Recognise This! – Sometimes, perfect illustrations for a blog post come too late.

Fellow bloggers, have you ever written on a topic only to come across two days later a very interesting piece that would have been a terrific complement to your original post?

While this, of course, has happened to me before, just last week I had two posts I wish I had elaborated on further. So I’m taking the opportunity of this post to expand further.

Global Mergers and Acquisitions * Top Challenges for HR

Mercer’s research on M&A in 2012 revealed interesting points on what HR needs to support M&A change actions most effectively. Top needs were better executive direction and better project management, especially in departments that didn’t meet leadership requirements for HR support during the M&A process. This is unsurprising as goals for M&A can be a moving target as the integration moves forward, but acknowledging these needs up front can help HR leaders plan for better serving their constituents throughout the entire M&A process.

Also unsurprisingly all global regions reported “change management” and “business/culture integration” as the top two people issues receiving insufficient leadership attention in M&A. As I wrote in my M&A post last week, the importance of integrating cultures cannot be ignored. This is the biggest fear for employees: “How will my workplace experience change in the new, merged organisation?” Managing expectations around this (change management) is critical. (See my earlier post on how to do that.)

Changing the Formula for Success: Rewiring the Brain for Positivity and Happiness

Also last week I shared a TedX video from Shawn Achor on “The Happiness Advantage.” In the video, Shawn discusses that the brain, when in a positive frame of mind (pardon the pun), is 31% more productive than when it is in a negative, neutral or stressed state. The good news is, it’s possible to retrain the brain for positivity and happiness. Shawn shares several tips for how to rewire the brain, including focusing on gratitude.

Again, after I published this post, I read a terrific post by Alexander Kjerulf on his Chief Happiness Officer blog about how to focus on gratitude. Alexander suggests:

Sometimes the simplest things work the best, and this week’s happiness tips is one of the simplest we know:

Before you leave work, make a list of 3 things that made you happy at work today. It can be big things or small things, that doesn’t matter, just list 3 things that you enjoyed about work today.

It could be things like:

  • We closed a big sale with a new client, that felt great
  • A co-worker told me how much he appreciates working with me
  • I had a great time at lunch with my team – everyone was laughing

We  suggest making this list daily for a week and then switching to doing it only every Friday, where you list 3 things that made you happy that week. A study showed that making the list weekly rather than daily actually works better – possibly because you don’t tire of it as quickly.

This is one practice that seems almost too simple to work, but one study showed that if you do this for two weeks, you will be measurably happier for 3 months afterwards.

This matters because, pointing back to Shawn Achor’s research, someone who is measurably happier is also more productive and effective at work. Switch your focus from solely what still needs to be done, to what has been accomplished and celebrate those successes.