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The "Good Morning" Test to find out how happy your organisation is


Over the past 20 years, I have played a very simple game to assess how "happy" an organisation is.

Why would you want to do that, I hear you say. Well, maybe you are thinking about starting a new job, joining a new company, or even thinking about leaving one. Maybe you just want to see how happy your place of work currently is.

Now, clearly, there are some very clever toolkits, frameworks and methodologies for assessing this type of thing. However, they are much more expensive, take many months to complete and give you so much insight that it is often bewildering. They are also often only repeated annually and take so much effort to administer that they have a short shelf life.

Unlike my method, they cannot be repeated every day, nor are they free or arguably as fun to do.

So, here it is. I hope it doesn't disappoint you too much in its simplicity, but it is called the "Good morning" test.

It really is very simple and the test starts from the moment you enter your work's premises, until the moment you reach your desk. If you think about it, from the moment you arrive at work, whether by car, bus, train, bike or walking, you probably pass at least a dozen people before you even arrive at your desk.

The security guard, the receptionist, the cleaner, your work colleagues, other random people who you don't know and maybe even the boss.

So all you have to do is very simply say "Good morning" to everyone that you pass. I don't mean a meek, whispering sort of grunt, but a confident, wide awake and friendly "Good morning" .

Now you have to recall what the response is and you are counting the number of people that return your greeting.

From my vast experience of "Good morning-ering" people over the last few decades, the responses will fall into several categories :

1. The friendly "good morning-er" : Very easy to spot. They will engage in eye contact from at least 100 yards away and even before you get within range, you can be certain that there will be a resounding good morning reply to your salutation. Often people you have a good relationship with already.

2. The "Oh shit someone is looking at me" : This person will avoid eye contact at all costs, stare down at their feet and you will not get a good morning response.

3. The "I see you, but seem to have lost the ability to talk" : This person will make eye contact, but it would appear cannot talk and will therefore walk confidently passed without a response

4. The Joker, Mood hoover or opportunistic : These people will all give some response, ranging from "oh yes it is" or " Is it?" or some trivial response, but unfortunately, not the one you are counting on.

There are dozens more stereotypes and I would be interested in hearing yours, but in my opinion, these are the four key categories.

So, all you need to do is count the number of people that return your salutation. Only if they reply "Good morning" back, can you count it as a correct response. Grunts, groans, huffs, punches to the face do not count.

Then, all that remains is to work out the percentage when you get to your desk. For example, if you said "Good morning" to 8 people and 4 replied appropriately, then you have a 50% success rate.

Although this is a bit of fun, I genuinely believe there is a direct correlation between the score and the happiness of the organisation. The more people you know at work, the more positive responses you are likely to get. The more people you know at work, the wider your friendship group and the happier both you and the organisation will be. Naturally, if people do not know each other, they are less likely to acknowledge each other, even with a simple "good morning"

Try it at work tomorrow or at your next job interview. Say "good morning" to the receptionist, the canteen staff and the people you walk passed. If you score less than 50%, seriously consider whether you even want to work for that orgnisation or even better, set out on a personal crusade to get everyone to say "Good Morning".

So to conclude, have a bit of fun tomorrow and let me know your results. At the end of the day, it is a bit of fun, but you may be surprised by what you actually reveal!


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