This week, the universe was sending me signs. First, I saw an Instagram post that said, “gratitude turns what you have into enough.” A day later, a friend posted an article from The Atlantic about Yale’s extremely popular happiness class. Both were a good reminder that I needed to spend more time being grateful for the things that I have.
Giving thanks and a practice of gratitude can improve your overall health, help you sleep, lower your stress hormones, and give you a rush of dopamine, aka a runner’s high. You can literally get addicted to a gratitude practice because of the dopamine.
I made a promise to myself to spend 5 minutes a day on my gratitude practice. Your practice doesn’t have to be formal; I’ll be making a list of things I’m grateful for each day. If you’re worried about finding the time, just think about how much time you spend scrolling on Instagram, unless of course it reminds you to be grateful.
As I progress through the course on systems, organizational structure, and culture, I find myself thinking, “Okay, but how do I actually start changing culture?” One of the assignments, Dr. Ranjit Nair’s book, Potluck Culture, gives you actionable advice for modern workplaces. He doesn’t give you the exact answer but he helps you get there with questions to ask yourself and suggestions since every workplace is different.
A standout concept from Potluck Culture is that millennials are a positive addition to the modern workplace. Most books harp on millennials and focus on the negatives but Dr. Nair presents cases and examples where millennial employees can really make a difference and spark positive changes.
One of those positive changes is the need for meaning in our work. Millennials, more so than any other generation, want to have meaningful work. I think this demand has benefited all workers across the board as companies deliver on this need.
One of the ways companies give their employees meaning is through storytelling. Uniting behind a story ties people to their work and helps build camaraderie while helping companies connect to their customers. It’s win-win and millennials are helping to drive that connection.
Potluck Culture: Five Strategies to Engage the Modern Workplace
Dr. Ranjit Nair
Available on Amazon
As part of my masters program in Leadership and Change, I’m currently taking a course about systems, organizational structure, and culture. I’m very interested in the topic because I’ve worked at places with great culture and not so great culture.
I think of culture as a cloud, it hangs over everyone and if you try to catch it, the cloud moves just out of reach. You can’t grab it and force it to your will but with creative management, you can use the wind to push it in the direction you want to go. But how do you start to shape culture?
Before shaping a company’s culture, you need to understand the system that contains it. As the first assignment, I reflected on the systems I am a part of. There are obvious ones like work, school, the class, but the one I pointed out as the most important to me right now is my personal relationship with my partner. I’m a very big believer in manifesting and the power of positive thoughts. Our relationship microsystem is a living lab for the ways in which positive inputs lead to positive emergence. Translated to a larger scale, it helps me to understand that the positive inputs I feed into my work system are producing positive effects, even if I can’t pinpoint them. Just like a stone thrown into a pond, my positive inputs and thoughts are radiating out and affecting my coworkers and workplace in small ways while not altering the makeup of the pond or who is swimming in it.