March 5, 2014
“My recent visit with Jane Dutton of the University of Michigan’s Center for Positive Organizations inspired me to adapt some of their practical exercises for building leadership and thriving workplaces to my own classroom. Dutton and colleagues have created two tools, the Job Crafting Exercise, a tool designed to make people’s jobs more engaging and fulfilling, and the Reflected Best Self Exercise, which helps people identify their character strengths and help build on their unique strengths and talents.
Based on those tools, I created my own tool, which I called the Reflective Best Student Self and Reflective Best Classroom Exercise.”
March 3, 2014
Ask people what they want in a job, and meaningfulness looms large. For decades, Americans have ranked purpose as their top priority—above promotions, income, job security, and hours. Work is a search “for daily meaning as well as daily bread,” wrote Studs Turkel after interviewing hundreds of people in a striking array of jobs. Yet all too often, we feel that our work doesn’t matter. “Most of us have jobs that are too small for our spirit. Jobs are not big enough for people.”
What makes a job meaningless? After more than 40 years of research, we know that people struggle to find meaning when they lack autonomy, variety, challenge, performance feedback, and the chance to work on a whole product or service from start to finish. As important as these factors are, though, there’s another that matters more.
February 28, 2014
“I’m not a huge fan of surprises, particularly when I’m flying. I’m the guy who bookmarks the flight status page on his phone, only takes carry-on luggage, and still gets to the airport way too early. But on a recent trip home from a conference in Texas, the airport had a surprise in store for me that showed a great example of positive deviance – defined in research by CPO faculty Gretchen Spreitzer and Scott Sonenshein as an intentional behavior that departs from expectations or norms in an honorable way.”
February 27, 2014
Have you ever spent the ENTIRE day sitting at a desk, yet you come home feeling as if you just ran a marathon through streets of molasses wearing cement blocks as shoes? Then read on. There is a better way!
February 26, 2014
“Ever since I met Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology, at his home near Philadelphia last fall to discuss what movement for positive sociology might look like, I’ve been pondering:
What unique opportunities exist to build a new positive sociology movement focusing on human flourishing and the common good? How can positive sociology build on the successes and shortcomings of positive psychology? What are the next steps in launching in a positive sociology movement?
To delve into these questions, in November of 2012, I convened a group of eight sociologists (and one psychologist) to meet with Seligman at the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center.”
February 25, 2014
“The Pursuit of Happiness—it’s an inalienable right and U.S. Constitution. You see it everywhere you look from sitcoms to couples walking by. Yet…have you ever had that gnawing feeling, or gloom and doom sense, that happiness is just…well…not for you?
Well you’re absolutely right. Science agrees. It’s not, and here’s why.”
February 24, 2014
“Last year, before the launch of my first book, I promised my publisher that I would send an email about it to my friends, colleagues, and former students. I spent hours agonizing over the wording of the first draft, wanting to make sure that I wasn’t spamming the people close to me, but sending something they’d be happy to read. After several days of tinkering, I finally sent it out.
A few weeks later, I was in for a surprise. A colleague had written a book, and he sent an email announcing it to his network, using the text from my message… verbatim.”
February 20, 2014
It’s easy to know a high-quality connection when we see it, but how would we describe them or seek them out?
February 19, 2014
“How can the concept of resilience be applied to atonement between victims of crime and perpetrators of crime? Last week, I visited a class at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor called The Atonement Project where we discussed that very question.”
February 18, 2014
“Did you know that most of us live our lives according to outdated (or even false!) happiness theories? It’s a new year and that means a new opportunity for you to make small choices that will help you make the best of everything you have and experience a big boost in your health and happiness!”
February 17, 2014
“A few times a week, I get requests for advice on negotiating a job offer. They usually start like this: I’m in the recruiting process, and I just received an offer from the organization that I want to join. I’d like to sign, but I was hoping for a higher salary. What should I do?
According to conventional wisdom, the best way to boost your salary is to get an offer from a competing employer with a higher salary. It’s true that a competing offer gives you leverage, but many people find this strategy distasteful. If you’ve already decided where you want to work, and you’re not well along the way with other employers, it’s disingenuous to start interviewing elsewhere, not to mention a waste of your time.
In many cases, I’ve proposed a different strategy. It requires no hardball negotiating and keeps your integrity intact.”
February 14, 2014
Incivility can be fun. It was for Glenn Beck, he recently admitted in a Fox News interview. Looking back on his career at Fox, he apologized for the divisiveness he promoted, wishing that he “could have talked about the uniting principles a little more.” Rather than a conservative warrior in the culture wars, he revealed himself to be a culture war profiteer who enriched himself by supplying the conflict. And he’s not the only one.
Are there uniting principles? Right now, millions of Americans are hoping we can heal our painful divisions. The good news, after extensive nationwide research, is that Americans share a wide range of core values. This newly released research, which I conducted through the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, shows that Americans have common ground around 10 core values. These values are strongly and widely held across demographic, religious, and political lines.