Recently, our leadership team spent our Monday 90-minute update meeting focusing on JOY.  You may be thinking…’What does JOY have to do with business? Our answer: Everything!

When we are connected to what we enjoy, we do our best work. We are in flow, more possibilities are clear, and a regeneration occurs versus feeling pressure or stress to complete a task. When a team is unified  around a common strategy and vision, more productivity emerges. When a company culture holds enjoyment as a guiding principle, the culture is more alive, and everyone and everything the organization touches is made better. There is a vitality that is felt by those involved.

Our Discovery

What we noticed during our dialogue about JOY, is that we each had personal and professional stories of when we experienced joy. After we all shared, we noticed that there were three common themes that amplify how and when JOY is felt and remembered:

– When we are giving back, or being of service, JOY is present.
– When we contribute to something greater than ourselves, JOY comes with the giving of ourselves.
– When we feel valued, seen, and recognized for our talents and contributions, we feel JOY.

How does all this translate to business?

– How does your organization’s service or products act ‘in service’ to your audience(s)?
– Is there a clarified, well established, and strongly held shared vision for your company?
– Are your leaders and teams clear on the direction and do they feel part of the shared vision?
– Do you have a mechanism and culture of appreciation and recognition?
– Are you cultivating people’s best contributions in service to your vision and your customers?

If you struggle with any of these questions, this may be the time to open the conversation.

Here are some steps to start your own discussion around JOY with your team and organization:

1) Invite your team to a JOY meeting – come prepared to share what JOY means to them and how it shows up in life and at work.
2) Create an agreement that the meeting is a safe-zone of non-judgement.
3) Carve out and protect 90 minutes of time, more if your team is larger than 10.
4) Arrange chairs in a circle or around a table. When meeting via teleconference. Call out a sharing order ahead of time to people listen to who’s speaking.
5) Give each person three minutes to share their response to the following question. “When do you feel the most JOY? Share about how this occurs in your life and at work.” Offer depth by inviting exploration into what activities, destinations, sights, sounds, past journeys, etc. people experienced and can share.
6) After everyone shares, ask the group if they notice any common themes. What are the ways people describe the physical sensation of joy? Notice the tone/energy in the room/on the call, when everyone speaks about JOY. How would you describe it? How does it feel in your body? This is important to capture, write down on a white board or in teleconferencing chat, as this captures the ‘energy’ of JOY and when we identify it we can call it up and return to it whenever it’s helpful.
7) Ask the team “In what areas of our collective work do we notice JOY showing up? Where do we NOT notice it? How can we bring in more of it into what we do?
8) What would have to change in order to make more room for more JOY to exist? What would it take for us to be in JOY all the time? What would this do to our productivity, client satisfaction, turnover rate, performance outcomes, stress level, and more?”
9) Ask the team what blocks them from having this experience 100% of the time. What blocks affect the team? Affect the whole organization? What can be done to remove these blocks?
10) Decide on a new agreement to hold JOY in all meetings. Decide how this will show up to start meetings, hallway discussions, reviews, team collaborations, client interactions and more.

Questions to ask in every meeting: “How can I make this fun? When do we need to work on this in order for ease and optimal creativity to emerge? How can I turn up the FUN/JOY dial on this project? What mindset  am I choosing to be in or am I in when doing what is in front of me?”

Reach out for more suggestions or to schedule a date for your next JOY-filled leadership team offsite.