The happiest of countries report that nearly a third of their employees have low levels of job satisfaction and employee engagement (some even saying it’s actually closer to two-thirds), the question of creating ease, joy and happiness in business is still relevant.

There is a very real connection between happy workforces and organizational innovation and success, so it makes sense that creating ease and joy in business goes hand in hand with pursuing an open, creative mindset and business environment for all.

Simple, high-quality questions can encourage creative ways of thinking across the business. Used consistently, these questions can dynamically change the ease, joy and innovation quotient in all levels of an organization:

What am I grateful for today?

Nothing creates a stagnant business faster than fixating on what is wrong. Every judgement, conclusion, and assumption you have in your business kills happiness and creativity. If limitations and problems are preoccupying you, start shifting your mindset with gratitude. What can you be grateful for now, in this moment, when it comes to your job and the business? Gratitude breaks down judgment and allows you to adopt a more open and creative outlook. When you acknowledge what there is to be grateful for in the present, you rapidly become better placed to see what can be created and accomplished in the future.

If today was a clean slate, what would I choose?

People disengage when there is a sense of monotony or boredom in their job. When you come to work assuming today will be the same as yesterday, you give yourself no other option other than to continually re-create the past. When you clear the slate daily, you stop forcing yourself into a mindset based on predictability and sameness. You become present with what can be different today and actively become open to new opportunities.

What else is possible I/we haven’t considered?

This is your “get out of jail free” question. Any time you are stuck in a project, meeting, or way forward, it usually means you have come to some conclusion or are getting problem-focused rather than innovation-focused. Apply this questioning in those moments, or any situation where you want to re-ignite innovative thinking.

Business, what do you require of me today?

Do you let your business, project, product or service be your partner, or do you think you have to figure it all out by yourself? Asking the business a direct question may seem odd at first, but the genius of it is it takes you outside your usual sphere of reference, putting aside any unconscious limitations you might be functioning from and giving you a completely different angle from which to open up to new ideas and solutions. By going outside your usual parameters, you can receive new information and concepts you would not have previously been able to consider.

You can also ask a question like: “Business, what would you like to be like in 5 – 10 years from now?” to tap into the future strategic opportunities for business growth.

Write down all the ideas that come up and keep them easily accessible. Check in with your ideas periodically and ask – is this is idea for now or later? Those ideas for now, ask, “Who or what can we add to implement this idea?” With ideas for later, ask, “What can be implemented now so that this comes to fruition in the future?”

Who or what can I add to the business?

Every person in the business has different knowledge and insights due to their unique position – are you utilizing and encouraging that potential? Creating a forum for every level of the organization to voice what they know and bring their ideas to the table has the double bonus of authentically engaging everyone in the business as well as tapping into information, resources and ideas for the business you would not otherwise be able to access. Who and what do they know that could add to the business?

If this was not a problem, what possibility or opportunity would it be?

Avoiding the hamster wheel of negativity, complaints and toxic office politics is a concern for many organizations, but what if it takes just one question to refocus a problem into a new possibility? When trapped in problems or complaints, ask this question to open the door for a more generative conversation.

The questions we are willing to ask in business can have game-changing effects. Integrating questions into daily business practices and engaging organizations and employees to prioritize possibilities and innovation over problems is not just great for business innovation – it’s also a lot more joyful for everyone!

Sources for reports / statistics:


Date: June 27, 2017

“The United States, Germany and the Netherlands have the happiest employees ranking 71.8, 71.2 and 69.9, respectively, on a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the happiest while the countries with the lowest levels are France (63.8), Belgium (65.2) and the United Kingdom (67.2).

Top drivers of staff satisfaction vary by country with the highest-ranking factors in the USA, UK and Canada being pride in one’s organization, feeling appreciated and being treated with fairness and respect.

Phil Sheridan, managing director at recruitment consultancy Robert Half, which commissioned the poll, said: ‘Employee happiness is closely connected to organizational productivity and innovation.’ “

Only 1/3 of the workforce is engaged and happy in their jobs.


  • Laleh Alemzadeh Hancock

    Chief Possibilities Officer, Business Wellness Guru, Management and Professional Services Consultant, Executive Coach, Facilitator, Entrepreneur


    Laleh Alemzadeh-Hancock is a leadership and entrepreneurial coach, professional services consultant, personal wellness mentor, and founder and CEO of global professional services company, Belapemo. Laleh boasts 30 years’ experience in operational excellence, change management and business consulting, and has inspired and empowered thousands of individuals including Fortune 500 executives, government agencies, non-profit organizations, athletes and veterans. A highly respected executive and leadership coach, Laleh has a particular interest in supporting and encouraging the leadership capabilities of women – in business, in the workplace, at home and in the wider community. She is featured alongside luminaries such as Oprah Winfrey, Melinda Gates, and Ginni Rometty in the 2019 publication, America’s Leading Ladies: Stories of courage, challenge and triumph. Follow Laleh.