Success Habit #12 – Smile at everyone you pass
It seems trite to tell people to smile…but so many of us are caught up in the busy-ness of business and the never-ending office politics that workplace smiles are getting rarer and rarer.

We have long understood the positive value of a simple smile.

  • We have learned that it takes less facial muscles to smile than to frown.
  • That smiling actually cheers us up even if we are not happy.
  • That we are more attractive when we smile.
  • Even that a simple smile can change someone’s life.

The impact of smiling on the culture of an organisation is something truly phenomenal.

‘Culture eats strategy for breakfast!’ – Often incorrectly attributed to Peter Drucker is a well-used and well-known maxim on the impact that an organisation’s culture can have on strategy.  Culture is described as a system of shared assumptions, values, and beliefs, which governs how people behave. The outward expression of this inner positive feeling toward any human situation is a combination of the facial and vocal expressions. 

That is – a smile and positive language.

Understanding the value and power that organisational culture has, should mean that the leaders of our organisations spend an equitable amount of their time and resources pursuing that positive culture but so many of them just don’t get it!  Peter Drucker did say “Company cultures are like Country cultures. Never try to change one. Try, instead, to work with what you’ve got.”  This is Drucker-wisdom at its best.

Understanding the culture that exists in your organisation is the first step –

Then work with that culture to meet your common goals. If your organisation’s management and culture do not have common goals, you will not have a successful organisation today, and you will not have an organisation tomorrow.

  • Find out what makes people in your organisation smile?
  • What makes them happy in their position?
  • What makes them feel valued?
  • What gets them out of bed in the morning?
  • What makes them feel positive?

Understand the drivers of demeanour within your organisation and you can begin to use them to build personal and team events, magical moments and positive behaviours that boost personal self-esteem and create organisational optimism.

In order to do this, you need to firstly recognise that it starts with the leader. We all ‘follow the leader’. The Japanese say ‘The fish rots from the head’ and the reverse is also true.

If you have a great leader – you will most likely have a great organisation.

As the leader, you set the tone.

  • Your behaviours are watched and mirrored, your opinions are captured and broadcast within the organisation.
  • Most importantly, for culture, your demeanour is studied and replicated by those around you.
  • If you get upset by something – everyone is upset by it.
  • If you discredit someone – everyone discredits them.
  • But if you smile – everyone smiles!

Staying positive is not easy –

There are many, many reasons thrown at organisation leaders every day that give them cause for concern and negative emotions. It’s a hard job to keep smiling and supporting positive culture no matter what besets the organisation. Remaining positive is, of course, just one thing a leader must keep his mind on.

That’s why there are few really great organisation leaders. Make a start toward becoming a great leader today. 

Smile – every chance you get!