Misery Is Not Productivity

One time I wanted to use a photo of people smiling for a corporate type report.

The photo I had was really happy. The executives were laughing, leaning in toward one another, engaged.

The photo made everybody nervous.

Happy? Smiling? LAUGHING?

You can't do that, they said. We have to look serious. Otherwise people will think we're not doing our jobs.

What a big mistake.

When I see people frowning or stern, I think they must be miserable or doing something wrong and I don't trust them with my business.

Unhappy people screw up. Happy people excel.

Did you see the movie "Margin Call"? Boy were the characters serious in that film. Do you know why?

Because they were messing up big time. No spoilers here but we are talking way more trouble than chump change millions.

I trust people who smile. Visionary leaders smile. Steve Jobs, Richard Branson, Hillary Clinton, Meg Whitman, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Joel Osteen, Warren Buffett, Donna Karan, Mark Zuckerberg (occasionally), Jack Welch - all of them smile.

True leaders are happy because they are fulfilling their life's purpose. They take us ordinary folks on a grand adventure. We willingly go along.

Miserable, fabisseneh (Yiddish for miserable) people are stuck or worse, drowning. I don't want to buy things from them.

Go to Lulu's Bait Shack in Ft. Lauderdale and get the fish and chips. The people there work their butts off. But they are happy at the same time.

I would rather look at a smiling photo than a tight-lipped one.

And every senior exec should be as happy as the waitresses at Lulu's.