Sir Richard – thank you for making me happy!

Richard Branson
Founder at Virgin Group

If anyone knows the secret of success it must be Richard Branson– one of the most famous entrepreneurs of our times. How does he measure success? With one single word: happiness.

With 1,019 comments, 725 tweets, 2,619 likes at the last count, his latest LinkedIn posting has caused a stir. He has ascribed his success to his ability not with a balance sheet, but with people. In summary, if his people are happy, says Branson, he’s being successful.

And I couldn’t agree more with him.

Three years ago, I was enjoying a pretty successful run with a learning technologies company I’d founded a few years earlier when I asked myself, “What can I do to spread all that was good about my work comrades? What’s the one ingredient that will contribute most to being innovative, driven and always aim to win?”. In a margarita-infused moment, I found my answer: happiness. My currency for success would be happiness. I became a new man with a new mission: to attract and retain the smartest, most creative and contagiously driven people, and assure their peak performance by making sure they were happy. I added the title of Chief Happiness Officer and never looked back.

Ara Ohanian
CEO & Chief Happiness Officer

Since then we’ve succeeded against impossible odds. Our products improved, our offices became a great place to be, our people became more confident, with an unstoppable streak of success. Within six months we released our best product ever, our rating with analysts changed from “niche” to “visionary”, and our new business acquisition rate took a hockey stick turn. We had turned our fledgling enterprise into global success with operations in New York, Brussels, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Abu Dhabi and Johannesburg.

Who would have thought one little word would prove so powerful?

My view is that great people are not looking to be led. They want to become part of the leading. Keep smart, ambitious, creative and exceptional performers happy and they will surprise you. So, try infusing more happiness into business and see how it changes business performance.

Thank you,
Ara Ohanian
Chief Happiness Officer & CEO, CERTPOINT Systems

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