14 Jun 2016

Increase positivity to boost company productivity

Increase positivity to boost company productivity

Increasing productivity in Finnish companies has been a hot topic in Finland for the past year. Despite numerous efforts in three part negotiations between politicians, business leaders and union representatives, a mutual agreement on how to do this has been hard to reach. I would like to add a completely different viewpoint to the debate. How can we use positivity to become more productive and successful in business and on a personal level?

Massive academic studies has lately developed in the area of positive psychology, and it clearly shows that happiness, positivity and life satisfaction are strong predictors of successful business outcome. Positivity has an impact on performance on every level: on productivity, on creativity, and on work engagement. As incredible as it may sound to the average manager and business leader, happy employees and positive work climate means better bottom-line results. Lyubomirsky, King and Diener conclude in their meta-analysis of 225 academic studies on the subject, that there is strong evidence that positivity precedes success instead of only the other way around. That means that you need to have a positive outlook first to reach success later.

So what can we do to increase positive emotions and happiness in Finnish companies, and among top level decision makers, to boost Finnish productivity? We can actually train our brain into a more positive outlook, similarly to training our muscles at the gym. Here are some tips on how each and every one of us can develop new habits to become more positive and happier and to spread more positivity around us.

Chose one of the following to practice each day for three weeks in a row – the time it takes for a new habit to really stick and become habitual:

  1. End or start each day by writing down at least three things you are grateful for today
  2. Write a positive message to someone in your support network each day
  3. Write down the most meaningful experience of the past 24 hours, each day
  4. Offer to help a co-worker each day
  5. Make eye-contact, smile and say hello to people in your vicinity both at work and outside
  6. Say thank you and give positive feedback to at least one person a day

Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

Yet, my modest bet is that if every individual in Finland would actually do one of these for at least 21 days in a row, within six months we would have increased Finnish productivity with the desired 5%.

Whether your company needs support in leadership development, implementing a new business strategy or manage organisational transformation – contact us to find out how we can support you and help your business grow.


To find out more, see the following:

Achor, Shawn (2010): The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work. Crown Business.

Achor, Shawn (2012): Positive Intelligence, HBR, Jan-Feb 2012

Goleman, Daniel, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee: (2001): Primal Leadership: The Hidden Driver of Great Performance, HBR, Dec 2001.

Lyubomirsky, Sonja, Laura King and Ed Diener (2005): The Benefits of Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success? Psychological Bulletin, Vol. 131, No. 6, 803–855

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Pernilla Gripenberg
Director, Design and Delivery - Ph.D.
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