Does success bring happiness? Or vice versa?

April 05 2018
Executive Education INCAE

Ramiro Casó is a psychologist who is not ashamed to recognize that passion is not the origin of the exercise of his profession, as so much is said. And it's not that he's not passionate about his work, but that current enthusiasm has been more the result of a successful career building and so he feels confident to lead by example. 

“You don't have to follow passion; passion follows you ”, says among other phrases that alter the usual order of talent management discourses. It also states that success (especially in the professional or business field) is not necessarily a factor of happiness or well-being, but the latter concept is a requirement for success. Nobody unmotivated or stressed reaches their goals, if they have them.

Casó, visiting professor at INCAE Business School, usually begins his presentations by noting that his work consists of building attitudes, and this implies working with people's beliefs, their affections and, therefore, their behaviors.

This is not just an ingredient list. A student of modern psychology currents, Casó argues with total forcefulness that companies that have not joined the world current should be very concerned about incorporating the element of human well-being into their strategy. 
The price they pay is high in absenteeism, staff turnover (with the consequent cost of the learning curve), work stress, anxiety or disengagement from the goals of the organization. The costs are multimillion dollar.

“Little by little it is understood that happiness causes success, not the other way around. There is a large relationship between well-being and efficiency. When people are happy, they are more open to new challenges with better dispositions and better tools. A happy person learns better and is more creative, "Casó summarized in a talk to leaders of various organizations.

So far, everything is understandable, but the challenge is always to put the ideas into practice. How to promote well-being in an organization? There are many ways, but one of the most ordered is to adhere to the concepts associated with the PERMA model, a theory of well-being developed by Dr. Martin Seligman.
PERMA is the acronym for the concepts in English considered essential to understand this approach. They are "positive emotions", "engagement", "relations", "meaning" and "achievement".

On each of these concepts, Casó gives its advice based on various studies and measurements approved in multiple cases.

-    How to promote "positive emotions"?  Maintain a positive 3-1 ratio when giving feedback. That is to say, indicate three hits for each error. 

-    How to generate that "engagement" with the organization? Promote experiences that generate something called "flow", the psychological state where the skills of the person and the demands of the task coincide. This prevents staff from falling into boredom or anxiety or frustration. 

-    How to work relationships? One option is to commit random, conscious acts of kindness of generosity and incorporate them into the day-to-day life of the organization.

-    What do you mean by "meaning"? In other words, assuming tasks as a cause beyond mere work. It is desirable that the aspirations of the staff are connected to those of the company.

-    How to approach the achievements? This is where we return to the phrase that you do not have to follow passion, but vice versa. Geniuses are not born, they are built. The formula is almost mathematical: skill equals talent multiplied by effort. The fruits come later, if not that they have already arrived during the process.

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