Hay Group, presented in BRW.
Why? When you are laughing your body relaxes, your endorphins are flowing and you associate laughter with other fun times, which makes you even happier. Smiles break down barriers between colleagues and business partners. When you are not stressed you are much more imaginative, memory works better and it´s easy to make decisions. People who laugh more are also easier to work with.
This may be why Australia is ranked so low when it comes to innovation.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics´ survey of innovation in Australia 2006-2007 found that of the 708,000 businesses surveyed only 260,544 (or 36.8%) were “active innovators”, well below the European averages of 55-60%.
The World Economic Forum‟s Global Competitiveness Report from 2008-09 showed that Australia lags behind in terms of business management and innovation capabilities, writes SKE. For example, in the "capacity for innovation" category, Australia ranks number 20 whilst Germany comes in at number 1, with the Scandinavian countries following close thereafter.
Being a Scandinavian, I can see why this is. Innovation is born in a comfortable, happy space where people feel safe to think freely, but the Australian work places seem to have clear, steep ladders to climb, and everyone keeps quiet to not fall down. In Sweden, the organizations are more flat and we listen to everyone. After speaking with Europeans now employed in Australia, I hear that many managers are dishonest and don´t give proper feedback. They say "great" but talk behind your back - or don´t give any feedback at all, making everyone scared. The comments on my ninemsn column on how companies should care about people´s love lives are also interesting. And when I told a company I blogged about that I had helped them spread the word, I got back "there is a typo in the first sentence"... Hmm. The Australian culture is definitely built up by macho style fear, instead of trust, which effectively kills creativity and innovation. The low ranking makes sense.
But I can smell a change. That a business magazine like BRW presents research showsing how executives leverage financially when smiling is a sign. In the last issue there were also several articles talking about happiness, which is another sign. I believe the movement towards women in leading positions will also change the management style all over. The culture is losening up.