I just got back from George Mason University’s Leading to Well-Being: Cultivating Resilience conference, sponsored by their student affairs group (MasonLeads) and their Center for the Advancement of Well-being. Check out more about the center in a previous post here. This I the seventh year for the conference, and this year it centered around resilience and featured some real stars, namely David Cupperider, Fairmount Minerals Professor of Social Entrepreneurship at the Weatherhead School of Management, Case Western Reserve University and founder of appreciative inquiry, and Dr. Dan Siegel, clinical professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, on the faculty of the Center for Culture, Brain, and Development and the founding co-director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center. Other speakers I got to hear included Shawn Murphy, CEO and Founder Switch and Shift (who has a great podcast, Work That Matters), Mark Fernandes, Chief Leadership Officer at Luck Companies and Todd B. Kashdan, Professor of Psychology and Senior Scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at GMU.
This was my first time at this conference, and I probably got just as many “take aways” from the attendees as I did the speakers. The conference was full of psychologists, coaches, educators and many students, faculty and administrators from George Mason University. Here are some of my favorite finds there including books, articles, studies and initiatives discussed – in no particular order:
- Brainstorm: the Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain, Dan Seigel. If you have a teenager, this is apparently a must-read.
- Mindsight: The New Science of Personal Transformation, Dan Seigel. This book is fairly practical and how-to approach to tapping into your social and emotional intelligence.
- The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment that Energizes Everyone, Shawn Murphy. Supported by the latest research, this book argues that our best work is the product of a positive environment (agree Shawn!)
- Any book Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology.
- You may have heard of Howard Gardner, author of Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences and other works. Did you know there was a school in Alexandria, Virginia named after him? The Howard Gartner School is a small, independent, educationally-progressive school serving grades 6-12. Based in environmental science and the arts, the mission of the school is to help bright, creative, non-traditional learners use their unique strengths to thrive academically, intellectually, and emotionally. Lots of schools like this one exist. I think we can learn from schools like this as we design our work and workplaces.
- “Quantifying Your Company’s Emotional Culture,” Harvard Business Review
- Bamboo HR’s “anti-workaholic” policy where you are terminated if found to be chronically working over 40 hours a week.
- Imperative tool, which helps you evaluate your individual but also your team members’ sense of purpose. Employees that have a job that aligns with their “purpose” are more likely to outperform those that do not… by a lot.
- OAT, a Dutch company, makes the world’s first 100% biodegradable non-toxic shoes that, after use, can be planted into the ground and grow into flowers. Love. (Check out their site, there are lots of really cute styles… I’m partial to the pink tennis shoes and baby booties).
- And if you like OAT, you’ll love, The Flourishing Enterprise: The New Spirit of Business, by Chris Laszlo and others.
- Also check out, Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose by Rajendra Sisodia and Jagdish N. Sheth
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, by Angela Duckworth
- The Empathetic Civilization: The Race to Global Consciousness in a World in Crisis, by Jeremy Rifkin
- New McKinsey article on the impact of insufficient sleep on the bottom line
The conference was like drinking from a firehose and I loved every minute of it! My bookshelf is now stocked. And finally, a favorite quote from a CEO of a large U.S. company (care of Shawn Murphy):
There has got to be more meaning to life than adding another zero.