A few weeks ago a colleague introduced me to a Ted Talks video piece on how we can train our brains to be positive. Then, this week I read about a company called Big Ass Fans that uses positivity as part of its culture. Since it is the season to be jolly, let’s explore these two positive stories.
Ted Talks Video – Shawn Achor
This 12 minute, amusing video by Shawn Achor is called The Happy Secret to Better Work. In it Achor talks about how we can train our brains to be positive. Based on his research he postulates that we can train our brain if we invest three minutes a day for 21 days in a row doing these five things:
- Think of 3 gratitudes from the last 24 hours. Ask why am I grateful?
- Using a daily journal, write down details about one gratitude (this positively trains the brain by reliving it.)
- Meditate – This helps us focus on the task at hand.
- Random act of kindness – Write one positive e-mail to someone every day. Giving helps you feel positive.
- Exercise – Teaches your brain that behavior matters.
Big Ass Fans
Have you ever heard of a company named Big Ass Fans (BAF)? Yes, that’s what I wrote, Big Ass Fans. In the latest edition of The Build Network I read about how this Lexington, Kentucky fan manufacturer screens new employees for “curiosity” and “positivity.” It then reinforces its values in its training and its culture.
Here are a few more details from The Build Network piece:
- Screen for curiosity – As part of their recruitment strategy they try to balance their workforce so it includes both technical, detailed people and creative, curious people. Although they like to have engineers and hands-on mechanical people who can make, test, and fix things, they also like liberal arts or English majors who like to ask questions and are curious. It is these curious folks who really flush-out new ideas.
- Screen for positivity – Because BAF is a busy manufacturer they like to have people who can work hard and stay positive. They push applicants during the interview process to see how they react to tough questions. Some questions explore past experiences and they watch and listen to how the applicants talk about difficult situations. They try to discover if the applicants are naturally positive people.
- Reinforce values via training – They start new hires on the industrial side of the fan business because that is where they have their most difficult customers to please. If the new hires can satisfy these demanding customers and stay positive, then they are likely the right fit for Big Ass Fans.
- Reinforce value via culture – They definitely have a “work hard, play hard” value set, which you will understand better if you watch some videos. When you go either to their website or onto YouTube, you will find many employee videos that display how much fun they have at work. They have humorous recruitment videos and even a mascot, which is an ass named “Fanny”, who visited New York City in this video.
In this last video Carey Smith, the Big Ass Fan CEO and founder, gives an interview in which he offers the viewer some insight into the culture of their company.
So, if you are a Big Ass Fan employee and you are talking to someone who isn’t from the Lexington, Kentucky, I can only imagine what reaction you get from folks when they ask you where you work. I think you have to have a positive attitude just to give the answer.
I hope you have a season that’s filled with jolly!