How to Energize Your Organization

The four elements of unhappiness are helplessness, paralysis, isolation, and insignificance.

You can’t feel happy and feel like you don’t matter.



Successful leaders energize. Happiness is energy.

Success always includes making someone feel happy.

How do teams find energy?

Happiness feels like:

  1. Control: Belief that choices are available and personal decisions impact direction and destination. Feeling powerful is acting upon rather than being acted upon.
  2. Progress: Next steps are available, clear, and actionable.
  3. Connectedness: Relationships that feel trustworthy, supportive, energizing, and challenging.
  4. Purpose: Engagement with something that matters.

Successful leaders create frameworks where people feel in control, take next steps, build connections, and do what matters.

#1. Control:

If you want to lead a happy organization make people feel powerful.

Successful leaders make people feel powerful by giving control not taking it. Rather than imposing demands, commit to shared values and vision, agree on best practices, then release.

Behaviors apart from shared values are burdens.

#2. Progress:

If you want to lead an unhappy organization focus on “can’t do” and “won’t work.”

Successful leaders identify next steps toward clearly defined success.

You can’t be happy and feel lost at the same time.

Create progress by establishing achievable milestones. If you want to achieve a big goal, complete lots of little goals.

A small win today is better than a big win next week. (As long as there’s a series of small wins along the path.)

Successful leaders ask:

  1. How did we win yesterday?
  2. How are we winning today?
  3. How will we win tomorrow?

Warning: Exhaustion and unhappiness are bedfellows.

#3. Connectedness:

Get on their team before asking them to commit to yours. Make people feel they aren’t alone.

  1. Understand their goals and values.
  2. Do more than work. Have fun.
  3. Listen without judging.
  4. Celebrate strengths.
  5. Acknowledge progress.

#4. Purpose:

Do stuff that matters.

How can leaders move teams and organizations toward happiness?

How would you help people feel in control, progress, connectedness, and/or purpose?