Workers Delivering Happiness How to deliver happiness

Delivering Happiness

It was sad to read about the death of Zappo's CEO Tony Hsieh last week. My Twitter feed was filled with words from so many people that he had had an incredibly positive impact on, both directly and indirectly.

My only connection with Tony was reading his book, Delivering Happiness. I decided to re-read it this week. I was surprised to be informed by my Kindle that I last read it on my honeymoon - ten years ago! It's super inspirational, I've been recommending it to people ever since. And, on reflection, I think it heavily influenced a few of the decisions I made back then.

The book has plenty of food for thought for small business owners. But you do have to remind youself every few pages that it's about an extraordinarily high growth business. 99% of businesses will never have the resouces that Zappos had after Tony got involved. And it wasn't easy to read about so many of the things they did that are impossible during a global pandemic.

One simple idea really stood out to me on this read through. It's relatively easy for any business to do. It will likely be an especially valuable exercise to do with colleages continuing to work remotely. It's called a Culture Book. 

Tony emailed staff with the following request:

"Please email me 100–500 words about what the Zappos culture means to you. (What is the Zappos culture? What’s different about it compared to other company cultures? What do you like about our culture?) We will compile everyone’s contribution into the book. If you wish for your entry to be anonymous, please indicate so in your response. We will be distributing the book to all new hires as well as all existing employees. Also, please do not talk to anyone about what you will be writing or what anyone else wrote. We want to know what the Zappos culture means to you specifically, as it will be different for different people."

They decided that none of the entries would be censored or edited, except for typos. They create a new culture book every year and include both the good and the bad so that people reading the book can get a real sense of what Zappo's culture is like.

What might you learn about your company if you made a culture book? What if you asked for contributions from your employees, suppliers, customers and other people your business comes into contact with?

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