Dr. Relly Nadler: Today we are going to be talking about iOpener: How to unleash your inner power and how does deficit thinking hold people back. Our guest is Jessica Pryce-Jones who is the CEO and co-founder of iOpener. Jess is formerly from Rothchild’s Bank in Paris and she has worked internationally all her career and has found that far too many people are deficit thinkers. When people think negatively about new challenges, they hold themselves back from achieving their true potential, says Pryce-Jones. In today’s show she shares her secrets to helping individuals, teams, and organizations build on their strengths and develop happier workplaces.
Learn how everyone changes and grows. But the secret to maximizing lies in unleashing inner power and formulating practical solutions. We are going to talk about these facts and why so many people are now embracing this message. Jessica coaches senior executives, she’s a speaker, and the author of Happiness at Work: Maximizing your Psychological Capital for Success.
She has degrees in classics and psychology, and she lives in Oxford with her family. Hello Jess, how are you?
Jessica Pryce-Jones: I’m really good this morning; pleasure to be here with you.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: We are happy to have you. We do have some questions for you, hope you are ready?
Jessica Pryce-Jones: Absolutely!
Dr. Relly Nadler: Well Jess, we want to first start off more general and then we’ll get more specific. First question; who is iOpener?
Jessica Pryce-Jones: I’m the consultancy that focuses on happiness at work. We do that working with teams, individuals and organizations to bring out the best in them and to really leverage happiness because we know from our research, it has a direct impact on the bottom line.
Dr. Relly Nadler: Okay. Tell me how you came up with that name, iOpener?
Jessica Pryce-Jones: We came up with the name iOpener entirely by chance. We knew that when people sit and have a real moment with you, they literally open their eyes wide. That’s when you know that, ‘ah-ha,’ they got it. That was how we came up with the name.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Jess, I am very fascinated, as you know, with iOpener. I should probably let our listening audience know that you and I met a couple of years ago when CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta was doing a special on happiness and your health for prime time.
It was fascinating to meet you. Why does iOpener focus on happiness at work. Can you talk a little bit about the statistics and some of the science behind your work?
Jessica Pryce-Jones: Well, we focus on happiness at work because we think that cart has been put before the horse. If you think about performance, and everybody wants to drive performance; they are focusing on the cart. If you look at the horse; happiness is the only way you are going to get there. You need to train that horse, you need to understand that horse, and that means really working with people.
We know from our research that what makes people happy at work are the things that they can control. They are very clearly telling us that leaders need to think about what they can delegate and give to others in order to bring about this change. We reckon it’s about 78% of organizations that we see that really need to do something about this.
It’s like the wheel is turning one way at the bottom and turning a different way at the top, but expecting everybody to work together. It just doesn’t happen.
Dr. Relly Nadler: You know Jess, this is great because both Cathy and I are on top of the research, but you just said that really nicely; what makes people happy is what they can control. I don’t think I’ve heard it just that way. So, in organizations, how do you go about that to help leaders help people control more?
Jessica Pryce-Jones: We’ve developed a really sophisticated questionnaire and that is entirely based on what people can control in organizations. So often you see engagement surveys or satisfaction surveys, and they are all about elements that nobody can actually do anything about. But it’s really typical that people don’t get the results from that anytime soon. They might get them a year later, by which time it’s all gone.
If you focus on the what you can do something about, it’s very immediate because the leaders of an organization can turn around and go ‘ah ha!’ we can fix that. If they seem to be doing something; we know that it’s the little changes that make the big differences. What can you do to unleash that? Make the little changes that are indicative of the bigger ones to come.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: It’s so fascinating for me to hear you talk with so much enthusiasm about what people can actually do that make a difference. What does iOpener do that makes such a difference that other consultancies haven’t managed to practice?
Jessica Pryce-Jones: What we do is we focus on what people and organizations need to do. But, we also look at how. I think where most consultancies fall down is because they only look at what, or they look at how, and they don’t pull these things together. So if you go in and god knows we have got a low morale issue here, which by the way, we call “you are not happy at work.” If you’ve got that then what are you going to do about it? When you ask people, they can very easily tell you. So, most consultancies just focus one thing or the other and we focus on the two together. I think that people feel our energy and enthusiasm for what we do and we seem to generate a lot of success and I think that is what also speaks for itself.
Dr. Relly Nadler: So, I think a lot of people on the line are in some form or another of leadership development, so we know about the employee satisfaction surveys and just like you said, Jess, many times people fill those out, they get feedback, and then it sits or so long goes by before anything happens.
How do you engage the key leaders in the organization to really be active and act on some of this information?
Jessica Pryce-Jones: I think you have to think about what are the costs of not acting on information. If you know what is really important; the top factors that we found are people need to feel that they are good at their jobs. If they don’t feel that they are good at their jobs, they are not happy at work.
So, we look for validation: what do you think of me? If you get the feedback that oh, you are fine, it’s not enough. You need to have a conversation about that. If an employee is looking to have that conversation and you don’t give it, someone has got to feel devalued and if you feel devalued you feel demotivated, and the minute you are demotivated, you are not bringing 100% of yourself into the job.
That’s where we want to come in and say: have you asked? If you haven’t asked, number one go and do it, but if you have asked and you are not getting anything back, go ask again. Many employees think that they have put a message to someone senior and you ask the senior person, and they get a no, I haven’t heard that.
Sometimes, it’s a failure in communication and sometimes it’s a lack of skill. So you need to help people and give them that skill so they can go and do what they need to do.
Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I just can’t help but thinking, how does somebody find iOpener? How do they know that you exist and what process do they have to go through to get iOpener to come in and take a look at their culture and their organization, and what is making them unhappy? Maybe, you can talk a little bit about some of the work that you have done and some of the practices you have used and how people find you.
Jessica Pryce-Jones: We get most of our work through recommendation; someone says, work with these guys, they’ve done a good job for us. But what we actually do is that we encourage people to work with us little-by-little. Nobody wants to make, in this financially strained moment, a huge investment. One of the things that we encourage people to do is to go online and do our survey.
We would like to encourage listeners to go online and do our survey. If more than 30 people from any organization do the survey, we’ll send you a free report. Click on iOpener.co.uk and do a survey. That is essentially how we begin our work. We talk to the management team, we share with them what our findings are, and we often run focus groups along side that to validate what our surveys are telling us.
After that, we generally work coaching one or two senior leaders if they decide they want to move ahead in this process. When we have done that, we work with the leadership team. It might be help building their skills and abilities, developing them, and we will roll that out across an organization. Quite often we help leaders learn to do this stuff themselves because it’s not difficult, it’s easy, if you know how.
Listen to the complete interview above.