Posted: May 27, 2015 in Uncategorized
HAPPYOLOGYIt’s been amazing how corporate South Africa has embraced my new keynote – Happyology™ creating a Happy Bottom Line™. 

Following the writing of my opinion piece in August 2014 I have been inundated with requests to present the Happyology™ keynote and its ideas. So popular is it in fact, that I have had to rewrite the keynote making it more balanced between what is expected from a company / employer and the happy employee.

So, in this month’s newsletter Happyology™ (v 2.0) I simply wish to expand on some of the more practical ideas for creating not only a happy working environment, (which comes from a balance between corporate responsibility and personal involvement) and a happy bottom line full of profit & happy customers.

The secret to making massive profits can only truly be achieved with happy staff. It’s called the Happy Bottom Line™!

The latest research has shown that not only is it possible to make huge profits whilst having fun, it is very difficult to do it without having fun.

For too long we have been following the incorrect formula – the one that said “work hard, get results, and you will be happy”. This formula may have worked for a few, but most of us will attest to the fact that this is not true. The new formula is almost fool proof and begins with the premise that you have to be happy to start with, then you will want to work hard, you will get the results and you WILL be even happier!

BREAKING NEWS FOR ALL STAFF MEMBERS: Your company / bosses are not responsible for your happiness!

Nowhere on your appointment agreement / employment contract does it state that the company will make you happy. In fact during your interview you walked in

  • very happy
  • told us that you would bring happiness
  • and competence to the position
  • you told us you were hard working
  • punctual and
  • always did what you said you would do
  • you said you were creative
  • and would constantly look for solutions to things that were not working properly

In fact it is every employer’s wish that their future employee would in some way live up to the promises on their CV. A greater fictional document would be difficult to find (unless of course you compare it to political promises and manifestos). You made the promises so now it’s time to just live up to them.

Being happy is your responsibility!!

I am currently working on a book and have already identified well over 150 practical ideas to be happier as a person. Here are 4 quickies.

  1. To be happy as a person you have to take off your mask. Customers and companies are looking for real people. It is very difficult to be a real person if you are pretending to be what you are not. The greatest gift you can give someone else is to be yourself. We lose ¾ of our personalities trying to be like other people. It’s very difficult to hide what’s not really there.
  2. Do things differently. Create variety and fun in your life and do things that are not only different for you, but make a difference to the customer and your company.
  3. Take control of your finances, your health, your fitness and your personal life. When you are happy in these areas you will be a happier person who brings joy to the workplace and not all the failure, needs and issues of your personal life. Take control of your life now.
  4. If we had a “happiness audit” right now (we do during the keynote), would you be voted the happiest person in the company? The most positive? The nicest? Or as in the case of most conferences would you sit there and not have a single person call out your name? This is especially hard-hitting if you are indeed a manager, leader, owner or employer. It’s an uncomfortable truth.

BREAKING NEWS FOR COMPANY MANAGERS / OWNERS: your staff’s happiness may not be your responsibility but it is your problem!

That is such a powerful statement – I think you need to reread it. Really take it in, and present it at your next management meeting. It’s not your responsibility and it may not even be your fault but it is your problem. It’s a problem that is so grave that it is exactly where your company / department will end up, unless you get the basics correct.

Many years of research have gone into discovering what companies need to do in order to assist staff in being happier at work. Please notice that I use the word “assist” in being happier and not making them happy this you cannot do. A happy person is the person you should have employed in the first place. There are many more, but based on my research these are the top five.


  1. Pay them proportionately to their effort and skill + pay them on time. Money is very important and in a recent survey 61% of respondents said that they would leave their current company for more money. This makes money an important motivator but not the only one. Because money is so important it follows then that you should;
  2. Reward and recognize outstanding performers and have a reward and recognition program in place that is fair and consistent.
  3. Have a noble purpose for being in business that is the company culture. Put the noble purpose first in everything that you do and make sure that your purpose drives every task. The concept of Purpose over Task is paramount. “Why I am doing something will determine how I do it, when I do it and how well I do it”.
  4. Real leadership. Just as children need proper parenting and guidance interspersed with love and tough love, employees flourish when they are led by an actual leader. A leader who cares about them and the business, but is also firm and fair. Lead by example and put a flippen smile on your face! How come is it that the higher you climb in a corporation the more miserable you become?
  5. A career path and opportunity for growth. Dead-end jobs do not create a sense of happiness, inspiration or a positive future outlook. When the future looks bright and growth is possible – staff are happier.

MORE breaking news for all staff members: If you want to have a happy manager or boss, be a happy staff member AND if you want to have happy staff members then be a happy manager /boss!

If you want to work in a happy environment where you are paid, respected, recognized and get promoted all you have to do is;

  1. Do your bloody job – it really is that simple.
  2. Stop moaning and complaining – any idiot can moan and complain and it’s normally the idiots that do. Be proactive and fix it if you can, reported if you cannot, but just stop winging.
  3. Appreciate your job – unemployment is rife and growing, wake up to this fact and appreciate what you have.
  4. Get to work before time – no that’s not a mistake. Get to work before you are supposed to start working. Warm up, get the coffee and the “what I watched on TV last night” chat out of the way and start working on time. Smoke in your own time. Stick to tea breaks and exact lunchtime breaks. Top performers don’t take lunch. Lunch is for wimps and people who don’t want a promotion. Show me a successful entrepreneur / business owner / successful business person who bothers with lunch. If your manager doesn’t notice, then you’re working for the wrong guy.
  5. Don’t open or look at Facebook, Twitter, the internet or any other social media for the entire time you are at work. It’s called WORK because that’s what you’re supposed to be doing for a minimum of 8 hours every day. I bet during your interview you never said that you would be looking at social media and surf the net for a couple of hours a day. Stop that nonsense now!
  6. Be a person that can be trusted and who takes responsibility and ownership for his job – Dah!
  7. Just keep your promises in accordance with your employment contract.
  8. Take control of your personal finances and stop asking for increases because you spend too much and are out of control. We buy things we can’t afford to impress people we don’t like and who don’t like us. The cost of living goes up because people spend money they do not have – it’s called inflation. It is caused because people try and make their lives better by spending money they do not have and then complain that the cost of living is increasing. They then want their company to pay them more so they can go and buy more. It’s flippen madness!
  9. Do what you say you will do. This one sounds simple but read it again it will change your life.
  10. Never lie – “I will always find out”, I’m sure you learned that from your mother.
  11. Do your best and use your best judgment at all times knowing that you are fully accountable for any and all results, good or bad. For the good you will be acknowledged and for the bad you will be held accountable – taken outside and beaten. Okay maybe that’s a bit harsh, but the least you should have to do is pay for your mistake – in cash, off your salary. Oh where are the strong leaders when we need them?
  12. Always add more value – that’s how you get an increase, not by demanding, striking or being on a go-slow. The more you put in, the more value you add and the more you are rewarded, simple.
  13. Invest in yourself, your education and your skills in becoming a better person so the company can then invest more in you. Did you know that the average South African spends more money on toilet paper every month than on improving their mind?
  14. You are the brand – in fact, you are the company. So always act to the highest standard. Act as if a television camera is following you around all day, and you are going to be on tonight’s news.
  15. Grow up – put your big boy pants on (or your big girl dress) and leave your issues at home. This is a place of work not a psychiatric ward, and your manager has other uses for that couch in his office, it’s not for your psychotherapy.
  16. Bring as much fun, happiness and passion to work as you can – every day, and try to be the happiest employee in the company. As Robin Williams used to say, “don’t let the b4st4rds wear you down!” 

It’s just that simple.

Have a happy month – it really is all up to you!

Gavin Sharples

  1. What an amazing piece. Thanks Gavin!
    Elouise Cloete
    Shift Ideas


  2. Alta Keuler says:

    Fantastic……..don’t worry be happy


  3. Chris Stofberg says:

    Great piece !


  4. Mimi de Oliveira says:

    This is fantastic Gavin and it’s great to know that I am not the only one in the world to think this way! I have worked in the Corporate world for many years as a Manager, but prefer to call myself a Leader (manage tasks but lead people). My teams have always been positive, high performers and happy with their working environment. My staff turnover is extremely low and I have been told on many occasions that I am the reason they stay and enjoy having me as a “boss”. However my colleagues and superiors don’t seem to appreciate my enthusiasm and constant smile, but the results speak for themselves! Why should I walk around with a frown all day when I love all the different aspects of my work and personal life?


  5. Allison Gallo says:

    How refreshing … Happyology v2.0 left me feeling motivated, enlightened and energetic. If we ALL followed these few easy steps, we would have a happy, productive workforce. This is most certainly a MUST read for all employees and employers. Thank you for elevating our spirits and reminding us of how easy it is to have a happy work-life balance Gavin.


  6. Ben Lottering says:

    Hi Gavin,

    Totally like it


  7. Carl says:

    I am sending this one on to my colleagues and boss!! Hope they enjoy it as much as me.


  8. Elsie says:

    Sending this to my staff and fellow colleagues..absolute brilliant:)


  9. Marianne Hendrikse says:

    Thanks Gavin for yet another inspiring newsletter!


  10. Estrellita Kleynhans says:

    In April 2014, my son got engaged to his girlfriend in Phuket, Thailand. When they returned, they couldn’t stop raving about this amazing country and its friendly people. As my son usually takes life quite seriously – he is an analyst by profession and also extremely organized – his reaction was quite surprising and out of character. Their decision to have their wedding in Thailand and to invite a special group of friends and family to attend, was met with me by some trepidation – could I really afford this expense? Eventually they got legally married in South Africa in November 2014 and decided to have the fun wedding in Thailand in April 2015.

    And so 19 of us travelled, from different parts of the world, to attend the second wedding in Kamala Beach, Thailand.

    What a culture shock!

    You land in this foreign country; you don’t speak the language and don’t know the people. All you know is the little bit you’ve learnt by Googling on the internet. And all around you, people are smiling – really smiling! And they’re friendly and helpful!

    And the taxi taking you to the hotel is clean, smart and cheap. And the driver is friendly and helpful! And even though the traffic is terrifying and everyone appears to drive where and how they want, no hooters are audible. And then, when you finally reach your destination after travelling for more than 26 hours, the lady at the reception desk is friendly and helpful! And the porter taking your suitcases to your room is friendly and helpful and refuses to take a tip! By now I’m starting to feel like Alice in Wonderland …

    And the wedding planner was another example of truly extraordinary client service. Despite only e-mail consultations and an hour long personal consultation, she managed to pull off a truly wonderful wedding at a fraction of the cost of a South African wedding. The night before the wedding, we were walking through the gardens of the hotel when we heard singing, laughing and chattering coming from one of the ground floor bedrooms. We sneaked a peak through the open door and there were all these ladies – at least 15 of them – stringing fresh and synthetic flowers by hand for the wedding. They sounded happy, even though it was after eleven at night.

    And these were not isolated incidents. Everywhere we went, we experienced the same friendliness and helpfulness. And even though there was often a severe communication gap (many of the Thais speak what they smilingly refer to as “broken English” – between 10 to 20 words very weirdly pronounced), we were still quite able to understand each other using a combination of language, gestures and signs. One evening we were at a restaurant and one of the ladies in our party ordered a pineapple shake. While waiting for the drinks, I spied the waiter going over to the restaurant next door (most of the shops and restaurants are open-plan) and the next moment, he returns with a fresh pineapple! So, rather than disappoint a customer because they didn’t have fresh pineapples in stock, he went to the competitor to get one.

    What further amazed us was the fact that shop owners would leave their shops or stalls open and unattended if they needed to go somewhere. There would merely be a rope hooked across the entrance to indicate that nobody was there.

    For our second week in Kamala Beach, Thailand, my youngest son and I stayed in a cheaper guesthouse, while the married couple went to Koh Samui for their honeymoon. Best decision we could have made. The guesthouse was situated in the middle of town and there we really experienced the hospitality of the Thais. The guesthouse manager and his wife invited us (via gestures and “broken” English) to participate in the Songkran Festival (Thai New Year) on 13 April 2015 as part of their family. This resulted in an all-out water war between the opposite sides of the road, everyone being involved in very mature water fights with plastic pistols and any other receptacles capable of holding water. Also, we were able to rent two scooters from the manager at a severely discounted price because we were staying in the guesthouse.

    Furthermore, my youngest son, who is an introvert and prefers not to mingle with strangers or attend large gatherings, made friends with the ladies at the coffee shop and the restaurant and would often sit chatting to them, playing cards and eating local dishes into the night, after their businesses had closed. He even taught them to drink brandy, a bottle of which we had brought to Thailand for the wedding, because alcohol is quite expensive there. Needless to say, the next morning our usual coffee at the coffee house was late, because the owner had a headache!

    There are so many more experiences of amazing client service that we experienced that I could write about, but suffice it to say, the holiday was truly the most amazing and eye-opening experience I have ever had. Cynics would say that, because tourism is their main source of income, of course they would be friendly and helpful. But, in fact, tourism only accounts for about 6% of Thailand’s economy.

    After a truly wonderful holiday, it was time to go back home. We finally land at O.R. Tambo, I smile at the lady behind the counter, she asks for my passport by growling: “Passport!” then stamps it as if she wants to kill it …. And I feel sad that it seems to be so different here.


  11. Berlinda Maltez says:

    Thanks for this, love your work.

    Kind regards

    Berlinda Maltez


  12. Ina says:

    Powerful and o so true… Thanks Gavin, it deserves a full page in each Sunday newspaper for the whole country to read!


  13. Pavithren says:

    Amazing as always thanks for the insightful thoughts


  14. Pavi Govender says:

    HI Gavin

    Thanks again for all the reality checks, enjoyed the talk you did with us at champagne sports resort.


  15. Sacha says:

    This is a classic


  16. Jannie Le Roux says:

    Excellent newsletter! Thank you Gavin.


  17. gesina says:

    So n bek moet jam kry ! Great thinking !


  18. Marius Wentworth says:

    Excellent article Gavin, shared with all the staff in company. It is actually plain and simple to follow and would make each work environment pleasant.


  19. Christelle Marais says:

    So was I allowed to read this in work time?


  20. KAREN says:

    Great piece Gavin – love it. Am sharing it on FB! x


  21. Dalene says:

    Thank you it was very helpful


  22. Chalwe Doroba Chungwa says:

    This is so so authentic. Thanks for the inspiration


  23. love love love love love love love it! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂


  24. agnes vermaak says:

    Gavin you rock ,a man of my heart.you should start a TV Program the world needs to hear more from you,for now only the rich guys can afford you,


  25. Christo says:

    Flippen fantastic!!flippen happy people are flippen awesome!!thank you flippen much for this article flippen enjoyed it!!


  26. nisha chandikapersad says:

    I find it sad that as a business manager and marketing executive for panel city panel beaters Durban and mthatha how the staff feel as management owe them their jobs. what happened to that vibrant person who walked in for the interview. claiming to be the best. then over time complacency sets in and sadly management is saddled with staff that are incompetent. it seems as though the unions have taken over always in the favour of the employee. a disgruntled staff needs to counselling prior to resorting to uncalled animosity. sadly this effects the entire team. but then again are we here to cradle them like babies because their cv’s clearly stated their potential and credentials and not that they needed nappies if and when. it makes the working environment a very unhappy one and sometimes their demands are greater than their production. screening is imperative because desperation has hit the unemployed and I think the employer should be extra VIGILIANT AND SELECTIVE ensuring a proper reference check. the contracts drawn should be in favour of the employer and not the employee as it seems these days.. well written gavin and the awareness created taken very seriously…


  27. Stella says:


    Someone mentioned this newsletter at dinner last night so I was pleased to
    get it in my mail this morning.
    I now have to find a way to send it to our girls and boys at work without
    saying; I can make you miserable if I like.

    I love what you are saying. Its like being part of an employers support

    Warm Regards Stella


  28. Lesley says:

    Spot on again Gavin


  29. Nomfundiso Booi says:

    Afternoon Gav & Team

    Thank you for the May newsletter – the fact that my CV is tying me to the promised attributions “finished” me hahhahahaaa!

    Indeed, I am responsible for my happyology and no one else!

    Take care and be Blessed – I revel in receiving your scripts full of naked truth and laced with stacks of humor…. Go Gavin, Go Gav 



  30. Jan Masson says:

    Well done again Gavin. I love your stuff!


  31. Fransica says:

    Loving your newsletters.
    You must watch ‘hector and the search for happiness’ if you haven’t already.


  32. Queen Ngcobo says:

    Great article, Thank You!


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