In much of our work over the past year in employee well-being, collegiate recovery, and organizational performance, we have landed on the term thriving. When people are thriving in any environment they are more engaged, they are more connected, and they are happier. Thriving enables work to get done at the upper end of what is possible. The interest in this term thriving is not only prevalent in the work of sr4 but also in recent periodicals.

The January-February 2012 Harvard Business Review contained an article called, Creating Sustainable Performance: If you give your employees the chance to learn and grow, they’ll thrive – and so will your organization.

The authors, Gretchen Spreitzer of University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business and Christine Porath of Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, found the best word to describe individuals who routinely show up to work, who go above and beyond the call of duty, and attract people who are just as committed to the job to be thriving.

They’ve identified two components of thriving: vitality and learning. These two components must work in concert – one without the other does not enable thriving.

  • Vitality is defined as the sense of being alive, passionate, and excited.

  • Learning is defined as the growth that comes from gaining new knowledge and skills.

The authors go on to identify four mechanisms that create conditions for thriving employees and highlight that all four mechanism are necessary to create a culture of thriving. Those mechanisms are:

  • Providing Decision-Making Discretion

  • Sharing Information

  • Minimizing Incivility

  • Offering Performance Feedback

Providing decision-making discretion empowers individuals, giving them a greater sense of control in how things get down and more opportunities for learning. Sharing information allows individuals to contribute more effectively as the shared information allows them to better understand how their work fits with the organization’s mission and strategy. Incivil behavior results in intentionally decreased effort and a cascading effect of incivil behavior within an organization; therefore minimizing incivility contributes to vitality. Finally, feedback creates opportunities for learning and the energy critical for a thriving culture. The best part of implementing these four mechanisms for thriving is that they don’t require enormous efforts or investments!

These mechanisms feel applicable in any organization – whether it be a workplace, a collegiate recovery program, or any community organization – implementing mechanisms for a culture of thriving seems imperative. Because without thriving individuals or a culture of thriving (that is individuals in the organization who are engaged, connected, and happy) – we aren’t achieving the upper end of what is possible.

How are you working to thrive in your life or in your work? What are you doing to help others thrive? Or to create a culture of thriving? We’d love to hear.

andy montgomery