experience.

 

She probably hired people who were like her, or human resources hired “people-oriented” employees who know how to make a customer feel good.

 

Whatever training or happy plan they had in place seemed to be working, and I’ll be staying at a Double Tree again whenever I have the choice.

 

Have you ever had an outstanding customer service experience? Share your story.

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How Toyota Became #1 – David Magee Responds to My Interview Questions

How Toyota Became #1How Toyota Became #1 was an enjoyable book because it helped me understand how to improve my role as a work happiness writer. There were so many great ideas throughout the book that I contacted the author and asked for a short interview.

 

David Magee kindly responded with two great answers.

 

  1. Toyota has a knack for encouraging their employees to stay engaged by empowering them to improve the company. Why do you think American companies struggle to implement such a process?

 

American companies tend to adopt top level down management where the CEO issues mandates and stressed managers push downward to get them implemented. Toyota fosters more of a grass roots employee contribution whereas the objectives are clearly established and understood company-wide and the tools in place are designed to allow workers of all levels to contribute to these. The result is a downward up system of contribution that provides a power base at the grass roots corporate level.

 

  1. In your book you write that Toyota thinks about long term instead of short term gains. How do you think American companies can change their culture to embrace the long term value instead of quarter to quarter success?

We are caught up in a CNBC world of business in this company where every blip is seen as critical to a company and it creates more and more of a short term business environment. Every little thing that happens at a company should not be considered “breaking news” and it is contributing increasingly to this shorter term, quarterly attitude where all that matters is what you put on the bottom line today…not what you are doing to build the business long term, into the future. I don’t see this changing any time soon. In fact, I see it getting worse until some CEOs and board members have the courage to work almost solely for the long-term. You are seeing this some now at General Electric..which is positive…and we need to see more.

 

I hope you enjoyed the short interview and are convinced you to read the book. I suggest you visit you’re local library or buy it at Amazon.

 

Check out yesterday’s article “How Toyota Became #1 and a Peek into the Short Interview with the Author”

How Toyota Became #1 and a Peek into the Short Interview with the Author

How Toyota Became #1How Toyota became #1.” A book that has great tidbits for any manager or owner. David Magee, the author, talks about the various ideologies that are ingrained within the Toyota culture. The Toyota Production System (TPS) which cuts waste and improves efficiency, is a large part of Toyota’s success. Every employee is expected to help improve every aspect of the business. If a suggestion is implemented they will receive between $5 and $2,000 depending on the value of the suggestion. In 2005 99% of employee suggestions were accepted, which totaled to almost 600,000 accepted suggestions.

 

Dig deeper into Toyota’s history and one finds steady growth, much-better-than-industry-average shareholder returns, off-the-charts consumer loyalty ratings, and some of the happiest employees in the world.”

- David Magee

 

Not every company can implement the same concepts. Ford tried to create a new inventory system that was supposed to surpass Toyota and failed because they didn’t have the infrastructure. Toyota uses the pull technique when building cars, which means they only build as many cars as their customers demand. Toyota actually had to change their system somewhat in America because customers buy their cars off the lot. In Japan they are ordered then built for the customer – the customer pulls for the car and Toyota builds it. In America they had to build cars to sit on the lot, but they still only build to fill that next space that was taken by a customer. Ford uses the push technique – they build the cars then push them out to the dealers. The dealers have to sell them and if they can’t sell them fast enough they go on sale, which means less profit.

 

Ford thought they could implement the TPS system into their factories because it worked for Toyota. They didn’t look at their strengths and try to implement a concept that would fit in with their culture.

 

Understanding The Company’s Culture

 

Businesses bring in consultants that spit out ideas that have worked for other companies, but don’t tailor the ideas to the company’s culture. The excitement and money flows through the organization, at first, but eventually everything goes back to the way it was because they weren’t ready for such a shake up.

 

Working happy is so much more than refining a perfect system like Toyota’s; it’s understanding the culture of the the employees. When Ford tried to implement a TPS system, it shocked the employees. They were probably overwhelmed and they didn’t understand how to make it successful. My guess is they were probably told to do something a certain way, but never understood the reason behind it. They didn’t understand why and how it would help. I’m not sure about Ford’s commitment to their employees, but it did fail and it’s probably due to a lack of communication. A company’s poor communication is one of my biggest pet peeves. Every company I ever worked for rarely told me why we were making certain big decisions. They just did it and expected us to follow.

 

The world is evolving and businesses have to adjust their manager-employee relationships. A company like Toyota who shares their vision with their employees and gives them the ability to improve the company at every level will only get stronger. The employees understand what direction the company wants to head in and can make decisions accordingly.

 

The Toyota system is teaching people to think [for] themselves and find a better way to do the job…to take individual ownership.”

- Dennis Cuneo from How Toyota Became #1

 

Companies have studied Toyota since the 1970’s and still have trouble implementing their ideas. I believe they don’t get the same results because they don’t look at their company’s strengths. They don’t customize the ideas to fit their own company’s culture. They want concepts that they know will work, but the problem is that these patchwork ideas don’t fit because they aren’t built for their company.

 

Make Small Changes

 

My suggestion to struggling companies is to start small and make changes in increments. Create a philosophy that doesn’t revolve around money. Focus on the employee then improve from there. Employees that understand why they do what they do and enjoy doing it will make profits.

 

Simply put, winning means listening to and responding to the customer, not just telling them what they need or should want.”

- David Magee

 

I’ve owned a Toyota Corolla and loved it. It lasted until 204,000 miles. It’s still is my most cherished vehicle in my fifteen year driving span. I would buy another Toyota in a heartbeat and that’s the loyalty companies strive for and Toyota has achieved throughout the world.

 

Toyota is #1 in the car making world because they empower their employees to make their work better. GM, Ford, and Chrysler don’t even come close to creating the enjoyable work environment that Toyota has accomplished. Not every employee fits into their culture, but the ones that do thrive. Toyota doesn’t force their ways on the American employees. For instance, in Japan, Toyota has a morning exercise routine for all their employees. They tried to implement an exercise routine for the Americans and they resisted so Toyota canceled it.

 

Toyota’s Excellence

 

Toyota adapts to what the customer wants as well as the employees. There are many companies that try to do the same thing, but fail to make both happy. Toyota understands that they must create a mutually beneficial relationship with their employees, customers, and suppliers to continue their success. Toyota has built cars for over 50 years without an employee strike. They also work with suppliers to reduce costs when needed, looking for a solution that benefits both parties.

 

The book is well worth the read and shows the accomplishment a company with a long-term vision that doesn’t just focus on profits, but on the customer’s satisfaction.

 

The author David Magee was kind enough to answer a couple of questions. Tomorrow I will post the short interview.

 

The questions he answered was…

 

  1. Toyota has a knack for encouraging their employees to stay engaged by empowering them to improve the company. Why do you think American companies struggle to implement such a process?

  2. In your book you write that Toyota thinks about long term instead of short term gains. How do you think America companies can change their culture to embrace the long term value instead of quarter to quarter success?

 

So check back in tomorrow and see how he responded.

 

You can also check out his book at Amazon or go to his website.

 

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Check out the short interview here:

How Toyota Became #1 and a Peek into the Short Interview with the Author

 

Journalism Needs a Work Happy Make-Over

Newspapers on GroundI read an article over at Duct Tape Marketing, “Will Social and Journalism Ever Work Together?” As I first began to read I scoffed at the idea because I see blogs on almost every major newspaper’s site, from NY Times to Wall Street Journal. As I read through the next paragraph I began to understand the disconnect between management and journalist. A lot of the writing lacked passion. In most cases it was probably because of the support systems that these writers need, but aren’t given.

 

Some of this is due to a lack of information in an “old school” mindset, but a great deal of it is due to the fact that journalists are being asked to embrace these new tools (without a raise in pay) and do so under the umbrella of the paper’s CPM ad model. In other words, go blog, we won’t give you the tools or support to actually do it well, we won’t give you a reason to have a voice and enthusiasm for building a conversation, and, by the way, here’s your page view quota.”

- John Jantsch at Duct Tape Marketing

 

Check out full article here.

 

Being able to work happy is so much more than doing what we love. It’s also about having the right support in place. Management knows that they have journalists in a spot where they want the opportunity to influence people with their words. The management doesn’t have to pay them as much as they are really worth because the journalists have a chance to do something they enjoy. I’m fine with that because the journalists chose that occupation, not for the money, but for the type of work. If the market doesn’t demand that they get paid more then so be it. That being said, if they do have more work on top of their regular work then they should be compensated or management will end up with work that isn’t up to its readers’ standards. The readers aren’t going to keep coming back. They’ll go to a source that truly cares about its topic. There are plenty of other options.

 

What I really get upset about is the lack of support that the journalists receive from management. They should be given the opportunity to take classes, extra pay for anything beyond their regular work, and bonuses for exceeding certain goals. If the writers feel like they are appreciated, they will put out better content. They will work happy because they see that management is trying to work with them.

 

They don’t have to be rewarded with monetary bonuses, but maybe company sports tickets or extra time off. It’s the little things that management can do to make up for their lack of support.

 

Journalists understand the game they are in, but this situation seems similar to the TV writers’ strike because they want to be rewarded for the work that they do, even if it’s a small percentage of the actual take. This is my advice to all paper conglomerates – start helping your team work happy otherwise there will be a backlash.

 

This is one of the major reasons that newspapers are dying out. They used to have writers by the neck. Where else could they write? Now these great writers can go out and create a blog, making a successful business to support their lifestyle. Most writers don’t want to be bothered thought; they just want decent pay and the support that they need so they don’t have to worry about marketing, budgeting, and all those worries. They want to write. If newspapers give them support the writers will help make newspapers successful online.

 

What are your thoughts on major newspapers’ blogs? Do you read them or go to smaller blogs for your topic of choice?

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