My goal this year is to be happy. That’s it – not much to ask but talk to those around you, how many of your friends, co-workers or even family are really happy? I’ve been practicing mindfulness in order to stop racing through life (and work) and make sure I make time to go for that walk in the morning, every morning. And don’t work all weekend, every weekend!
So when I met with my business coach last week and we focused on personal and professional purpose, you’ll understand mine was centred around spreading happiness.
She started with two questions about Your Virtual Assistant as a business:
- Who are we?
- Why do we exist?
Not easy questions to answer about your business but doing so helped draft our purpose:
Our PURPOSE is to spread happiness with those we work with; internally within our team and externally with our clients and partners.
EXTERNALLY we’ll achieve this by responding to our client problems with solutions, while filling in the gaps in their business using our resource of smart experienced thinkers and problem solvers with multi-faceted strengths.
INTERNALLY we’ll continue to improve our company culture and align what we do with our personal purpose. Each member of our team has the right to feel fulfilled, appreciated and supported from both a management level and by our co-workers.
This article, How happiness can help you in business is well worth the read if you have a minute. The spotlight is on Moo.com and Zappos and how both company’s core values are all around promoting happiness both in their (lucky) staff and in going above and beyond to delight their customers.
I want this.
The next step in my pursuit of happiness for this business was to identify what we are already doing to spread smiles. Only then could I find how to keep this purpose front of mind (day in day out) and identify weaknesses in both our culture and processes. Here’s what we are already doing to promote happiness:
- Every package client receives a free task each month – added value. Our team have a list of suggested ways we can add value when they’re stuck for inspiration but for the most part as we are working during the month we’ll see something (unexpected) we can do. No charge.
- We work hard to support our team of contractors through email, regularly team skypes, a closed Facebook group and one-on-one support. If a contractor comes to me saying they are struggling, overwhelmed, having a conflict with another contractor (or client!) or having personal issues, we’ll work to resolve this. A happy team is HUGE in terms of my sanity and our clients happiness levels. My team is my biggest asset and I ask a lot of them, in return we celebrate wins and work as a team, supporting each other. They make me look good!
- Over the last year we’ve moved how we work from being task focused to outcome and goal focused. This gives us the freedom to use our experience and initiative while making sure at the end of the day that our clients get the results they need. Happy clients give us a buzz.
- Thank you gifts and emails – clients and contractors.
- Monthly reports so the client knows exactly what we are doing, suggestions for improvement, what’s working well – and what’s not.
What we need to do:
- A happiness audit for both our clients and within the team. Is what we do aligning with personal goals and purpose of those we work with? Questions need to be asked!
- Does every email, message, skype or face to face convey happiness. Even a no can be phased positively so do we keep any frustrations out of our communications? And if we have frustrations are we looking at the source and finding ways to eliminate them?
- Thank you gifts could be more frequent.
- We are completely focused on business and professional processes. This needs to change to ensure personal purpose is aligned with what our team and clients are doing on a day to day basis.
- Looking at our onboarding process for both clients and contractors, is our culture and purpose reflected in each step? Not yet (it will be though).
For me the biggest challenge is incorporating happiness in our day to day. We get busy, we are met with challenges and we have bad days. So creating a culture that incorporates happiness into everything we do isn’t easy – but it’s worth it. I want everyone who engages with our people to be infected with our happiness and I’m 100% determined to achieve this.
So dear reader, what drives you?
Find out how to achieve happiness in business by downloading your free guide here.