Chief Happiness Officer Strategy #2: Shape Each Person’s Mindset

In this second article of my three-part series on the Chief Happiness Officer (if you haven’t read article one, go back and do that now), we’ll explore the next strategy for a successful Chief Happiness Officer: shaping each person’s mindset.

It is the job of managers and supervisors to help employees gain the hard skills they need to do their jobs well. The job of the Chief Happiness Officer is to attend to the intangible skill of shifting an individual’s mindset. This primes the employee to excel in and feel fulfilled by their work which, in turn, increases engagement and performance.

When we talk about mindset, here’s a story I want to tell:

Years ago I was invited by the National Association of Secondary School Principals to be their opening keynote speaker. I was so deeply honored and privileged to share the stage with Dr. Carol Dweck. Forty years of Dr. Dweck’s research at Stanford University has been dedicated to mindset, and in her work, she explains two predominant types of mindsets. There’s a fixed mindset and there’s a growth mindset.

The fixed mindset says: it can’t be done. The growth mindset says: HOW can it be done?

The real responsibility of the Chief Happiness Office is to identify how to ensure people have a growth mindset toward moving the business forward, moving their lives forward, and moving the community/society forward.

The reason mindset is critically important is because a person’s mindset infuses the will-set and the skill-set. We can tell people all day, every day, that they need to up-skill. But if they don’t have the will and they don’t have the mind, then they’re toast.

So what the CHO has to begin to identify is if a person has a fixed mindset, where does that come from? It’s not the responsibility of the Chief Happiness Officer to change their mind; their responsibility is to invite people on a journey to discover how their mindset can move them forward or hold them back

There are only two things an employee does when they come into an organization: they enter and they exit. The responsibility of the Chief Happiness Office is to understand what that employee does from the entrance to the exit which determines the value they have in their life and the value they have in the company.

The CHO must begin to identify if a person has a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Once he or she has identified that, then they should explore how to help them become the best they can be while they are in the organization. This can be as simple as asking them questions to identify if they have critical thinking skills, and if they don’t, provide for them all of the tools that allow them to grow that skill.

Hidden in that title “Chief Happiness Officer” is also Chief Educational Officer. The word education comes from educare. Educare means to draw out, not just to put in. The Chief Happiness Officer can draw people out by understanding what’s important to employees and discovering how they retain information. Doing these two things will give the CHO a window into employees’ minds, and once you have that window into their minds, then you begin to understand their level of emotional and spiritual intelligence. Once you identify that, then you know how to infuse the will and upgrade the skill.

As resident educator, the Chief Happiness Officer’s responsibility is also to help people think beyond what they’ve been hired to do and create value that is second to none. It’s the intangibles that allow people to stay with the organization, not just the tangible job of what they are there to do

When I moved out of the ghetto, I didn’t shift my mental zip code for many years, and it took having a surround sound of mentors, guides, and coaches to help me shift into a growth mindset over time.  The real job of the Chief Happiness Officer is to help people cultivate their confidence to take risks, to push the envelope, to ask the question because they don’t fear being laid off, kicked to the curb, or otherwise ostracized by the organization.

HappinessSimon T. Bailey