Jane Dutton is a faculty member at the Ross School of Business and a co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizations (CPO). I’ve been preparing to visit Jane’s class, “Flourishing at Work and Beyond: Foundations of Positive Organizational Scholarship,” and I continue to find value in the thought leadership and frameworks coming from the Ross and CPO faculty.
I believe Dr. Dutton’s The Flourishing Triangle helps explain why remote work is grinding us down.
The Flourishing Triangle
In this short video, Jane describes The Flourishing Triangle as a framework for thinking about three different conditions that contribute to human and collective thriving.
The conditions include:
- Positive Emotions: Subjective, pleasant feelings like joy, gratitude, serenity, pride, or awe.
- Positive Connections: How we interrelate with one another and engage in moments of interactions (that can be small) in which we feel deeply alive. These interactions can create feelings of vitality, positive regard, and mutuality.
- Positive Meanings: How we interpret our world (ourselves, other people, groups, communities). We can feel a positive impact if we interpret these things with a sense of value, worth, or significance.>
As we move forward and away from two years of the covid pandemic and remote work, I continue to hear people share their experiences of fatigue and an absence of flourishing.
The Power of Positive Connections
I believe positive connections feed both positive emotions and positive meaning in our relationships with others and groups. Remote work is kryptonite for positive connections.
Jane has written that small interactions mean more than we know. In a remote work world, there are no unintentional conversations. Positive connections and small, uplifting interactions are limited in both their frequency and reach. I believe the lack of reach is harmful because positive connections are no longer flowing between spheres of concern, influence, and power. This means organizations are getting more fractured, trust is eroding, and we are getting more socially isolated and individually focused.
The Flourishing Triangle helps explain the fatigue of remote work, but more importantly, it also gives us a framework for persevering.
Choosing How To Engage
It’s likely that 2022 will bring continued change and adaptation. Many forces are out of our control or influence. But we can choose how we tune ourselves and engage with others. We can demonstrate hope, compassion, and positivity in our daily interactions.
I hope Omicron is the beginning of the end of the pandemic, and I hope we start transitioning to a new normal of living with covid and to more in-person work. During this time, I’m considering how to activate the three conditions of The Flourishing Triangle daily:
- Positive Emotions: How am I tuning my own emotional weather? How can I bring positivity, a non-anxious presence, and a constructive mindset to every interaction?
- Positive Connections: How am I making space to authentically connect with others? How am I going to be present and give the gift of my full attention? How can I engage with hope, compassion, and positivity?
- Positive Meanings: How do I remind myself and others of the value and significance of strong, trusting relationships and what we can do together?
How might you activate The Flourishing Triangle in the coming year? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments below or on social media.
- The Flourishing Triangle: Why Remote Work is Kryptonite for Positive Connections - July 25, 2022
- Pack Your Higher Purpose for the Long Haul - July 6, 2022
- Return To Office – A Time for Context-Based Leadership - May 16, 2022
- Resilience Doesn’t Come From Being Resilient - August 11, 2021
- Pursuing Social Excellence through Co-located Work - May 10, 2021