Building Inspired Leadership with Positive Psychology
We partner with organizations to build inspired people ecosystems that drive success. The foundation for this work is built on the work in positive organizational scholarship, positive psychology, emotional intelligence, and the latest in industry innovations in organization development and performance.
In order to stay current, we closely follow the field of positive psychology. Founded in 1999, the field is one of the most prolific in social science history with more than 20,000 peer-reviewed research articles since inception. Jen, InspireCorps Co-Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer, is an alumni of the University of Pennsylvania’s Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program, and we recently attended the Alumni Summit as a team.
At the backbone of positive psychology is the concept of strengths. Rather than leading with or only using a deficit or gap approach, we integrate a strengths-based approach in all that we do. We support organizations, teams and leaders to activate their greatest strengths in a way that makes their weaknesses insignificant.
The leading classification model in positive psychology is PERMA, which stands for Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievement. Over the three days at the Summit we heard from world-renowned scholars and leaders about how they are advancing and applying the various domains of PERMA. The following is a brief summary of who we heard from and the wisdom they shared.
Innovative Research & Applied Practice
Lea Waters – Completely moving, deeply inspiring; it is rare that I am as moved by a speaker as I was by Lea. Lea is the president-elect of the International Positive Psychology Association and holds affiliate positions at Cambridge University and the University of Michigan; and she currently holds the Gerry Higgins Chair in Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne. Lea has an incredibly inspiring story of having survived trauma in her childhood that has led her to study strength-based parenting and her newest book, The Strength Shift. The Strength Shift focuses on unlocking your children’s potential by helping them build their strengths in a way that builds trust and connection. The most significant insight we gained from Lea was that the absence of a weakness is not the same as the presence of a strength. As we partner with our clients, we keep this close at hand. In many cases it is less costly, impactful and significantly more enjoyable to direct attention to accelerating and enhancing strengths rather than trying to bridge a performance gap.
Joe Kasper – Joe, like Lea, has an equally powerful story. He currently runs a private medical practice in New Jersey and serves as the Medical Director of two facilities within the Family of Caring Healthcare System. After losing his teenage son, Ryan, to a rare genetic disease, he developed a concept called “co-destiny” which describes a process to promote posttraumatic growth in bereaved individuals. He has recently expanded on his work to include the topics of “Positive Bereavement” and the “Bereavement Growth Cycle”. Joe’s work focuses on how to use grief to ignite inspired action. It is powerful work which counterbalances the topic of post-traumatic stress. I applaud his courage and tenacity in breaking through to a greater understanding of the grief process. We know that both people and organizations alike can use times of grief, turbulence and loss as opportunities and his work provides a framework for how that can happen.
Rick Hanson – Rick is a world-renowned psychologist, Senior Fellow of the Greater Good Science Center at the UC Berkeley, and New York Times best-selling author. He is also the founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. Rick shared an abundance of information about mental resources for resilient well-being. He spoke on how we shape well-being through learning and the importance of learning how to learn. We believe that companies thrive when their people are thriving. His powerful work on how people learn confirmed for us that training, even when experiential, is not enough. He offered new insights on the learning phases of integration and installation and how new information is actually retained over time. We are excited about the implications for applying these new conceptions in neuroscience to accelerate learning and performance in organizations.
Karma Ura – Dasho Karma Ura is the President of the Centre for Bhutan Studies and Gross National Happiness Research, an institute dedicated to promoting His Majesty the Fourth King, Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s globally influential development philosophy of Gross National Happiness, and conducting multidisciplinary research on culture and history of Bhutan and policy studies. We know that word “happiness” often sends business and industry leaders running, but Karma’s presentation reinforced just how critical it is for organizations to create an ecosystem, or establish conditions, that allow for them to succeed and he laid out his conceptual roadmap. We are inspired by the measurement of Gross National Happiness and intend for this to inform how we measure the success of our work in organizations.
The Power of a Peak-End Close
Marty Seligman – we believe in the power of a peak-end close, or saving the best for last.
In fact, leaving people inspired and ready to take action is something we strive for in each encounter. It was no surprise to us that Marty Seligman, the founding father of positive psychology, was the closing speaker of the Summit. His seminal work in the field includes developing a theoretical model of human thriving (PERMA), that helps us understand these elements and what we can do to maximize each element to reach a life full of happiness. We know that organizations, or more correctly, the people within them, perform at higher levels, and thrive, when they are “happy”. We are so grateful for Dr. Seligman’s work and PERMA as a significant part of the foundation for the solutions that we create for organizations.
In short, a superpower of thriving and growing InspireCorps is learning and it is through amazing thought leading innovators like these that we are able to bring our best work to our clients not to mention to our own lives.