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on 9 September 2013
This book just makes so much sense that the morning after I read it I went in and talked to the CEO of our company about how quickly we could make our workplace a Happy workplace.

Everyone knows when they have a good manager - someone who trusts them, encourages them to play to their strengths and develop, and gives them flexibility and responsibility. Everyone knows when they have a bad manager too - someone who micro-manages, needs to approve every word change in every document, and who believes that there is only one right way to do something. Yet somehow when people become managers themselves they can find it difficult to let go of control, and to become the good managers they need to be in order for their business to thrive.

This is the first book I've read that really helps managers to let go of the fear and to create a Happy workplace, and demonstrates through experience that Happy workplaces are highly effective and productive workplaces. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
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on 2 September 2013
I first came across Henry Stewart, and the Happy Manifesto over a year ago. I picked up the book and couldn't put it down - finishing the book in one night. The whole time I was reading I was nodding my head, agreeing, and sometimes saying "Yes!" out loud!

This book is common sense, the golden rule of management at every step. Treating your staff well, treating your customers well, being open and honest. If every company were able to follow these steps, people would look forward to going to work every day!

The combination of good writing and stories that back up the ideas in real life business situations makes it difficult to argue that your organisation wouldn't be made better by implementing one (or all) of these steps.

If I could recommend an easy reading management book to any head of a company this would be it!
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on 20 November 2011
Hold `business as usual'! Instead, recruit for attitude, pre-approve staff projects, dump `management', work so you get a life (= more than work), celebrate mistakes, and above all, make your people feel good. Sounds impossible? Well Henry Stewart has the evidence these factors (along with others) ensure consistent, excellent performance. And his organisation has many continuing awards for best company, best for staff and communities, to prove it.

The barriers to this: managers steadfastly sour-dressed in the `old management' mindset which continues to produce rust not trust, dulled attendance not engagement. Managers who fail to realise that the greatest risk is doing more of the same.
There are many exhilarating examples here of how to start changing your organisation. Fearful managers could start with how Stewart himself overcame his own default management habit of `managing by cloning' (creating staff in his own image) a branch of command and control, and how such organisations deal with `I love my job but not my manager'. We are also made aware of the strategic need to set direction first, so all the company energies are forward-facing. There is, too, an outline of how organisations can succeed in an increasingly uncertain climate (the `new normal') by creating a learning culture designed to enable independent learners and staff. Perhaps an underdeveloped strand?
If you want a roughened-with-experience guide on how to multiply staff vitality, imagination, engagement and performance, buy and use this. It's in the new about-time tradition of putting employees first in order to better serve customers. Read it alongside Umair Haque's 'New Capitalist Manifesto:building disruptively better business'. As for the actual `manifesto' at the end, if you don't like it improve it and tell them, or build your own. THM makes (new) risk safe. Donal Carroll Critical Difference
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on 27 August 2013
"Imagine a workplace where people are energised and motivated by being in control of the work they do. Imagine they are trusted and given freedom, within clear guidelines, to decide how to achieve their results. Imagine they are able to get the life balance they want. Imagine they are valued according to the work they do, rather than the number of hours they spend at their desk."

Stop imagining and get in on practical tips. This isn't a book with airy-fairy hi-fallutin' nonsense. This is a very readable easy to understand book with a practical message. I bumped into Mr Stewart at an exhibition after reading this and believe it or not, he was happy! READ THIS BOOK, it's not self-help nonsense; it's great
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on 10 January 2012
This book is like a giant dare, a sort of `truth or consequences' for organisations in the 21st Century. In its easy to read style, Henry Stewart explains how he has turned many conventional organisational practices on their head and has reaped the awards by creating a business that is regularly voted as one of the best small businesses, as well as one of the best places to work, in the UK.

The book describes the steps Henry has taken to achieve this in his business while also providing plenty of examples from other successful and like-minded organisations.

Reading this book has changed my perspective of organisational convention and has left me wanting to work in a place that applies the principals so clearly described in `The Happy Manifesto'. Reading it means that work will never seem the same again. Now it's your turn - I dare you.
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on 24 August 2016
As a HR professional I have been exploring how organisations can create a culture that enables all their employees to flourish and love what they are doing, and still be successful. Having watched a YouTube talk with Henry Stewart I bought the book. It has some really great ideas that make total sense to me! Not hard to do, but really effective. In short he sets out in really easy to follow terms how to treat other people like human beings. Now isn't that a novel way for organisations to think! It's inspired me to follow this course in my own career and hopefully we will see many more organistions embracing this way of working. I believe we all deserve to do work we love, and finally the evidence is there to show that this isn't unrealistic.
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on 21 March 2016
A very intelligent book. Gets the right balance between succinct and delivering clear and, above all, useful knowledge on motivation. Plenty of practical examples throughout and motivating in its own right. A motivated and engaged team member is worth so much to your company and you and this book lays the ground work and structure to helping companies make the transition. My own company is already part way along this journey but it has been difficult knowing what to do next and how to progress. This book will help as a useful staging post in this journey. Embrace these ideas and you can only move forward!
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on 28 August 2013
Don't be taken in by the cheerful demeanour of this lightweight work, it actually contains some pretty radical thoughts on why we manage people the way we do.
For example, it suggests that we should make rules for the majority of people who behave well, rather than burdening them with bureaucracy in order to cope with the small number of people who cause problems. How many companies do things 'just because that's the way we've always done it', never mind whether this is the best way, or the most productive? Good management means breaking the rules, or abandoning them altogether, if they're not creating productive and happy people.
The suggestion that your focus as a manager should be about making your people happy sounds easy, but how many companies are genuinely doing this? They may think they know what would make you happy, but have they actually asked you?
This isn't about arranging dreadful 'teambuilding' days out, it's about treating staff as your company's greatest asset, understanding their needs and problems, trusting them to get where they need to go without your micro-management, and training and developing them so they continue to want to work for you rather than going elsewhere and helping someone else make money.
If you are wondering whether you're a good boss or not, read this. It made me realise that I am not 'lazy' because I let people do what they're best at, and give people a lot of control over their own workloads. Turns out I'm actually a great manager, and this book has helped show me I could be even better.
Give it a go and see what you could do at your office, it's a mini-revolution!
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on 23 August 2013
This is a great little book - but, as we know, size is not the issue!

With a conversational, easy-to-read narrative, Henry Stewart explains some of the principles, with concrete easy-to-translate examples ways that business managers can create happier, more fulfilling work-places to impact on the bottom line.

For the past 30 years, I have been passionately committed to reducing the health and educational inequalities of children and young people, by supporting the professional development of individuals and improving organizational efficiency. I was initially curious about how a book about creating happy work-places could contribute to my training, coaching and consultancy role. This scepticism lasted almost half-way down the first page!

The book describes what Henry and effective leaders can do to improve staff engagement, motivation and, well, happiness in his, and like-minded businesses. It became immediately clear to me that schools could adopt 99% of the thinking to improve staff morale, effectiveness and engagement - oh and incidentally improve the achievement and life-chances of children and young people.

The Happy Manifesto has changed my perspective on organisational development and the importance of interpersonal relationships in education, between staff, parents and pupils - so much so that I'm now offering training to schools based on these principles.

For those of you not in teaching, it's a great book which will bring a smile to your face as you read it, change the way you work and increase staff effectiveness - now that's got to make someone happy!
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on 22 November 2013
Henry Stewart's "The Happy Manifesto" came at just the right time! I like to think I am an enlightened manager, and I was having some success in applying Joiner's 4th Generation management principles to making my workplace a happier place and my team more productive. I made decisions based on data, reduced systems variation and placed customer feedback and satisfaction at the core of our work, but I was struggling to build "All One Team". The Happy Manifesto was just was what I needed. We implemented a new pre-approval approach to client account management, began a weekly meeting to celebrate (and learn from) our mistakes, shared a lot of management information that had hitherto been treated as my prerogative to know, and, best of all, hired Abby for her attitude and trained her in public health. With new-found freedoms, information and confidence to make the odd mistake, my team just took off! The Health and Nutrition Team was widely known as "The A Team". The Happy Manifesto is a must read for all managers, without it, your people will not reach their potential, or be as happy and productive as they can be, and your business will fail to thrive. Get it, read it, use it.
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