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What Leading with Optimism Really Looks Like

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

Three years ago, Genesis Health System was not profitable. The president of Genesis Medical Center-Davenport was in the state of conundrum. He wanted to infuse positivity into the culture, but the management was about to undergo two rounds of massive cost reductions and layoffs. Still he hypothesized that positive psychology interventions could help the center at this crucial time.

Each department designed positive changes spanning from gratitude exercises,increased recognition from managers, and team-based conscious acts of kindness.

And the color “orange” was adopted to symbolize positive changes.

When an employee returned from vacation, his colleagues covered his office space with words of appreciation on orange post-it notes. When moms had new babies, the staff gave the big brothers plush orange frogs as a symbol of kind character of the department. Even orange oxygen carts could be found in some departments.

After six weeks of this intervention, the number of respondents who said “I feel connected at work” went from 68% to 85%, that too after staff reductions where

some coworkers were no longer at the organization.

Hence, it is possible to create a positive mindset even in the face of dire circumstances— one that will help employees and customers, both.

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