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How to increase happiness in business

To increase happiness in business requires consistent efforts on the leadership team. If a small country like Bhutan can set large sustainable goals, there’s no reason why you can’t.

Let’s start with the Kingdom of Bhutan, who committed to the UN in July 2011 along with 68 other nations joined in out of 193 members of the UN, to do the following:

  • 60% remain under forest cover
  • 50% under full environmental protection
  • 100% organic in agricultural production
  • 100% reduce poverty in their country

They didn’t view these policies at the expense of human an social development, instead they have supported the wellbeing of each citizen. Since committing to correcting and changing, the results are in:

  • Life expectancy has literally doubled in the last two generations.
  • Health care & education is free
  • Rural health clinics
  • 99% of primary aged children are now in school
  • Strengthening their values, principles and practices of their culture

They created a GNH Index “Gross National Happiness” it’s a philosophy that guides the Bhutanese government. Gross National Happiness (GNH) is a comprehensive approach to development, which values collective happiness as the goal of governance through balancing material and non-material values and it is used in place of Gross National Product (GDP). The Gross National Happiness is expressed in four pillars and nine domains.” instead of GDP index.

What did they discover?

Their forests provided more than $14B dollars a year of ecosystem services. 4x more that the GDP. “Gross domestic product” is the total value of everything produced in the country. It doesn’t matter if it’s produced by citizens or foreigners. If they are located within the country’s boundaries, their production is included in GDP.” 

The forests regulate the climate, store carbon, and protect the watersheds. They are willing to be on the front lines of adopting a new well-being on a global scale. It’s system that promotes harmony and respect for nature and for each other, that respects our ancient wisdom traditions and protects our most vulnerable people as our own family, and that gives us time to live and enjoy our lives and to appreciate rather than destroy our world. 

In April 2012, the Bhutan government set these 10 year goals, to improve the sustainability of their country.

  • 1. Half the people live in poverty
  • 2. Half the people who suffer from hunger
  • 3. Ensure children would complete primary education
  • 4. Eliminate gender disparity
  • 5. Reduce by 2/3rds the under 5 yr old mortality rates
  • 6. Reduce 3/4 of maternal mortality
  • 7. Halt and the reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS & disease like Malaria
  • 8. Reverse the loss of environmental resources
  • 9. Increase sustainable access to safe drinking water & sanitation
  • 10. Develop productive work for their youth
  • 11. Increase the cooperation with the private sector with/for technology

What if you took their target list and committed to do something in your business to increase the happiness factor in your business? What could you accomplish in 3- 5 years.

  • 1.  Reduce the poverty levels, pay people more and/or offer them benefits that would actually would help them increase their well-being:
    • Pre-paid health cards.
    • Counseling services
    • Mentors
  • 2. Suffering from hunger. If you can’t afford to offer meals –
    • Buy gift cards at a grocery store or restaurants where your people are eating better.
    • Offer cooking classes
    • Services to help everyone become happier
  • 3. Offer resources for additional education that would be free or pay for part of their intuition
  • 4. If there are more men than women, start to hire more women if they can do the same work.
    • Create a mentorship program
  • 5 & 6. If the mortality rates are increasing at your business, find out why? Don’t sweep it under the carpet thinking it’s going to go away. It’s not. You may be losing the very best talent.
    • Create a position separate from the HR person to find out why they are leaving or unhappy
    • Or hire someone to come in to facilitate workshops or consult with you. Quite often a third party can provide better insights and solutions to the problem. (be willing to do something about it!)
  • 7. Do you have the disease called bullies?
    • Are there people who need help with their mental well-being?
    • What other diseases are affecting your workers?
    • Stress?
    • A lack of community outreach happening? 
  • What environmental issues could you solve?
    • Adding solar
    • A community garden
    • More plants in the office
    • Safe drinking water – beverages that are healthy, like filtered water, or healthier options.
  • What can your business or non-profit do to increase the happiness levels?
    • Spread kindness around like confetti – Kindness Initiatives
    • Partner up with employees to do a project or fundraiser. 
    • Sponsor a youth program or offer a shadow program for youth in your community

Here’s an update on Bhutan


If you are older you may not want to change, in order to be happy or be in the presence of happiness – change is happening all the time.

Need help with any of this? Please reach out 510-320-8332

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