Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Tipping Point of a Happy Economy

The Tipping Point
Since the founding of Positive psychology in 1998 by Dr. Martin Seligman, there has been a rising interest in both positive psychology and subjective happiness. Some organisations were quick to take advantage of this trend and became propagators of happiness. They used “happiness” as the tagline in their promotion and advertising campaigns.  Organisations like Zappos, Coca-Cola Company, McDonald’s, Wall’s Ice Cream, Starhub are some examples. The envision of a “happy economy” became a reality when the United Nations’ General Assembly adopted the resolution “Happiness: Towards a Holistic Approach to Development” in August 2011 and declared every 20thMarch as the International Day of Happiness in 2013.
Definition of Happiness
Happiness can be defined as the subjective measure of life satisfaction or dissatisfaction and a life that is worth living. It can be categorised into seven levels from the most to the least satisfaction in life:-
The Happy Life            – Engage one’s strengths to contribute to a larger purpose.
The Good Life              – Engage in activities or events which cause enjoyment.
The Pleasant Life        – Experiences that bring pleasures to the body or mind.
I’m OK Life                    – A temporary state when one is at the set point or baseline level of happiness.
The Unpleasant Life   – Circumstances that cause pain to the body or mind
The Bad Life                 – Disengage at home, work and community
The No Life                   – Live life aimlessly

The Happiness DNA
Happiness is a natural pursuit of human beings and it can be learned. First, is to identify the sources of happiness, and next, is to learn the various skills to cultivate happiness.  The sources of happiness can be broadly classified into external and internal. External sources of happiness are short-lived and external to us. They include financial, career, environmental, social and physical. Internal sources are permanent and they help to create an internal condition that is conducive to cultivate happiness in our genes. They include mental, emotional and spiritual.

Financial. Being financially adequate to make ends meet is an important source of happiness. A person cannot be happy if he is worried about how to make ends meet.
Career. Employees spend more than one-third of their lifetime at work and it is important that they can find workplace happiness and meaning in their daily work.
Environmental. Residential studies in the United States have shown that houses close to nature or green space promote well-being and reduce mental fatigue of people who live there.
Social. Happiness is not just about being happy but it is also about bringing happiness to people around us. Research has shown that relationship with spouse, children, parents, colleagues and friends is an important source of happiness. 
Physical. Physical health is an important source of happiness as it affects both the physical and mental ability of a person. Good health brings happiness and happiness brings better health. In a 2002 Australian study (published in the American Journal of Health Promotion), participants who were happy and satisfied found that they were 1.6 times healthier than the group who were unhappy.
Mental. Ed Diener, the University of Illinois psychology professor emeritus, who lead the review of more than 160 studies on the connection between a positive state of mind and overall health and longevity has found 'clear and compelling evidence' that happier people enjoy better health and longer lives.
Emotional. Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson and author of the book “Positivity”, says that focusing on day-to-day feelings of satisfaction can lead to a happier life, and that an awareness of the present moment, paying attention to human kindness, and enjoying nice weather can increase positivity in one's mental outlook.
Spiritual. Spiritual source of happiness is not about religion or faith but about having a clear sense of purpose in life. Discovering one’s life purpose and passion, and directing all energies towards it raises happiness.
Workplace Happiness
Numerous studies on workplace happiness have shown that happy employees are 2 times more productive and they are likely to stay in their jobs 5 times longer than unhappy employees. They are 6 times more engerised and they are likely to take 10 times less medical leaves than their unhappy colleagues. Happier workers also tend to help their colleagues 33% more than their least happy colleagues. They are 36% more motivated and are likely to achieve their goals 31% more than unhappy employees. Making employees happy becomes a necessity rather than an exception in a happy economy.

Organisations need to adopt a holistic approach in aligning and internalising an organisation’s purpose, people, practices and culture to nurture a happier workplace.
Happy Purpose
In the happy economy, organisation’s existence goes beyond profits. Altruism is the moral purpose of organisations to make all stakeholders happier. Happiness should be an inclusive purpose.
Happy Practices
The happy purpose has to be translated into happy practices that aim to nurture happy people and a happy culture. The design and implementation of happy workplace practices to nurture a happy culture, and to attract and retain happy people is a crucial ingredient of the workplace happiness DNA. 
Happy People
Only 10 percent of personal happiness is beyond the control of individuals. The other 90 percent can be achieved by hiring happy people and nurturing them with the happy soul, happy mind, happy heart and happy habits.
Happy Culture
The ingredients of a happy culture and how it can be sustained in the long term promote workplace happiness as a way of life.
The above article is published at http://learning.jobscentral.com.sg/article/read/225/the-tipping-point-of-a-happy-economy

Monday, 30 June 2014

Certified Quality Manager 27th Intake - Training and Development Module

The Certified Quality Manager (CQM) course is hosted by the Singapore Quality Institute (SQI) and Mr Johnson Ong Chee Bin is the appointed trainer for the Training and Development Module. The module for the 27th Intake was held on 28 June 2014 at SQI. The module covers the following topics:

• Introduction to Training and Development
• Training and Development Process
• National Models for Training and Development
• Factors affecting the Future of Training and Development

Saturday, 21 June 2014

PDCA or ADRI Approach to Self-Assessment Report (SAR) Writing

PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) or ADRI (Approach-Deployment-Results-Improvement) is a systematic way to write a comprehensive self-assessment report. It ensures how requirements or criteria of a quality assurance system are addressed systematically based on a process approach.

Below is an illustration of how the PDCA or ADRI approach is applied to write a comprehensive SAR in meeting the AUN-QA criterion at programme level.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

ASEAN-QAct Consultancy Visit at Universiti Utara Malaysia (UUM)

ASEAN-QAct is an extension of the ASEAN-QA Project Phase 1 which was offered to all 21 universities that underwent the ASEAN-QA site assessments. A call for application was made to the universities and 6 universities including UUM was selected for a consultancy follow up visit. 

The consultancy visit was held at UUM from 17 to 19 June 2014. The consultancy team consisted of European experts, Dr Nadine and Ms Sylvi from University of Potsdam and ASEAN expert, Mr. Johnson Ong Chee Bin, AUN-QA expert from Singapore. The focus of the consultancy was on the constructive alignment of learning outcomes, teaching & learning strategies and student assessments. More than 30 participants from the School of International Studies attended the workshop. 

One of the participants attended the workshop says "I have to tell you that I have been in many workshops and training about Learning Outcome but your presentation is the best, most structured, make sense, interesting and I have learned the most. Other faculty members said that they really benefitted from the consultancy too. Well done for the great job!"

Thursday, 12 June 2014

PDCA Approach to Curriculum Design and Development

The process of curriculum design and development constitutes various interconnected elements in the PDCA cycle with the objective of achieving the intended purpose of the programme. 

Plan. This stage begins with an analysis of the stakeholders' needs of faculty, current and past students, employers and society in general. The stakeholders' needs are translated into human resource terminology i.e. graduate competencies which in turn translated into educational taxonomy i.e. learning outcomes. Based on the learning outcomes, curriculum is designed backward to meet them.

Do. The plan stage is implemented where curriculum is delivered and learning outcomes are assessed to gauge the achievement of them.

Check. This stage involves the analysis of assessment results and feedback from students and faculty. Areas for improvement are identified.

Act. When the learning outcomes are achieved, the curriculum, learning and teaching strategies and assessment methods are standardised. Best practices are shared and improvement is made for the next cycle of PDCA.

In the design process, it is important to align the learning outcomes with the curriculum, teaching & learning strategies, and student assessment as illustrated in the diagram below.

Friday, 6 June 2014

The Happiness DNA Public Workshop

Living Better collaborates with ASK Training Pte Ltd to run The Happiness DNA and The Workplace Happiness DNA workshops for public and corporations. The Happiness DNA course synopsis is listed below.

Course Synopsis: 
The study of what makes people happy repeatedly demonstrates that the route to happiness is not about the endless accumulation of wealth. Happiness is a natural pursuit of human beings and it can be learned.
The sources of happiness can be broadly classified into external and internal. External sources of happiness are short-lived and external to us. They include financial, career, health, social and environmental. Internal sources are permanent and they help to create an internal condition that is conducive to cultivate happiness in our genes.

Course Objective: 

After completing the workshop, participants will be able to understand the science and facts of happiness, cultivate the happiness DNA and apply the concept to rediscover, renew and sustain happiness.
By the end of the course, you would be able to:
  • Understand the science and facts of happiness;
  • Understand the eight dimensions of the Happiness DNA; and
  • Apply the unique change methodology to rediscover, renew and sustain happiness.
Course Outline: 
  • The Science and Facts of Happiness
  • The 8 Dimensional of the Happiness DNA
  • Financial
  • Career
  • Health
  • Social
  • Environmental
  • Mental
  • Emotional
  • Spiritual
Course Duration: 2 days (16 hours), 9:00am - 5:00pm
Course Fee: $535.00 (Inc. GST) per participant

You may access the link below to find out more about the course schedule.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Customer Service, Communication and Teamwork Excellence Workshop at Zhenghua Primary School

The Customer Service, Communication and Teamwork Excellence Workshop was customised for Zhenghua Primary School based on the Service DNA concept as illustrated below.

The workshop aims to equip the administrative and support staff of Zhenghua Primary School with the relevant skills to provide excellent customer service through effective teamwork and communication. The workshop was designed and facilitated by Mr. Johnson Ong Chee Bin, Chief Happiness Coach of Living Better. The learning outcomes of the workshop are:
  • Appreciate the emerging experience economy
  • Understand the service DNA;
  • Understand the elements in delivering positive customer experience
  • Cultivate a customer-centric culture through effective teamwork and communication; and
  • Cultivate a customer-centric attitude