Graham’s Videos

Employee engagement has a bigger impact on productivity than anything else you can measure.

The difference between how hard people actually work, how productive they actually need to be in order to get by, in order to survive and what they actually put in is called discretionary effort.

And discretionary effort is driven by one thing: by engagement. Engagement is created by leadership behaviour.  So if you have an organisation which has positive leadership values so we believe in leading our people by impacting them positively rather than by threatening them negatively. You will have a much higher engagement score and
as a result you’ll have a much higher level of discretionary effort. Organisations with positive cultures ie organisations with positive leadership values massively out-perform other organisations in terms of shareholder value growth. They massively outperform in terms of attracting and retaining talent.

Positive Psychology really started in 1995 when the man who is now known as the father of Positive Psychology was in the garden with his 5 year old daughter and she said to him, “Daddy, do you remember how last year I had to learn to stop whining, well that was the toughest thing I’ve ever had to do. So, Daddy, if I can stop whining please can you stop being such a grouch.”

And that got Martin Seligman thinking.  He was the President of the American Psychological Association and arguably the most eminent Psychologist in the world.  He’d just been voted

as one of the 6 most important psychologists in history. And he recognised that his 5 year old daughter had taught him a lesson which is that he was negative and he was pessimistic.

What had happened to Psychology?

At that point Marty Seligman resolved to become just as big a world authority on happiness as he was on depression at the time. And that meant that he needed to found a new branch of psychology with is called Positive Psychology.

Positive Psychology started as the science of Happiness and as we have learnt more and

more about it and as thousands of universities and academics around the world have marched into this huge movement which is changing the way human beings think about themselves, it’s changing our views on leadership, on salesmanship, on how we should organise ourselves as a society, and what values people should bring to their lives and to the lives of the corporations that they work for.

As that massive impact has grown Positive Psychology has defined itself as a movement and set itself one goal and that is: to increase human well being.

Sounds judgmental to say that happiness is a choice.

Because those of us that are experiencing a lack of happiness in our lives don’t feel like that is what we are choosing. What psychologists mean when they say that happiness is a choice is that we know quite a lot about what people can do to be able to improve their set level of happiness if they choose to do it. But of course one of the massive challenges with that is that when we are the least happy and need to do the most about 

transforming our level of happiness we are the least motivated to do so.

Because any sort of negative emotion destroys our motivation.

So although it’s tough to say that happiness is a choice there’s some validity in it, but I do not subscribe to any of the judgmental background of that.  What I do with people who ask for my help when they are unhappy is teach them that getting happiness as an outcome, a 

desired outcome is about making sure that you make the inputs that will deliver happiness and you make the inputs that will destroy depression and anxiety

So it may be tough to say that happiness is a choice much better to put it this way: happiness is something that can be improved by the informed intervention of the individual themselves.

Growth or PTSD

There are more positive psychology coaches in the U.S. Army than there are in the whole of the United Kingdom and we’ve got to ask ourselves why.

It’s because one of the greatest achievements of positive psychology is in helping people become more resilient.


Positivity builds resilience and resilience, it turns out, is what makes the difference between post-traumatic stress disorder and post-traumatic growth when a person’s been through a traumatic experience like the battlefield.

So in business, when people have gone through a protracted period of anxiety and stress because of tough business conditions, resilience makes the difference between people who will gather their strength and push forward and find a way of succeeding through that,


and people who are crushed by it and whose performance is actually ruined by it.

So resilience makes the difference between the organisations that are going to win through in the current uncertainty in U.K. business and organisations that are not.

More transcriptions are underway – check back here …