Because the CEO of groundbreaking online retailer Zappos, Tony Hsieh worked hard to provide happiness to everyone around him. Zappos’ call-center employees for instance were famously encouraged to connect to customers in joyful and quirky conversations that resulted in genuine human connections. He ensured that entry-level employees were paid above minimum wage, built an office culture where partying was typical, and also wrote a fresh York Times bestselling book, Delivering Happiness: A Way to Profits, Passion and Purpose, which became a bible for entrepreneurs on an identical seek out deeper meaning running a business.
But his death in 2020, at 46,revealed a darker side to his life, one marred by untreated mental health insurance and addiction issues. Inside our book, Happy no matter what: THE BRAND NEW Vision and Fatal Quest of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, we explore the paradoxical aftereffect of concentrating on happiness as a small business metric. Our research demonstrates the elusive seek out more joy can make people less happy and lonelier–that a great, joyful environment doesn’t invariably build inner peace and improve mental health. Just what exactly else can a CEO do to make a better environment for his or her employees?
Surround yourself together with your most trusted friends
Hsieh himself acknowledged that folks are bad at predicting exactly what will make sure they are happy, nonetheless it was nonetheless his brand–one that drew visitors to him. He generously invested time and money into his friends’ and acquaintances’ businesses and dreams. Invest your time and effort in building and maintaining friendships with individuals who challenge you, instead of placate you. Seek meaningful bonds with those friends. Hsieh often skipped the tiny talk and asked friends and acquaintances, “what would it not take to achieve your full potential?”to jump into deeper, sometimes life-changing conversations.
Stay within your leadership
Being in the now–through meditation and greater knowing of each moment–isn’t a fresh concept, but Tony Hsieh had trouble putting it on to his entrepreneurial life sometimes. Like so many creative business thinkers, Hsieh endlessly pursued another great business evolution: bringing retail online, creating a profitable company centered on workplace happiness, implementing Holacracy to provide workers autonomy.
But he often dismissed his failures and shifted to another big idea, to their own detriment. Each day, consider what you value about your organization, as well as your life, since it is at this time. So how exactly does that prepare you for the next failure, as well as the overwhelming life changes of an enormous success?
Be skeptical of Silicon Valley’s easy solutions
Hsieh constantly read self-improvement books — from pop psychology to theories about how exactly to work faster and better–and considered biohacking so that they can improve himself. But Hsieh, like all humans, couldn’t be reduced to a formula, and his struggles with mental health insurance and addiction only worsened over time, because the pressures to be the first choice of a billion-dollar company mounted.
Hsieh’s life shows just what a profound impact a CEO might have on those around him. As leaders, it is important to lead from the very best. Rather than easy solutions, focus instead on measures that enable you to get professional and personal satisfaction, like commitment, courage or loyalty. When things get difficult, seek outside help from mental medical researchers using evidence-based treatments. It’s your task to produce a thoughtful workplace that encourages open and honest dialogue about mental health.
From the September 2022 problem of Inc. Magazine