The Happy Manifesto is a book that I wish I had written. It is short, it is punchy and says everything that I have been talking about for years. Well, almost everything. Its cover is blue, not blue green, blue violet or even Bondi-blue, just a primary blue and with a bright yellow star in the middle.
Within its covers Henry Stewart sets out to tell us how we can make the organisation in which we find ourselves a great place to work. He tells us through his experiences of applying the principles in the book to his own business.
He refers to ‘Maverick’, by Ricardo Semler, another book I have read, as a source for his inspiration.
Among other things he talks about the importance of trust, giving people freedom to deliver, being open and transparent, learning from mistakes and playing to the strengths that exist within your business. All of these things I have talked about with my team. I have talked about them in team meetings, I have talked about them in presentations and I have written about them in my blog. You can look back if you wish.
I have had limited success with some of my attempts to implement these principles. With some I have no success at all and from time to time I see the green shoots of something wonderful. I will not be put off with my quest to liberate my team from old fashioned management thinking. I have offered everyone freedom from location, freedom from hierarchy and freedom from dogma. Some have taken up my offer and I question myself what else I can do to embed these ideas further.
One thing in the book that I have never tried is to allow people to choose their manager. Perhaps this is a step too far especially in a public sector environment. Would everyone choose the manager they have or someone different? Perhaps they would all choose the same person and then again perhaps not. Perhaps people would choose someone different to gain another perspective, to learn from them or to develop new relationships. Would being chosen be a good thing or a bad thing? Would it imply that you were too easy, clear in your outcome or someone will get things done?
Would I dare suggest it? There is only one way to find out.