You don’t need proof to know that people do better work when they’re in a good mood. And you don’t need a study to tell you that a good mood will spread from person to person. But how do you put people in a good mood? How do you get that started? If you could do that, your team would be happier. Management would be easier, and, almost certainly, there’d be a positive impact on your business.
Based upon our twenty years of business coaching experience, we can tell you that your first step has to be at the big-picture level. The work-performance level won’t cut it. You’ve hired great people, and they want to succeed, so you’re not “motivating” them, or anything like that.
For your team, good moods start way, way past just being competent. Good moods kick in around the excellence level, and even then, your best people are judging themselves on a scale so tough that sometimes even your compliments don’t measure up. To give them a good mood, you have to get out of their realm of expertise.
You have to show them the big picture, and you have to put a face on it. Literally. If you show them a faceless metric, even one that proves great performance, they might smile for a moment before stressing about keeping it green. But if you show them a face, you’ll stop them. You’ll pull them out of the minutiae of their excellence. Show them a satisfied customer, and the big picture comes crystal clear. Show them a happy customer, and you're creating the good mood you want.
Just the Phone
Let’s say all you have is your phone. You’re out and about and you run into one of your customers. Maybe you staged it in your parking lot, or maybe it’s actually random. As always, you check-in and make sure they’re happy. As always, you take mental notes, good and bad. But you want to take this up a notch. Mental notes aren't enough. You might ask to take a selfie with your smiling customer, or a photo of the smiling customer solo. That would certainly put a face on it, but if it’s too awkward you don't need the photo.
What you really need to do is quote them. Take a moment to write down, word for word, anything positive that they said. It needs to be on your phone, because you’re going to use it to create good moods. The phone has a theatrical effect. Don’t paraphrase the quote. Don’t memorize it. Stand there and pull it up on your phone. Read it off word for word, each time. Show it around. This makes it important. And it makes it real.
A recent study published in the Harvard Business Review found that when employees find out that their company makes customers happy, their productivity spikes. No matter how distant the connection might be between the employee’s actual contribution and what the customer actually says, knowing that the customer is happy puts any employee in a good mood.
The Phone & Your Business
Modern management uses this technique, in many different ways, across practically every interaction. It can be the core of your strategic alignment. Just as easily, it can improve the most whimsical detail of your sales presentation.
When your team knows that their success is about making people happy, you won't be able to keep up with just notes on your phone. Build it into your goals, and that faceless metric will start to look like a person your A-player cares about. Build it into your meetings, and you can put whole groups of people in a good mood at once. Just let it spread from there.