Marriott: Happy Employees = Happy Customers

It’s always been the major belief of our company, take good care of your people, they’ll take good care of the customer and the customer will come back.

And we celebrate them. We train them. We teach them. We provide opportunity for them. You’ve got to make your employees happy.

If the employees are happy, they are going to make the customers happy.

–J. W. Marriott, Jr.
 speaking of his father,
the founder of Marriott Hotels

How Bill Marriott’s Putting Employees First Transformed A Family Root Beer Stand Into $14B Hotel Giant by Steve Forbes in Forbes Magazine January 8, 2014 

The Science of the Good Life



See it at AmazonThe founder and driving force of “Positive Psychology” has summarized his lifetime of research in this accessible book for the lay reader. Though padded with the usual flab of today’s nonfiction–refutations of criticisms most readers have never encountered, tangential personal anecdotes, and repetition–the substance of his findings are practical and enlivening. Dr. Seligman even summarizes the components of a life well lived in a mnemonic acronym.

P – E – R – M – A

  1. Positive emotion,
  2. Engagement [A/K/A Flow]
  3. positive Relationships,
  4. Meaning, and
  5. Accomplishment.

I prefer FAMES, if only for the irony, since fame is at best a fleeting and ancillary aspect of a satisfying life.

  1. Flow, escaping the self through challenging activity
  2. Accomplishment & Progress
  3. Meaning, a generative story
  4. Experiencing welcome emotions
  5. Social Support

Details below.


Selected excerpts
A Visionary New Understanding of
Happiness and Well-being
by Martin E. P. Seligman, Ph.D.

Atria Books. 2011-04-05
Page numbers from Kindle Edition.
[Tony’s comments in square brackets.]



PREFACE This book will help you flourish. There, I have finally said it. I have spent my professional life avoiding (more…)

Embrace the Pain



To live is to suffer.

–The Buddha



But not only creativeness and enjoyment are meaningful. If there is a meaning in life at all, there must be a in meaning in suffering. … Without suffering and death human life cannot be complete.

— Viktor Emil Frankl
Man’s Search for Meaning



One always finds one’s burden again. … The struggle itself towards the heights is enough to fill a man’s heart.

One must imagine Sisyphus happy.

–Albert Camus
The Myth of Sisyphus



Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness



People who are happy but have little to no sense of meaning in their lives have the same [inflammatory response] as people who are responding to and enduring chronic adversity. …


Meaning was defined as an orientation to something bigger than the self.

Happiness was defined by feeling good. …


“Empty positive emotions are about as good for you for as adversity,” says Dr. Fredrickson. …


From the evidence of this study, it seems that feeling good is not enough. People need meaning to thrive. In the words of Carl Jung, “The least of things with a meaning is worth more in life than the greatest of things without it.” Jung’s wisdom certainly seems to apply to our bodies, if not also to our hearts and our minds.


Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness
by Emily Esfahani Smith
The Atlantic Magazine



Overthinking ushers in a host of adverse consequences



Overthinking ushers in a host of adverse consequences:

It sustains or worsens sadness, fosters negatively biased thinking, impairs a person’s ability to solve problems, saps motivation, and interferes with concentration and initiative. Moreover, although people have a strong sense that they are gaining insight into themselves and their problems during their ruminations, this is rarely the case. What they do gain is a distorted, pessimistic perspective on their lives.

–Sonja Lyubomirsky
The How of Happiness



Bonus Better Than Raise




Profess Hsee of BoothMy CEO executive coaching clients frequently wonder how best to motivate and retain key employees. The question often takes the form of, “Should I give her an unscheduled bonus or a raise?” The business owner often tends toward a raise because it defers the cash outlay. My study of psychology recommends the bonus.

I have written about Professor Christopher Hsee of the Booth School of Business before. Recently he spoke explicitly about the bonus vs. raise question. “If you ask a typical employee, he or she will tell you they want the salary. But that’s because they don’t understand psychology,” Hsee said. “You should give them the bonus instead. Salary is stable and people adapt to the new salary level quickly. Bonuses are not as easy to adapt to.”

Hsee also supports my advice about giving a gift, particularly something the employee wants but might not indulge in. “Give somebody something they like but won’t (more…)

Fundamental Management is Fundamental Psychology



People have three basic wants that make them susceptible to social influence.

  1. First, people have a hedonic motive, or a desire to experience pleasure and avoid pain.
  2. Second, people have an approval motive, or a desire to be accepted and to avoid being rejected.
  3. Third, people have an accuracy motive, or a desire to believe what is true and to avoid believing what is false.

As we shall see, most forms of social influence appeal to one or more of these motives.

Page 16-22
By Schacter, Gilbert, & Wegner



See also, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, on this blog.