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Opening to the Opposite

December 1, 2015

By: Jennifer Evans


I had a volunteer job at the hospital last winter offering patients the opportunity to switch the art hanging on their walls. I did it with a partner, one of us to push the “art-cart” and do the recording tasks, and one to chat with each patient. We took turns. Sounds fun, which it was, and easy which it wasn’t—actually it was a very stressful experience! My partner was a very step-by-step, do-it-by-the-book type of person, I am a try it this way, try it that way, depending on how circumstances are presenting themselves and how it feels type. It was a rough road for us both.

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Proof that positive work cultures are more productive: Kim Cameron in HBR

December 1, 2015

By: Kim S. Cameron, Emma Seppälä


Kim Cameron shares some of his research in this HBR article that talks about the negative effects of stress in the workplace. Research points out that there is an increase in disease and even risk of death for employees who belong to a hierarchal workplace. It also shows that the organizations suffer from stressed-out employees […]

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How to Do More with Less: The Power of Relational Coordination

November 30, 2015

By: Rachael Moreton


It is no secret that it is certainly a challenging time to be leading an organization. Leaders are faced with pressure to achieve better outcomes with fewer resources. In other words, they are expected to do more with less. Sound familiar? In her Positive Links Speaker Series session, Jody Hoffer Gittell proposes that we can use relational coordination to begin tackling this seemingly impossible feat. In this hour-long session, we learn how and why we should invest in the relationships among and between groups of people within an organization.

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CPO Visits U-M Alum in Cleveland

November 24, 2015


On November 4, I had the opportunity to accompany Chris White to Cleveland to speak to the University of Michigan’s Cleveland Council about the Center for Positive Organizations. The Council is comprised of a group of alumni who are not only significant contributors to the University’s capital fundraising campaign, but who are also enthusiastic supporters […]

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A Glimpse Into CPO’s Research Incubator

November 24, 2015

By: Jooa Julia Lee


I have been interested in the seemingly-irrelevant factors that may influence our motivation at work. For example, some of my research looks into how weather can influence worker productivity despite the fact that it is often neglected as an important factor when people think and make plans about how much work they can get done. […]

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A visit with +LAB Affiliates

November 24, 2015


Visiting Leader Chris Murchison, the vice president of staff development and culture at HopeLab, spent an evening with +LAB Affiliates this November to discuss artifacts and how positive practices impact their community. Chris led an inspiring event filled with storytelling, reflection, and research. The group explored how artifacts represent experiences, reflect values, pass on knowledge, […]

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David Mayer on Business Ethics in Fast Company

November 23, 2015


David Mayer, CPO faculty co-director, wrote a Fast Company blog post entitled, “Is ‘Business Ethics’ an Oxymoron?” In this short piece, Mayer discusses the uncommon belief that business can, and are starting to evolve into, more ethical places. This post is part of a monthly ethics column that Mayer is contributing on. Read some of Mayer’s past posts […]

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Valiant Leadership

November 18, 2015

By: Jennifer Evans


I usually go to yoga on Fridays. Actually I don’t really like yoga though I keep thinking I should like it and I keep trying it every few years … It’s just not my thing. Surprisingly I do like this class. The teacher is eccentric enough to keep me interested and she calls this Friday evening class Happy Hour. So for the last year I’ve been going pretty consistently.

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Expertise and the Paradox of Power

November 17, 2015

By: Robert E. Quinn


There is a very impressive woman I have known for a long time. Professionally she spent her life as a public school teacher. One day we were discussing the work I was doing interviewing highly effective teachers. I mentioned that many of them seemed to be masterful facilitators. They could ask relevant questions, listen deeply to student answers and then weave a meaningful, collective conversation. They seemed different from their peers. Their classrooms were positive organizations where learning accelerated. She immediately responded, “I could never do that facilitator thing.”

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Earth Laughs in Flowers – Ralph Waldo Emerson

November 3, 2015

By: Jennifer Evans


I was thinking about putting flowers in the lobby of my floor at the business school. It seems like people generally like flowers but I also had a sense that there might be a bigger impact from this small action based in what I understand of Gretchen Spreitzer’s research on Thriving. Also I was curious to extend something that happened when I’d brought lobby flowers to a school at which I was Dean. I noticed that a student was taking a picture of each fresh bunch. She told me that when she saw the flowers she was reminded that she could start fresh each day which made me happy. At that school I was in a position to do such a thing, here I hesitated because I thought I might be asked to stop. Maybe because our building is very designed, glass and modern and this addition would make our floor inconsistent with the others.

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Latest Research Says Praising Employees Boosts Productivity After All

November 1, 2015


Research from Dr. Jooa Julia Lee was featured in this Forbes article on the concept of ‘best-self activation’ and research provided by the Reflected Best Self Exercise. “Overwhelmingly, those who read positive statements about their past actions were more creative in their approach, more successful at problem-solving and less stressed out than their counterparts.”

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How to Turn an Organization Positive

October 29, 2015

By: Katherine Johnson


Positive deviance—a seemingly ironic phrase I first heard when I was introduced to Positive Organizational Scholarship less than a year ago. At the 100th session of the Positive Links Speaker Series, Bob Quinn illuminated, to me, what it means to be positively deviant: to act outside of a conventional norm—a deviant behavior—and in a more positive direction. Seems pretty simple.

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