Being Positive at Work: It Simply Makes Business Sense

What do you think about the positivity at work movement?

I’ve written about positivity psychology at work before, noting:

“If choosing positivity for ourselves is within our power (and I believe it is – we choose our attitude every day), why are we neglecting positivity in the workplace? Is it because we work in a highly competitive culture? Is it because we believe we can only thrive in the workplace at the expense of others?”

Positivity is a choice

And now I see that Lisa Zigarmi and Chris Edmonds of the Ken Blanchard companies have written a tweet book on the topic, “#POSITIVITY AT WORK tweet.” In an interview in SmartBlog on Leadership, they confirm my point about positivity being a choice:

Creating positive well-being is a choice by any organization members. This ‘positivity revolution’ will not take hold if it is seen as a ‘program’ sponsored by HR, talent management or learning and OD [organizational development] functions. A safe, respectful, constructive work environment enables satisfied employees and leaders to deliver quality products and services that inspire customer devotion and revenue that exceeds expenses. Positivity at work makes business sense.

“Leaders that create the conditions for individual growth and positivity enjoy not only the benefits above but see lower health care costs (physical and mental health improves in these workplaces), stability of the workforce (talented staff stay), and increased application of discretionary energy from an inspired workforce.”

Recognition based on core values

But how do you create those conditions for individual growth and positivity? I strongly believe you must create a culture of recognition based on your core values so it is clear to every employee (1) what behaviors and achievements are required for success; and, (2) they will be praised and recognized for demonstrating those behaviors.

Chris Edmonds also confirmed this approach in another SmartBlog on Leadership post in which he said:

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“Organization values are the foundation of every plan, decision and action. In high-performance, values-aligned organizations, there is greater focus on values demonstration than there is on performance demonstration. There are typically many systems in place to gauge productivity, efficiency, market share and the like. Organizations must implement systems to reinforce and gauge values alignment to enjoy values alignment.”

Do you use your core values at work to help build positivity around recognition and appreciation? If not, what kind of culture does your organization have? What’s it built on?

You can find more from Derek Irvine on his Recognize This! blog.

Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their company culture. As the Vice President of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek helps clients — including some of world’s most admired companies such as Proctor and Gamble, Intuit, KPMG, and Thomson Reuters — leverage recognition strategies and best practices to better manage company culture, elevate employee engagement, increase retention, and improve the bottom line. He's also a renowned speaker and co-author of Winning with a Culture of Recognition. Contact him at


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