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Happy Project: How to Make Your Project a Happier Place | Video

Happy Project: How to Make Your Project a Happier Place | Video

Is your project a happy place?
I hope so.

But can you deliberately raise morale without going all ‘happy-clappy’?
Well, yes you can.

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This is learning, so, sit back and enjoy

Lab experiments looked at small, deliberate acts of kindness and generosity. They find people then pay them forward by doing the same for others.

But that’s just the lab, right?


So, Joseph Chancellor, of Cambridge University, and colleagues at The University of California, Riverside tested this in the workplace. Working with Cocal Cola staff, they looked at mood and life satisfaction.

Some of the people in the survey group were set a special task. These ‘givers’ had to perform small acts of kindness to some of the other people in the study; the ‘receivers’. But they avoided doing so for another group in the study; the ‘controls’.

At the end of the study, three things were evident:

  1. The receivers had noticed these ‘pro-social’ behaviors.
    And they also had a greater sense of autonomy than the controls. A month after the experiment, they were still happier than the controls.
  2. The givers also felt an increased sense of autonomy.
    And a month later, they had elevated levels of job and life satisfaction. And, in an increasingly challenging work environment, they had fewer depressive symptoms.
  3. Receivers also ‘paid forward’ the good deeds.
    The number of pro-social acts they reported at the end of the study had increased by a factor of 3.

So what can we conclude?

  • Acts of generosity and kindness really do make people happier.
  • Giving has an even more durable impact than receiving.
  • Pro-social behavior is contagious. We don’t just reciprocate; we pay it forward.

And what can you do to make your project happier?

You can start by taking every opportunity you can do small favors and little acts of kindness. Be generous whenever you get the chance. People will notice it, and they will pay it forward.

This will raise the mood of your project. And it will create a resilience buffer against stress, as you start to feel the squeeze of deadlines.

Book Recommendations

Of the many (many) books on happiness, two stand out…

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About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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