small           Big
were associated with reduced neuroendocrine,           social support (Munro, Lewin, Swart, &                 specific beh...
Table 1: Traditional vs. Self-Management Educational Approaches
                                                 Increasing Individual Capacity for Change
Viewing change as a challenge is yet
                                     Developing Control                              ...
Believing in our ability to succeed in different       Personal Sustainability                                 At Saatchi ...
references                                           Graham, C., eggers, A., Sukhtankar, S.             function and healt...
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Small actions big impact


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Small actions big impact

  1. 1. small Big actions Foundations impact of the Personal Sustainability Project T Positive Psychology Informs he nATuRe of woRk is fulfillment. Positive individual traits encompass changing. The world is experiencing Behavior Change strengths in character, talents, interests and disruptions in society, technology values. finally, positive institutions consist and natural resource availability. employees Prior to the introduction of Positive of families, schools, businesses, communities are searching for meaning from work, not Psychology in the 1990s by then-President of and societies. Influenced and supported by just a paycheck. employers are increasingly the American Psychological Association Martin these three phenomena is an individual’s own responding to this changing context by Seligman, theory on human behavior was experience of personal happiness. engaging their employees to ensure long-term principally understood from a ‘disease model’ survivability of the corporation. (Bakker & Schaufeli, 2008). This model, which still permeates the general and popular The popular, narrow definition of understanding today, views human nature Positive Subjective sustainability (or sustainable development) as inherently flawed and fragile (Peterson, Experience is, “meeting the needs of the present without 2006). from this perspective, areas of in- compromising the ability of future generations depth attention include “poor performance, to meet their own needs” (world Commission low motivation, unwell-being, ill-health, and on environment and Sustainability, 1987). disengagement” (Bakker & Schaufeli, 2008). Personal This definition is frequently shortened to Although great strides were made toward Happiness Positive mean “protecting the environment.” But in Positive understanding and reducing human suffering Institutions Individual recent years, sustainability has been recast as through the application of the disease model, Traits a broader concept, encompassing the social, Seligman legitimized a new way of framing economic, environmental and cultural systems human behavior (Peterson, 2006). needed to sustain any organization (werbach, 2009). A sustainable organization is prepared The ideas behind the field of positive to thrive today and in the future. Similarly, a psychology are not completely new (Peterson, The Power of Happiness sustainable person is prepared to thrive today 2006). There are underpinnings in the happiness has long been considered worthy and in the future. philosophical and theological traditions of of pursuit, but is frequently viewed as an elusive both the past and present which addressed the In response to the dual needs of engaging concept (Peterson, 2006). Many positive meaning of life, happiness and virtue. Positive employees and creating innovative solutions to psychologists have focused their emerging psychology is also rooted in the work of the today’s pressing challenges, Saatchi & Saatchi research on the development of happiness and 20th century humanistic psychologists, Carl S developed the Personal Sustainability Project its associated outcomes. These experts discern Rogers and Abraham Maslow (among others), (PSP). PSP is based on a broad clinical and that happiness can emerge from different paths, who studied human potential and well-being. academic research foundation in behavior including: hedonism (pleasure), eudamonia change, health and grassroots organizing. There are three central tenets of positive (finding purpose; human flourishing), flow psychology that are particularly germane to (engagement in activities), or victory (winning This paper provides an overview of the personal sustainability: what is important to us). each of these paths major theoretical influences that support the • Individuals are at heart full of goodness can contribute to a life of meaning and toward Personal Sustainability Project. The approach and excellence (Peterson, 2006) helping individuals thrive. stems from three primary content areas: • People are agents of their own change however, increased happiness has impacts • Positive psychology (Seligman & Csikszentmihalyi, 2000; far beyond the positive subjective experience • Social cognitive models of Bandura, 1986; Bandura, 1989) of the individual. happiness has been shown behavior change • Individuals thrive in positive to lead to greater success in areas of life such • Social network theory environments (Joseph & Linley, 2006) as friendship, employment, marriage, income, The applied model of “The 4Cs” will These principles are observed to operate in and work performance (Peterson, 2006). be introduced in the final portions of this a social world that includes positive subjective There are health-related outcomes of paper. The Personal Sustainability process experiences, positive individual traits, and happiness as well: happy people do more and has succeeded in generating ongoing behavior positive institutions (Peterson, 2006). are healthier (Peterson, 2006). In a study of change and sustained action in thousands of Positive subjective experiences include feelings 216 people, Steptoe, wardle and Marmot individuals. This paper reveals its roots. of happiness, pleasure, gratification and (2005) found that greater levels of happiness © 2009 All Rights Reserved. Page 1
  2. 2. were associated with reduced neuroendocrine, social support (Munro, Lewin, Swart, & specific behavior that individuals feel both inflammatory and cardiovascular activity, Volmink, 2007). The Personal Sustainability motivated and capable of integrating into as well as a reduced presence of the stress Project focuses on increasing these three their lifestyles. They routinely experience hormone cortisol. All of these factors are interconnected areas of cognition to generate the perception that they are creating positive physiological indicators of health, lower levels greater happiness, improved health, and a more change for themselves and the world. This are indicators of improved health. sustainable community. effect becomes self-reinforcing; for instance, happiness interacts positively with social eating healthier meals with organic vegetables a Self-Efficacy few times a week improves energy level, which relationships and institutions. The world Values Survey, conducted four times since The psychological concept of self-efficacy fosters continued adherence and ultimately, 1981 and comprising 90,000 people in was originated by Albert Bandura, the eminent strengthens the belief in one’s ability to achieve 46 countries, found that satisfying family Stanford social psychologist and one of the desired goals. connections, meaningful work, trusted early champions of the ability of psychology to support positive change. The concepts he has Self-Management friendships and community involvement can provide a strong sense of individual developed continue to be applied by him and while self-efficacy is the belief individuals well-being; and in combination can even many others to generate positive impact on a have in their ability to achieve an outcome, self- neutralize a downturn in financial security global scale (Bandura, 2006). Self-efficacy is management includes one’s actual ability to set (Layard, 2005). described as the degree to which individuals goals, achieve those goals, and change behaviors believe they can reach a desired outcome. that get in the way (Sawyer & Crimando, Its impact can also be observed in the whether the behavior in question is quitting 1984). Self-management embraces the idea workplace acting on both individuals and smoking, taking public transportation more that by assuming an active role in their lives, organizations. In one study, individuals regularly, or adhering to a health regimen, individuals have more control over their daily evaluated as happier had a higher income after Bandura (2004) asserted that efficacy beliefs activities. As part of the goal-setting process, five years compared to those evaluated to be influence goals and aspirations: they engage in continuous self-reflection, less happy (Graham, eggers, & Sukhtankar, problem solving, and emotion management. 2004). At the organizational level, positive “The stronger the perceived self- efficacy, the higher the goals people The result is that they become increasingly employees have been shown to achieve self-motivated, happy and healthy. higher organizational performance (Ramlall, set for themselves and the firmer their 2008). Those employees who feel their life commitment to them. People of low Self-management programs have been purpose aligns with their role at work show efficacy are easily convinced of the utilized for condition management in the higher levels of satisfaction, commitment, futility of effort in the face of difficulties. health care system for decades. A recent study and output. Positive organizational cultures They quickly give up trying. Those of over 700 elderly individuals illustrated the have in turn been linked to retention and of high efficacy view impediments as type of tangible results a self-management reducing turnover costs. These outcomes are surmountable by improvement of self- approach to health care can produce (Meng, underlined by fortune’s “100 Best Companies management skills and perseverant et al., 2009). Those who were selected to to work for” consistently outperforming their effort. They stay the course in the face participate in the program reduced their competition (edmans, 2008). of difficulties.” (p. 145) physical function decline by 54% over a There are additional factors affecting how 22-month period compared to those who The outcomes noted here, as well as the did not participate. They also decreased their inherent value of happiness, make the case individuals approach their goals that figure importantly prominently in their experience healthcare expenditures by 11%. that it is worth pursuing in both personal and professional life. however, authentic of self-efficacy (Bandura, 2006). These include Compared to traditional education (Table happiness must be cultivated. Significant action thinking optimistically or pessimistically and 1), a self-management approach teaches skills must be taken by individuals to encourage, feeling more or less motivated toward a goal. to address identified problems and focuses on generate, and support their personal happiness. They also read their emotional responses to instilling people’s confidence in their ability to Inevitably, happiness means changes in patterns challenges (e.g. stress, excitement, fear) as make positive change (Lorig et al., 1999). of thinking and behavior. clues toward their abilities or vulnerabilities. once developed, self-management can fundamentally, most people tend to monitor be applied to a variety of settings (Sawyer Social Cognitive Approach to and adjust their progress toward achievement in & Crimando, 1984). Developing self- Behavior Change: Self-Efficacy, large part based on their expected outcome. management skills is an integral component Self-Management and Social Although our belief in ourselves is not of the training Saatchi and Saatchi S uses Support consistent across all tasks (Maddux, 2002) to educate participants in the Personal – one may feel more able to cook a good Sustainability Project. Participants self- A cognitive approach to behavior change meal than sing an opera – people do have a select goals that have deep personal meaning encompasses a range of theories, all of which general level of belief in their ability to achieve and are provided with a variety of tools to maintain that attitudes, beliefs and expectations a desired outcome across multiple situations support their progress. By producing on a influence future outcomes. Cognitive theories (Latham, 2007). Trusting that one does large scale some of the outcomes of traditional assert that peoples’ perceptions of themselves possesses what is needed to complete a task, self-management education, the Personal and their world are important, that confidence including one’s own skills and capabilities, is Sustainability Project can have significant in themselves is vital, and the perception of often as motivating as believing that a desirable health and cost-saving benefits. one of the the support of others is a key ingredient for outcome can actually be achieved. foundational self-management principles of personal success. These assertions orient PSP is peer-to-peer learning and support. around three primary constructs: (1) self- The Personal Sustainability Project efficacy, (2) self-management, and (3) promulgates the selection of a positive goal- © 2009 All Rights Reserved. Page 2
  3. 3. Table 1: Traditional vs. Self-Management Educational Approaches Traditional Self-Management What is taught? Information & technical skills how to approach and act on problems What is the approach to Problems come from inadequate control of Individual identifies problems they are experiencing, problems? current state perhaps unrelated to immediate situation What is the theory of learning? Situation-specific knowledge creates behavior Individuals’ confidence to make life-improving change which produces better outcomes changes (self-efficacy) yields better outcomes What is the goal? Compliance with taught behaviors Increased self-efficacy improves outcomes improves outcomes Who does the educating? Qualified professional Professionals, peers, or ones’ self (adapted from Bodenheimer et al., 2002, p. 2471) Social Support Mobilizing Social Networks The number and types of relationships an The central concept of social networks is likelihood of quitting is notable. If a spouse individual has in addition to the tangible that the majority of individuals do not exist quit, it decreased an individual’s likelihood (money, material possessions) and intangible in isolation. In social networks people and of smoking by 67%. This result was 36% if (advice, praise) support offered through those their actions are considered interdependent; the quitter was a friend and 34% if it was a ties comprise the concept of social support and individuals both gain information and co-worker in a small organization. The more (Martin & Brantly, 2004). As a cognitive are influenced through their ties with others education people had, the more likely they were construct, social support is typically measured (Smith & Christakis, 2008). This concept is to influence the quitting behavior of others. with respect to an individual’s perception different from social support in that it is not a healthy behavior is not the only positive that it is present. when individuals perceive determination of the level of support received change that spreads through social networks themselves as supported, it serves as a buffer from those friends and family. Instead, the ties (fowler & Christakis, 2008). happiness does against stress (Peterson, 2006). It also themselves are the subject of interest. Social as well. In their recent study, fowler and influences the perceptions individuals have of networks are examined with respect to their Christakis (2008) found that happy people their own ability to set, reach and maintain size, the relationships among multiple people tended to be found in clusters, as did unhappy their behavioral goals (Maes & karoly, 2005). through different contacts, direct and indirect people. Their study reinforces some common Social support plays a significant ties, types of relationships, homogeneity of sense ideas, including that individuals who are role in behavior change and health. for individuals, degrees of distance from one connected to many happy people tend to be example, research has shown that successful individual to another, the extent to which happier in the future. It also demonstrated management of illness is largely influenced by connections rely on only a few individuals, some surprises. for example, people three social support (Martin & Brantly, 2004). A and the degree of resistance to established ties degrees away from an individual (e.g. a friend’s study of 35 postcoronary patients showed that being severed. Social networks represent an sister’s friend) can significantly influence those individuals with greater social support under-utilized area of opportunity for creating the individual in question’s happiness. The were more successful in maintaining positive the type of large scale behavior change needed same result pervaded the study on smoking health changes (finnegan & Suler, 1985). to face today’s challenges. cessation (Christakis & fowler, 2008). The Social support facilitates hope, confidence, health research over the past decade has effect is greater the closer the happy person and resilience (hanna, 2002). It can be drawn specific attention to the impact of social or nonsmoker is to the individual (fowler enhanced by: networks (Berkman & Glass, 2000). Social & Christakis, 2008; Christakis & fowler, 1. Minimizing contact with those networks have been posited to affect health 2008), and speaks to the far-reaching power of who have a negative impact on the through five mechanisms: increasing just one person’s happiness or healthy individual around the change 1. Social support actions. having a tangible understanding of 2. Increasing the number of relationships 2. Social influence how people are connected in a social network with those who support the change 3. Access to resources provides access to interdependencies and opens 3. expanding existing relationships in the 4. Social involvement up opportunities to use these social networks direction of the change 5. Person-to-person contagion to mobilize people for behavior change. PSP builds new relationships and activates In their study on smoking cessation spanning existing relationships around the values of over 30 years, Christakis and fowler (2008) sustainability. These actions allow individuals found that groups of people stopped smoking to experience a greater sense of social support at the same time. People who continued to regarding the change they are personally smoke slowly moved to the periphery of a undertaking and for the important expansion social network. The level of influence various of their social networks. types of relationships had on an individual’s © 2009 All Rights Reserved. Page 3
  4. 4. The SAATCHI & SAATCHI S Model: Increasing Individual Capacity for Change PArTICIPATIoN IN PSP DEvEloPED CAPACITIES SUSTAINABlE BEHAvIor CHANgES Sample employee Benefits Coherence ✓ Better health: My PSP is ... eating and exercising ✓ Increased community Control PSP Challenge involvement Sample Corporate Benefits Connection ✓ Increased engagement ✓ Improved Performance S Coherence AATChI & SAATChI S has organized the diverse content from the theories Coherence refers to the “meaning making” (Mlonzi & Strümpfer, 1998). They are able discussed above into a simple-to- people engage in around the work they do to make sense of a challenging situation, and remember model, the 4Cs: Coherence, and the situations they face. healthy, happy perceive themselves or someone they trust as Challenge, Control and Connection. The model people believe that their work and actions are being in control of the situation. In other identifies personal capabilities that must meaningful (Jaffe, Scott, & Tobe, 1994). They words, they possess perceived self-efficacy and be activated to achieve an effective applied have a sense of purpose, and an awareness of self-management resources. They see a reason behavior change program for sustainability what is important to them (kobasa, 1979). to apply themselves, and they take action. (Jaffe, Scott, & Tobe, 1994). The 4Cs also with this awareness they are committed to their As with Dionne (see insert, below), a person build on the literature concerning what values, their goals and themselves. They create with a PSP acquires a renewed sense that what enables people to remain healthy under stress a personal balance, and believe in their ability they believe and act upon counts for something (kobasa, 1979), and represent capacities that, to make decisions and realize their purpose. meaningful. The recognition and alignment of when enhanced, empower people to act upon a broad range of sustainability promoting Meaning making also occurs when values and actions between a person’s work and behaviors. They also provide a framework for individuals face challenging situations. happy, how he or she lives out those values facilitates reporting and measuring impact. healthy people are able to appropriately the creation of meaning. Coherence can occur recognize and manage a challenging event in personal life, work life, and community Never Underestimate the when one presents itself. They have personal life. The process of identifying, adopting and Power of a Story resources available – a belief in themselves, or sustaining a personal sustainability practice Stories are a critical pathway for information problem solving skills, for example –to draw provides a platform for the creation and transfer and retention. People remember upon, and they actively use those resources support of coherence. information contained in stories in unique ways, and they internalize the success of individuals who are similar to them. our Developing Coherence applied educational design leans heavily on Dionne is a PSP captain at her organization, and her PSPs are “healthier living, drinking storytelling, anecdotes, and parables. To more water and spending more time with [her] son and godson.” Dionne has associated spread transformational sustainability ideas, a healthier lifestyle with living longer and being present for her children as they grow up. forums are created (online, video, and written) Through PSP, she has increased her water intake to six cups of 34 ounces of water a day, is for people to share their personal stories related working out a lot more, and recently lost 15 pounds. She finds that the young people in her to PSP. These stories enter the social networks life teach her as much as she is teaching them; together they are conserving energy by turning of organizations and become viral instigators off lights and not running the water when brushing their teeth. for change, challenging others to innovate and Dionne is also ”pretty passionate about PSP as a project here in the workplace, because sustain their actions. it boosts morale...there’s nothing like being in an environment where everyone’s happy, our experience with over 500,000 everyone’s having a good time enjoying what they do.” As a customer service representative individuals participating in PSP efforts has in a health care call center, she explains that participating in PSP has significantly enhanced been the laboratory for the theory and model the job she does with her clients – now each time she speaks to someone on the phone, she described in this paper. To illustrate the 4Cs is not only is she helping them with their immediate condition, but she is able to help them below, we have included stories from people “connect the dots” from taking care of themselves, to its impact on family, community and on the front lines who are using PSP as a the planet. PSP has made her job go from average every day to “super.” having an outlet to platform for personal, organizational and live her personal values has created a deeper level of meaning in Dionne’s role as a mother, community change. godmother, co-worker, and leader. © 2009 All Rights Reserved. Page 4
  5. 5. Viewing change as a challenge is yet Developing Control another characteristic of happy, healthy people In early 2007, Susie was seeing a doctor for high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. (kobasa, 1979). People who view change as “we both knew I was overweight.” her physician put her first on blood pressure and then an opportunity for personal and professional cholesterol medicine. Susie agreed to the regimen and to return to her doctor’s office for development are more likely to take action. continued monitoring. field experience has also shown that PSP participants go above and beyond what is Then Susie attended to a PSP workshop. “Thinking about the things I could do on a defined in their job description, particularly personal level to improve both my world and the world around me,” she decided that her first during times of difficulty. PSP would be about her health. She determined that she “had to get healthy and wear my seat belt.” wearing a seat belt was something that she had not done in 63 years of life. At the Challenge same time that she committed to that simple behavior of self-protection, Susie overhauled nell (see insert, below) had desired outcomes her diet, began exercising, and started to drop weight. At her next appointment, the doctor in mind when she first engaged with PSP: to “was amazed“” at her progress - she had made so many positive changes to her health that he enroll everyone at her worksite with PSP and was able to take her off all the new blood pressure and cholesterol medicines. Today Susie has to gain control of her personal health. As she adopted a new PSP: using “squiggly” (compact fluorescent) bulbs. She says “for me, PSP has began to work toward those outcomes, she become a new way of life.” grasped the opportunity to see the changes as a challenge. PSP encourages participants to take Control Their behavioral response to feeling powerless on small changes, what we call “nano practices,” is to avoid the challenges through inaction. and to work toward and achieve mastery. Control represents the way healthy, happy using Personal Sustainability as a structural After reaching a certain level of success, people perceive having choice in situations. approach can provide a focus and the skills nell identified additional changes with The concept includes three types of control needed for people to mobilize and take action. which to challenge herself. A successful (kobasa, 1979): People begin to see how every action they take program for sustainable behavior change 1. Decisional control, or a person’s belief engages their family, their coworkers, and must support individuals to see challenges that he or she can choose from multiple their greater community. They learn that by courses of action. as opportunities for growth and in so doing taking care of themselves and their physical reinforce experiences of self-management and 2. Cognitive control, or being able to surroundings, they are contributing to a see challenges as part of life and perceptions of self-efficacy. sustainable environment. Just as with Susie, anticipating the need to adjust. they are able to see they have choices and can In any given situation, a person typically has 3. Coping skills, or the development and gain mastery in an area of their choosing. a desired outcome in mind. A belief that he or application of personal resources. They increase their ability to skillfully navigate she can produce that outcome (i.e. self-efficacy) Susie’s story (see insert above) represents challenges and learn to accept that obstacles is another strong determinant of whether or someone who made a choice on a course of will be present in the future. however, they not action is taken (Bandura, 2006). action, saw and adjusted to challenges, and now experience confidence in their ability used the skills she developed to cope with to overcome those obstacles, to control their those challenges. People who feel control behavioral patterns, and to succeed. in challenging situations feel empowered, whereas those who perceive there is nothing they can do feel powerless. As determined Developing Challenge by the concept of self-efficacy, this feeling dramatically affects the degree to which people nell is a lifelong learner who was excited when she first heard about sustainability and how pursue a desired outcome (Bandura, 2004). it can become a business driver. She volunteered for a leadership position as a PSP Captain in her organization and enrolled almost everyone at her worksite. As people attempt to make change, they learn from their successes and failures At the program’s inception, nell was unhappy with some aspects of her life. She wanted (Bandura, 2006) and they can be taught by to lose weight to control her diabetes, and she wanted to be closer to her only daughter, who experience how to effectively manage failures had recently informed nell that she did not want to have children due to the terrible state and persevere. Increasing a sense of personal of the world. control frequently occurs through having nell chose recycling and losing weight as her PSPs. They served as the impetus to experiences of mastery. Resiliency results challenge herself in the areas in which she wanted to create change. She started getting from overcoming obstacles on a path toward control of her diabetes, and she and her daughter began connecting around her “cool” change, and eventually mastery is achieved. A sustainability interests. resilient individual knows that the effort pays even as she worked on her own well-being, nell became an internal company spokesperson off, and that they can make choices and adapt. for the sustainability initiative. She accepted an unanticipated invitation to a clean-energy They also have a greater ability to cope in the investment conference at the Aspen Institute, where her vocal expression of the power of personal face of challenge, and therefore experience change and the possibility of a more sustainable future for her grandchildren engendered a round more control in a situation. of applause led by Vice President Al Gore (werbach, 2008). Many of the messages we all absorb today nell’s story did not end there. She has continued to embrace the changes in related to health risk and the state of the world, her life and challenged herself by recently returning to school to earn a degree in including climate change, lead to people sustainability education. feeling overwhelmed and out of control. © 2009 All Rights Reserved. Page 5
  6. 6. Believing in our ability to succeed in different Personal Sustainability At Saatchi & Saatchi S, we believe that environments can be enhanced through four authentic happiness, good health, and In the face of current challenges, resilient different strategies (Bandura, 2006): personal, organizational, and planetary people and communities will fare best and 1. Drawing from past mastery experiences, sustainability are all possible. our approach contribute more to the solutions we need. or remembering past success in with PSP satisfies the conditions for positive People who are happy and healthy believe overcoming obstacles behavior change as outlined in this paper. It in their ability to achieve the outcomes they 2. Social modeling, or seeing similar people supports subjective experiences, individual desire, and they can receive and give support succeed through persistent effort traits, and social institutions that are necessary to those around them. They create change. 3. Social persuasion, or being influenced structures for health and happiness. when by others Just as positive psychology was emerging functioning robustly, these structures lead 4. Collective belief in capabilities, or belief as a driving force in studying human to an empowering belief in our personal in a group or community’s ability to behavior, environmentalism was beginning and collective capabilities to create change. reach desired outcomes to recognize that approaches to ‘green’ that Individuals who believe in themselves can focused primarily on the problem were set, reach, and maintain goals, capitalizing Through PSP we have observed all of these coming up short (werbach, 2005). Most on existing skills and networks. Resilient, factors at play. Members of a community people have felt helpless to act. They lacked activated people working within supportive begin to make progress and are encouraged by a personal sense of meaning and control. The structures unleash our ingenuity. These the success of others like them. As they make Personal Sustainability Project was developed happier, healthier people are our world’s progress, they also share their experiences with with the idea that activating individuals greatest resource. others in the social network and influence around sustainability has the power to create those people to take their own steps. finally, sustainable change across many dimensions a community reaches a tipping point where by leveraging the contributions, wisdom and a shared belief in the ability to truly make a support of everyone. difference on big issues as a group emerges. The “ripple effect” of a single individual prepared PSP increases coherence, control, challenge SAATChI & SAATChI S is a to seize on a challenge can be enormous, but it and connection to activate people to go above sustainability consulting firm that is mediated by social connections. and beyond what is required of them. It helps organizations develop strategy, provides them with the tools and support they leverage their brands, and Connection need to manage challenge and to achieve the activate employees to be leaders The concept of connection encompasses unexpected for themselves and within their in sustainability. the degree to which people can call on the sphere of influence. These activated people help and support of others. The literature on can then mobilize their social networks to social support demonstrates that connected reinforce the spread of desired behaviors. individuals are more likely to believe in They tug on the strings of an interconnected v12 themselves, and to set and maintain behavioral network, and that entire network shifts. goals (Maes & karoly, 2005). effective behavior change programs must stimulate and Developing Connection support positive connection. when walter was first asked to be a captain in his organization’s PSP program, he Through connection, individuals engaged in emphatically declined. he had decided to work at his company because he needed health positive action also improve their families and insurance and had no interest in taking on additional responsibilities. his store manager, communities. They make meaning by way however, thought he would be ideal for the role based on his past experience as a teacher, and of service to others, aspirational goal setting, cajoled walter into participation. and gratitude in daily life. These patterns are critical contributors to authentic happiness. Coworkers, especially younger employees, had always sought walter for answers. with the Studies show that people are in fact happier introduction of Personal Sustainability, walter began encouraging coworkers to come together and with positive family and friend relationships make a difference. his facility initiated a “walking Across America” program where they count around them (Peterson, 2006). we gain miles walked outside of work and reflect the distance traveled on a u.S. map. not only are the from being connected with our communities, employees improving their health, they are interacting and supporting one another along the way. whether through work, religious affiliations, walter and his coworkers have spread the ethos of Personal Sustainability beyond the walls sports teams or some other social group. of the job site, and have gone to school and community events to educate young people The Personal Sustainability Project about sustainability. now kids say “hello!” to PSP participants when they come to the store, creates cause for new relationships between and proudly tell their parents about sustainability. individuals as they work toward personal and on a more personal level, PSP has spread to walter’s family. now each family member collective goals. As they support one another anticipates his yearly, green, paper-wrapped sustainable gift under the Christmas tree. After they bolster the hardiness of their peers, and all months of hard work, walter received a call from a senior vice president of his organization. are more likely to stick with behavior changes. he was asked to teach PSP to other locations across the country. walter jumped at the Just as walter did (see insert, right), people chance, and still maintains relationships with PSP leaders across the country. Together they participating in PSP are forming relationships solve sustainability issues and support one another in their endeavors. with multiple groups in their communities walter is proud of his work and feels like his efforts are supported by his extended and helping to educate and mobilize them community. he had no idea that by accepting the PSP challenge, he would change his toward creating a more sustainable world. workplace, his community, and his life. © 2009 All Rights Reserved. Page 6
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