Building The Happiness-Centred Business
By Dr Paddi Lund
Paddi Lund is a Brisbane-based dentist who discovered how to be really happy in business after suffering years and years of unhappiness, depression and even suicidal thoughts.
He was financially successful but terribly unhappy and stressed. He worked out how he could be happy in his business every day instead of working hard just for the money just to have a few weeks of happy holiday time each year. He actually discovered that his business could be even more profitable if he focused on creating a happy environment for this team and customers.
Aiming for Awesome Customer Service Isn’t Enough
Many businesses find that having “values statements” and goals around providing “awesome customer service” is no guarantee of achieving this in a sustainable way.
Paddy Lund says that actions are best motivated by emotional rewards rather than monetary rewards. He says that the most effective motivator for providing great service is a sincere interest and care for the person you are serving. If you don’t really care for your customer then it becomes difficult (impossible?) to provide great service since the customer will be able to see through it.
Development of The Courtesy System
Paddy Lund feels that unless people are happy within themselves it is hard for them to be consistently pleasant to those that they serve. Over time he created his Courtesy System to ensure that his “business-family” is happy at work. This is a system to improve politeness, communication and inter-personal skills, which in turn leads to more respect, a happier team and happier customers.
Paddi Lund provides plenty of stories and examples of how the final Courtesy System was developed. It started when he started going insane and hearing voices and he decided that he had the choice to be happy at work. He decided that his #1 goal would be happiness and not money, status, control, etc. The team started to measure their levels of happiness and stress, discuss this daily and they started to examine what caused happiness or stress.
Implementing the Courtesy System
Paddi Lund admits that it initially seems un-natural, stilted and artificial to be speaking so politely in the office. However he reminds us that social behaviour is something that we are taught – it is not instinctive. For example, how to eat with manners, not to fart loudly in public (!!), sneezing and blowing our noses without contaminating others around us, etc.
He found that customers actually started complimenting them on their behaviour and speaking like this started to become natural.
He has worked with many organisations to help them to implement the Courtesy System and he has found that the people that find it most difficult to implement are those in power. Powerful people are not used to being polite, they are used to getting their way. It is most important that the system is implemented from the top down.
If team members feel disrespected then they will either take it out on other team members, your customers or they will sabotage (either deliberately or unconsciously) the business.
The Team Comes First
Paddi Lund admits that he is the most important person in his life. He also understands that the people that have the most impact on his own happiness are his team. It is for this reason that the team must come before the customer. If there is ever a question of whether to support a customer or a team member, the support must go to the team member.
Besides more happiness, Paddi Lund explains how a happy team results in more profit…
- All things being equal, customers would prefer to go to a business where the staff are happy and courteous. This means that you will attract more customers and they are more likely to return and refer others.
- Happy staff look for reasons to stay while unhappy staff look for reasons to leave. Happy staff mean better retention and less time recruiting and training replacement staff.
- A safer environment for staff leads to greater communication, discussion of new ideas and easier implementation of new ideas. Paddi Lund is very focussed on having robust business systems for the team to follow but ideally it is the team that generates and owns these systems.