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Smile, Joy is All Around You

For me, there’s no more joyful time of year than fall – from the first moment you feel a slight chill in the air (for Nevadans, that’s sometime in October, and in Las Vegas, usually not until after Halloween) until the holiday season hits its full stride at Thanksgiving, when I’m baking and shopping and dashing from one holiday soiree to the next.

It’s a frenetic time that both pumps me up and wears me out. If I’m not careful to slow down and smell the pumpkin spice, by New Year’s Eve all I want to do is curl up on my couch in my Vegas Golden Knights PJs and watch the ball drop on the East Coast. That much joy can be exhausting!

I’m sure many of you can relate. For some, just thinking about the holiday season may bring on a malaise that doesn’t lift until Trader Joe’s sells its last bag of organic pumpkin spice granola bark.

Joy … exhausting? You betcha!

Just ask the handful of folks from the Nevada office leadership team (or maybe just me) who were offered an opportunity to participate this past spring in the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) “Finding and Creating Joy in Work” six-week training series and who have been leading our office’s “joy” work since then. We’ve created joy boards (physical and virtual), sent out joy surveys (four of them), implemented joy interventions (two of them, so far) and participated in many meetings where we talk about how to improve, you guessed it, our joy in work. And we’ve only scratched the surface.

Why joy? When IHI embarked on its own joy work, it found that focusing on joy as opposed to burnout was more effective because it called for an approach that paid more attention to assets than deficits, pluses than minuses. By focusing on what’s right as opposed to what’s wrong, we create an environment of continuous learning, improvement and transparency – all hallmarks, according to IHI, of joy in work. Sound familiar?

In Nevada, our aim statement, or the thing we want to improve upon, is our “collective ability to help ourselves and our employees bring joy into their workplace so that we can get the most out of our work at HealthInsight.” We are first doing that by “developing better ways to help individuals feel more recognized for their work.”

We’ve had some successes. We’ve had a few missteps. And we’ve learned from both. Guess what? It takes work to improve everyone’s joy in work. And it can be exhausting, but it’s so worth it!

Last week, we updated our interactive “joy” board and invited our teammates to tell us what they are grateful for. I love walking into the office each morning and seeing a new note pinned to the board: “My family and friends.” “The new Keurig.” “All of the fabulous people I work with at HealthInsight.” “Today.” One of things I am grateful for is that we’ve been given the space to explore joy in work, and that one of the key themes that came out of the Qualis Health | HealthInsight leadership retreat in late April was “how will we assure a focus on joy in work?”

Sometimes too much of a good thing is a good thing (thank you, Alan Jackson).

So, if this fall, the fact that Christmas decorations are already lining the shelves of your favorite store (give the Great Pumpkin his due, Santa), or (in the Nevada office) the fact that the Joy Work Club is asking you to complete yet another Survey Monkey poll has you wishing 2019 was already here, remember to stop and smell the (feel free to insert your favorite seasonal smell here).

And smile, joy is all around you.


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