The more changes that take place in today’s businesses, the more things stay the same—including the one factor that is crucial to success: appreciology.
Coined by our co-founders Tom Speaks and Don Polyak at The Impact Group, appreciology is the art and science of appreciation. Generally, appreciation is lacking and even nonexistent in the workplace and in people’s lives. But in order for a business to succeed, there needs to be appreciology in the everyday mechanisms of the organization—from the top, down.
Hard-wired to Depreciate
Think of the last time someone asked you about your day at work.
Did you answer them positively, talking about all of your achievements that day?
Did you smile and say that you received many compliments from your clients?
More than likely, your response probably sounded more along the lines of, Well, I didn’t meet the deadline that I needed to today, or, I had to confront one of my co-workers about a project we can’t seem to agree upon.
For whatever reason, humans often harp on the negatives. Even if we have had success, we tend to focus on the one aspect of the day that went wrong—as that failure is what stays with us and clouds the rest of the positives from shining through.
In fact, research in psychology shows that having a negative perspective is more contagious than having a positive one. This causes us to be more seriously impacted by bad news—to the extent that our brains actually seek out negative thoughts and ideas. According to Huffington Post writer Rick Hanson, the brain can be compared to “Velcro” in negative situations and “Teflon” in positive ones.
Our co-founders recognized this penchant for pessimism and, in coordination with The Impact Group co-worker Dr. Greg LaForme, Ph.D., developed the concept of appreciology. In order to create a dynamic workplace, appreciology is needed to facilitate an environment centered on positive feedback and gratitude, which will inevitably lead to growth and development.
So, What Exactly is Appreciology?
At a basic level, appreciology is focusing on all of the positives and blessings in one’s life. In the workplace, appreciology means praising yourself and your co-workers for a job well done and implementing positive feedback, support and guidance as the foundation of every new day. By being more appreciative of every opportunity and interaction that the day presents, you can become less blind to the many positive things that are happening all around you.
This isn’t just a matter of optimism—it’s a matter of seeing things differently and motivating change. Instead of catching your co-worker doing something wrong or letting the smallest hiccup bother you, seek out the successes you have had and share them with others. Use this as a mantra: if you aren’t bringing the positive, you aren’t allowed to bring the negative.
Implementing the concept has proven to be a great victory for the culture of The Impact Group, leading Speaks and Polyak to write a forthcoming book that further illuminates the term.
The book, Appreciology: The Art and Science of Appreciation,
will be released later this year.
Supplementing the book’s launch, Speaks and The Impact Group team will continue to host seminars on appreciology and team-building focus groups for businesses and agencies in and around northeast Ohio. Already, Speaks has engaged with dozens of businesses and agencies, illuminating the central ideas of appreciology and offering suggestions on how to integrate the science into company culture.
Ways to Inspire Appreciology in Your Workplace
Knowing the basics, you can start to spread the message of appreciology to your workplace. Here are some suggestions that may make others in your working environment more grateful, positive and encouraging on any given day:
- Be conscious of the viral effect of negativity, and do your part in reducing its contagious consequences.
- When you witness positive interactions, events or collaborations, don’t let the moment pass without making it known. Savoring positive experiences will encourage and motivate others.
- Affirm, affirm, affirm. Being critical or condescending will do nothing but provoke pessimism and make employees feel under threat.
- Avoid being over-analytical or dwelling on past negative events. Instead, look forward to today’s opportunities and be proactive about the changes you can make.
- Pay more attention to the small successes and celebrate them. After all, small wins add up over time, and positive reinforcement will make progress more enjoyable for everybody.
- Remember that it takes 5-10 positive interactions to compensate for one negative one.
For more information on appreciology and the way it can change your workplace—and your life—for the better, follow us on Twitter (@IGPR) to find out about our upcoming appreciology events. More information on the book's release is on the way.