A Primer on Serious Introductions

Getting Started

(While I focused this article on using serious introductions at work, the information below applies in a host of settings. I often use serious introductions in my classes, following the lead of my advisor, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi)

Troubleshooting

Challenge: We don’t have time to do this!

Using Serious Introductions at Work

Many managers complain that employees just do exactly what they are told without going any extra miles or taking initiative. From the employee’s perspective, the work is a drudge and (s)he does not feel any reason or obligation to put any unnecessary thought, creativity, or personality into the project. (S)he does not see the task as “my work” — there is no ownership of the project, no buy-in to its aims, and nothing but the sagging weight of bureaucratically-imposed demands. In short, employees feel demoralized, and unimportant, which can lead to increased absenteeism and turnover in companies. At the same time, managers feel shortchanged and stymied, and are frustrated by employees’ lack of motivation and effort.

Credits

Drs. Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson developed and publicized the idea of serious introductions, and I was introduced to them by Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

Materials

Seligman, M.E.P. (2004). Can happiness be taught? Daedalus, 133(2), 80–87.

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Self-actualization engineer who makes workplaces great places to work. PI at Quality of Life Lab (www.qllab.org). Consultant. Professor. Startup Advisor.

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Orin Davis

Orin Davis

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Self-actualization engineer who makes workplaces great places to work. PI at Quality of Life Lab (www.qllab.org). Consultant. Professor. Startup Advisor.