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October 2019
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positive psychology

Success is a Science

Posted by: Vernon Bryce, Director, Capp

 

“Everyone can rise above their circumstances and achieve success
if they are dedicated and passionate about what they do”

(Nelson Mandela)

 

A student scanned her university’s psychology reference library shelves. They were full of outstanding studies in delinquency, depression, drug addiction, divorce, debt; many important yet curiously incomplete pictures of human behaviour. Where were the triumphs, joys, adventures, the peaks of human endeavour and success she wondered?

 

In another place and time, a first class coach in sporting team performance, unusually at the time, recorded the winning plays in his team’s games. He then replayed them to his team. Impressively, the team improved its winning performances as never before and, as they observed and learned from their winning plays, their success was sustained.

 

Both had something in common; belief that success and failure, though important, are opposite to each other only in a dictionary. Behaviourally they are not opposite. Focussing on one, in the absence of the other, is neither enlightening nor productive. In business, we are getting better at understanding this difference, the difference between failure and success in terms of turning the master keys to improving performance.

 

Consider this. Some Sales, Leadership, L&D, Grad and Recruitment specialists each ask for £10,000 from their CFO’s discretionary ‘value creation’ fund. Some teams ask for the fund to spend the money on reducing costs, some ask for spend to study failure rates. One team, rather hopefully they thought, ask the CFO for £20 000, asking her to invest in Success. To the amazement of the other teams, the ‘success study’ team won.

 

Here’s what the CFO had to say. “I have often puzzled on why in business we spend an inordinate slice of our precious time investigating why things go wrong and not investing why things go right. We can learn a lot from why customers buy from us, more than why they do not. We learn more from why our successful people stay than why they may leave. In my view it’s the successful people we have now that will make us great in future. So I had no hesitation in investing in Success’’.

 

Opportunity is there for the taking; opportunity to create sharper workforces. Let’s study success, let’s get data on its strengths, nuances, capabilities; then find how to measure success robustly, accurately and reliably. Let’s draw and develop success models. Let’s study the many positive role models out there; also their best plays, in leaders, engineers, art, teaching, healthcare research and front line professions, sales, service, retail, projects, science, technology and design.

 

Some say the “War for Talent is over; Talent won’’. Soon, people will say the “Strengths revolution is over, and Success won’’. Strengths and Success are the new kids on our block; they are more than siblings, they are twins in our quest for talent.

 

“Success is a science. If you have the conditions you get the results”

(Oscar Wilde)

 

 

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Using Strengths and Positive Psychology This Festive Season

Posted by: Nicky Garcea

 

Christmas and New Year, for some, is a time for celebration and jubilation. For others, it will be a period of reflection, sadness or stress. As I approach my first Christmas with my son, I am reminded of how positive psychology and strengths have played a part in his first year, and how both will feature in our Christmas.

 

Mental snap shots: This year like no other, I have been taking mental photographs and collecting my positive resources. I find I can pull out these positive mental images during points of the day which cause my tension or apprehension. Many of you will be familiar with the work of Barbara Fredrickson and her approach to building positive emotional resources. I know this Christmas, which I will spend with my 10 month old son and 89 year old Nan, will provide me with some great chances to build up my mental image bank. What mental photographs will you take?

 

Creating rituals: As I talk to my friends who are also approaching their child’s first Christmas, they share with me their childhood memories and the new rituals they are forming as a family. Even for those of you who will work over the Christmas period, I suspect you will squeeze in at least one of your favourite Christmas rituals. What will it be?

 

Savouring moments: Christmas, even in years when we may have experienced loss, provides us with moments to savour. This holiday period seems always to be filled with sensory explosions, smells, tastes, sounds and things to touch! Taking time to stop and savour these moments, helps to remind us that pleasure can come from the simplest of gifts. How will you stay mindful and savour more moments this Christmas?

 

Pulling on our strengths: I am an anticipator. I am already conjuring up some of the potential highs and lows of the week ahead. I am currently of the view that the Realise2 strength of Reconfiguration is possibly the most helpful strength over Christmas. This strength means that you can take pleasure in plans changing and can re-arrange resources at a moment’s notice. Which of your strengths do you think you will pull on most this Christmas?

 

Happy New Year: It is scientifically impossible to be happy all of the time. It is also proven that you can have too much of a good thing. However, focusing on our strengths and being realistically optimistic is good for us. It is sometimes easier when we’re under pressure to forget the impact of focusing on what is going well in our lives, losing sight of the benefit this has on our minds and health. As we venture into the New Year, how might you increase your focus on your strengths, the aspects of your life that you most treasure, and the relationships that you want to nurture?

 

Doing each of these will make for a Happier New Year. Here’s to doing them in 2013, and beyond.

 

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