The Progress Principle
July 19, 2011
Summer is the perfect time for a book like this. Many of us are less busy than other times of year, taking vacations, looking forward to weekend events, etc. There are a lot of distractions in summer!
Conventional wisdom holds that, at work as in life, there are happy people and unhappy people; that's just the way they are, and there isn't much that will change them short of life-altering events. In fact, research has shown that pleasant or unpleasant temperament does remain relatively stable over time, and certain aspects of motivation are stable, too. But the big news from our research is that most people's inner work lives shift a great deal over time as a function of their personalities. Unwelcome events will trigger down days even for people who are basically upbeat. Nearly everyone in our study had days when inner work life soared and days when it plummeted. Such changes can happen quickly.Fortunately, the book is packed with hard research - 30 years worth, detailing seven companies who through success and failure identified what makes people feel good about their contributions, and how to foster that from the time they start. It's a clear guide that can help managers with a potentially challenging and frustrating task. But, when advice like this is followed through on, both employees and management will discover a stronger inner life work, and the joys of outer life work - sharing your time with a great group of talented and happy people.