This is a very short 70-page book. But it tells a journey traveled by an unbelieving businessman from an outright stress to an ultimate relaxation–and even happiness. We enjoyed the read immensely not only because we know many business people who can’t relax on their summer holidays. We loved it too because we recognized many others who, like Howard in the book, just can’t believe that an organization based on trust, freedom, and responsibility doesn’t turn tomorrow into a bunch of anarchists robbing the company down to the last pen.
The question is still up in the air whether leaders who hold such values can change. The book’s authors Henry Stewart and his associates believe they can, perhaps with the help of a company “Happy People” which they set up and successfully run.
Start reading “Relax! A Happy Business Story” and judge yourself.
I should have been having fun. I really should. Sun, sand, sea, my wife, my kids, a beautiful villa right on the beach, just down from a bar that did great lobster – I should have been having the time of my life. But I wasn’t.
I was trying to talk to my Sales Manager on my mobile, which was heating up in my hand so fast I thought it was going to explode at any second. The sound kept cutting out, and I kept having to say “Sorry? Sorry? Hello?” like some sort of demented parrot, my kids were crying because Daddy wouldn’t build them a sandcastle, and I was getting a nasty sunburn on my stomach. In short, it wasn’t going well.
Just down the beach a little way, there was some guy playing frisbee with his kids. Not a care in the world, he clearly didn’t have a major, multi-national company to worry about. He’d probably won a competition or something. I hoped he would fall over and get sand in his shorts.
“Hello?” I said, for the millionth time. “Hello?” Hannah, my youngest, was tugging on my shorts to get my attention, and I’d just about had enough. “Stop that! Daddy’s talking work now! Go and play with your brother.” That was a mistake. She started crying. Helen gave me a frosty look, and swept the kids away with her into the villa. I was alone on the beach, with my phone, and the other family. To top it all off, the signal finally gave up, and cut out. I swore, and threw the phone into the sea, instantly regretting it. I slumped down onto the beach.
The other guy’s frisbee landed near my head, spraying sand, and he came running over.
“Sorry mate,” he said, cheerfully. “You all right? You look a bit stressed.”
“Stressed? What would you know about stress?” I snapped.
“Ooh, lots. I know how to get rid of it, for a start.”
“Yeah? Tell me one way.”
“Don’t take your mobile phone on holiday with you.”
I laughed, then remembered just how much I had paid for my top of the line model. I put my head in my hands and sighed.
“Easier said than done. I’m the boss of my department, I have to keep in touch.”
“Well I’m the boss of my department, and I don’t need to phone them up while I’m on holiday and they don’t phone me.”
I stared at him. He didn’t look like he was a boss. Healthy, tanned, relaxed – young…
“Yeah, well, my company’s probably bigger than yours. It’s TripleX. You’ve probably heard of it.” I sat back, smug. That’d impress him. It didn’t.
“TripleX? Not bad. I’m with Quad4.”
I felt my mouth open, and closed it quickly. Quad4 was easily twice the size of TripleX.
“So how do you do it? How do you manage to stay so calm? How do you manage not to phone them every day?”
“It’s not a big secret, but you have to be willing to change the way you run things.”
“What would your company be like if you completely trusted everybody?”