In Pursuit of Happiness (#SHRM11 Learnings pt. 2)

"It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves, and it is not possible to find it elsewhere." -- Agnes Repplier

Am I a culture fit for this company?  Do my values and beliefs align with those of the organization?  These are two questions that many job seekers, employers, and employees are asking themselves these days.  Culture is the true embodiment for which the organization truly stands.  Some companies have culture that is world-famous, while many are simply trying to figure it out.  As a member of Generation Y (typical, but not stereotypical), I can tell you this on behalf of Gen Y’ers:  Culture counts.  It does matter.

What company immediately comes to mind when you think about the word culture?  This question is for everyone – job seekers, those gainfully employed and employers.  I know one that rises to the top in my mind:  Zappos!  Yes, the web-based shoe (and much more) company located in Henderson, NV that has been covered a gazillion times in the media regarding their company culture and customer service.  They have puppets in their TV commercials.  How's that for culture? :)  I had the opportunity to hear Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, speak at the SHRM (Society for Human Resources) Annual Conference in Las Vegas a few weeks ago.  Wow.  Talk about a cool company culture.  I can honestly say that EVERY ONE of their employees seem to have fun at work while providing excellent customer service in a transparent atmosphere.  How can this be true?  How many other companies can boast this achievement?  There aren’t many…

As promised in last week’s post, I’m going to pull the good “nuggets” from his speech and share them with you, just as I did from Richard Branson’s keynote.  There are a few other phenomenal speakers that I’m going to highlight in the coming weeks that include Arianna Huffington, Editor in Chief of The Huffington Post and Michael J. Fox.  I may be saving the best for last…MJF was riveting and left us all with a personal challenge.  I can’t wait to share that with you!
Back to the takeaways from Tony Hsieh’s speech… if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google “Zappos + Culture” and see what pops up at the top.  Customer service.  Culture.  Purpose.  Passion.  What do all these things start with?  Happiness.  Yes, I said it.  Happiness!

Where does the road to happiness start?  It starts with you!  Here are a couple of key points that will help in your journey:

Define committable core values.  What are the top things you’re committed to in your career and life?  In my opinion, they shouldn’t be separate.  Put some serious thought into defining your core values – it takes time.  Can you commit 100%?

If one of your core values is to “deliver excellent customer service,” this applies to all your customers (including friends, family, and co-workers.)  I think we sometimes forget this and get so focused on our job at work, we forget about those at home supporting us.  They’re all customers.  Deliver them all the very best.  Click here to see Zappos! Core Values.

Define your brand.  This is like the chicken and the egg.  What came first?  If you don’t have core values, how can you define your brand?  But, if you don’t have a good brand definition, how will you know your core values serve the purpose?  Don’t try to do one without the other.  Your personal brand and core values should work together.  Here are a couple of links to help you define your personal brand:
Define your long-term happiness.  Ask yourself:  What makes me happy now?  What do I want to work toward for ultimate happiness?  The pursuit of happiness is ongoing.  Are your goals attainable, yet challenging?  Will achievement of those goals help you obtain happiness?

Hsieh said, “At Zappos, we see ourselves as a service company that just happens to sell shoes.  We wanted to make the Zappos brand be about providing the very best customer service and customer experience…..Every company should have values it can actually commit to.  In the end, it’s all about delivering happiness, whether it’s customers or employees.”

Employers – If your employees are happy, they’re more productive.  If they’re more productive, you’re more profitable.  If your customers are happy, they’ll tell others about their happiness, creating a wildfire by word of mouth - all due to the happiness factor.

Job seekers/Employees – If you’re happy, you stay longer, right?  You want to know that what you do matters; that what you do is part of the company’s mission and vision.  You want to know that your success is intrinsically tied to the success of your employer.

Curious about Tony’s book, Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose?  I read it (you should too) – here’s my review: Finding True Career Happiness: Culture Counts!

What makes you happy?  Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?  Let me know!  I appreciate (and respond to each of) your comments.  Just leave me a note below.  you like this article, it would make me happy if you would share this with your network via Twitter, Facebook, StumbleUpon, Google+, email, and the other 50 or so options for sharing.  As always, thank YOU for reading.  You’re awesome.  Tell someone else they’re awesome today (they’ll be happy) and pay it forward!

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Tags: #SHRM11, Gen, Hsieh, Tony, Y, Zappos, brand, core, culture, happiness, More…personal, values

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