In 2004, Gallup published the book How Full Is Your Bucket? The book was a collaboration between Don Clifton and his grandson, Tom Rath.
In the book, Don and Tom discuss the importance of everyday interactions and how increasing the positive interactions can make a big difference in a person's life, stressing that, "Positive emotions are essential daily requirements for survival." Essential daily requirements. It almost sounds like a slogan for a daily vitamin. But this statement is grounded in years of solid research, beginning with Don's work at the University of Nebraska in the 1950s and continuing today with hundreds of scientists around the globe.
Daniel Kahneman, a Nobel Prize recipient and Gallup Senior Scientist Emeritus, suggests that each day, we experience approximately 20,000 moments. A "moment" is defined as a few seconds when our brains record an experience. The moments that stay with us are either positive or negative -- usually not neutral. While we cannot take time to analyze each moment of our life, we could consciously begin to practice the art of increasing the number of positive interactions each day. Think about how just one positive interaction can turn your day around. Think about how these daily interactions can change your life and those you connect with.
Positivity is one of my dominant themes of talent. It is who I was as a child, and it is who I am now at age 60. Positivity helps me be more productive and engaged in my work and life. But I once had a boss who said, "Tim, you are too positive." I asked him if there was something about my Positivity that was getting in the way of my work and work relationships. "No," he said, "I just don't like it, that's all." Ouch. My reaction? I found myself holding back from using this wonderful talent, and I was less productive and engaged with others.
Thankfully, that interaction wasn't the culmination of the feedback I received about my Positivity. Don Clifton wrote me a note after we completed a project with a university, stating that he loved my Positivity -- "You are one of the most positive people I have ever met." Wow. Talk about a life-changing moment for me. I now wear my Positivity proudly.
The former CEO of Campbell, Doug Conant, speaks of high-quality touchpoints: daily, positive connections with associates. He said these touchpoints are not distractions in the workplace, but positive moments of interruptions. Conant believes these high-quality touchpoints helped improve overall employee engagement at Campbell.
One of our wonderful Gallup strengths coaches states that as coaches, we touch people on a very personal level, and we can make a difference, literally one person at a time. Whether it is one coaching session or several sessions, strengths coaches can make a difference with those high-quality touchpoints. Armed with the valid, reliable and practical CliftonStrengths tool, think about how strengths coaches can help clients experience more positive moments -- tailored to their strengths -- every day.
Strengths coaches make an impact when they help someone discover that their Positivity can be an asset -- not a liability. Coaches help individuals fall in love with their Command and see this theme of talent as a potential leadership strength -- not a trait of a "control freak." Coaches help people view their Ideation as creativity -- not a constant state of having your "head in the clouds." Great strengths coaches help individuals discover who they are and where they are going.
As our clients become aware of, appreciate and apply their talents as strengths, they likely will have increased positive moments, especially at work. And those positive moments will increase their personal engagement. It can also affect the team. Don and Tom state that workgroups with positive-to-negative interactions ratios of 3-to-1 are significantly more productive.
As strengths coaches, we help individuals move from weakness-fixing to strengths-building. Gallup research confirms there is a strong connection between how people feel and how they perform. When individuals feel good about their talents and lead from strengths, they likely will have increased moments that are more positive on a daily basis.