Just as the Employee Fair Choice Act (EFCA) provides an opportunity for organizations to ensure that their workplaces motivate employees, it also may prompt us to examine how positive and motivating our non-work environment is. Below are ways to adapt the ten suggestions for creating a motivating workplace to fit your personal life as well.

  1. Periodically, solicit constructive feedback from family and friends about the quality of your interactions with them. For example, do you demonstrate that you really care about their concerns? Listen closely. Act on those things that will enhance your relationships.
  2. Human beings have a need to feel a part of something bigger than ourselves. This connection might be to our personal vision, or it might be to a cause about which we feel passionate. What are you connected to? How are you contributing to it? Remind yourself regularly of the value that you provide.
  3. How much do you really know about the interests of your family members and friends? Regularly ask them about the things that are important to them, and do so from a place of genuine curiosity, even if you think you already know what they will say.
  4. Do something nice for your family and friends on a regular basis in order to recognize the contributions they make to your well-being. It doesn't take much time or effort: saying "thank you" often and expressing your appreciation for specific actions will provide huge dividends in all your relationships. Your personal time and attention are more meaningful than you might imagine!
  5. Ensure that you treat your family and friends in ways that they perceive as fair. While we can't make everyone happy all the time, we can ensure that we explain our actions or decisions, we can use decision criteria consistently, and we can solicit input when appropriate before making a decision or taking an action. Finally, we can double check and make sure that our criteria are as objective as possible. For a specific example of how to develop a fair decision-making process in a family situation, see the Personal Solutions section of our March, 2009 Alignment Solutions newsletter.
  6. Ensure that your behavior consistently demonstrates the values that are a core part of your interactions with family and friends (e.g., trust, respect).
  7. Encourage your family and friends to talk honestly with you, especially when the subjects are uncomfortable or sensitive. Listen without judging or responding. Arrange to get back to them later, after you have had time to consider their feedback.
  8. Incorporate appreciative approaches in your daily life. Use language that brings out the best in yourself and others. Ask questions that require positive answers instead of negative ones. For a list of positive self-talk questions, see the Personal Solutions section of our February, 2009 Alignment Solutions newsletter.
  9. Ensure that your friends are a good "fit" for you - i.e., that they enhance the quality of your life, rather than suck the energy out of it. Why hang out with people who complain constantly, when you could be with those who search for opportunities regardless of circumstances?
  10. By making sure that your words and actions are aligned with the goal of helping your family members and friends become fully successful (as they define success), the quality of your life will be enhanced immeasurably.

Pat Lynch, Ph.D., is President of Business Alignment Strategies, Inc., a consulting firm that helps clients optimize business results by aligning people, programs, and processes with organizational goals. You may contact Pat or call (562) 985-0333.


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