Happiness Training at Chess

How are you feeling today? Happy, hopes the United Nations, whose 2012 resolution proclaiming March 20th as “International Day of Happiness” recognises the role that happiness and well-being play in achieving global goals and aspirations.

The Dalai Lama is a key supporter, and it’s his philosophy which has inspired award winning business leader David Pollock to personally develop and lead “Happiness Training” at his 550-strong technology solutions organisation.

The approach has helped earn the company an enviable reputation. Chess recently attained the much-coveted top spot in The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For list 2018, having been in the top 100 for the last nine years; 3rd in 2015, 2nd in 2016 and 2017.

David is also this year’s 'Best Leader' by The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For – retaining the award for the second year running, with his unique Happiness Training winning him the 'Innovation in Business' award in 2016.

Happiness Training is an integral part of Chess culture, and as applicable - and relevant- to Pollock’s work at the Prince’s Trust as it is to the people he leads at Chess.

“Just thinking of three things, every day, which have made you happy, creates a positive outlook – and can make you a better person, a better partner, a better friend” explains Pollock.

“Attitude is key”, he continues. “How you’re visualising an outcome really matters – and that can make good things happen – or be a significant barrier.”

Responsibility for personal happiness cannot be delegated – instead the business is committed to equipping their people with the tools needed to increase their energy and confidence, with as much emphasis placed on mental well-being as physical health.  Living in the moment, embracing change and challenge and being open to new ideas are all themes explored in the sessions.

Integrating the lessons learned into daily working life is also a focus.

“The idea of writing down my goals for the year seemed a bit daunting at first” admits Jay Munson, recently named “New Starter of the Year”. “However, being very clear and accountable for the goals we all set ourselves, and knowing that the support is there to ensure we’re achieving every day, is highly motivating.”

With access to activities such as weekly yoga and meditation and support for weary mums and dads from “Parent Champions”, it’s clear that for at least one company, focus on happiness is not just a once-in-a-year event.

And that’s definitely something worth smiling about.