If you’ve walked through College Commons during the first week of class, you may have noticed a bulletin board that sits in the corner. The board states, “I am grateful for…”, with numerous note cards posted below. Based on entries from Lorain County Community College staff, some submissions praised the work of colleagues and the administration, while others were thankful for the opportunity to impact the lives of students.
So, where did this idea come from?
Developed during Fall Convocation held on Aug. 20, the project was designed for faculty and staff, posing the question, “What are you thankful for?”.
The idea is based on the “Abundance Model”, a line of research conducted by Dr. Kim Cameron, a professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and co-founder of the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship, according to LCCC’s Interim Vice President Tracy Green.
Cameron has found in his research that positive leadership inspires exceptional outcomes. This approach has been applied to many business models and, as Cameron argues, creates a higher success rate among employees in businesses and organizations.
In his study, Cameron elaborates this point by using a method in which to study the performance of bowlers. In the experiment, people were videotaped as they bowled three games. Half of these subjects were shown video of them knocking down all or most of the pins (spares or strikes), while the other half were shown video where they did not knock down many pins. After a time of practice and applying the videotapes as guides, statistical differences were found between the groups. Those who were shown video of their success were significantly better bowlers than those who were shown video of their failure.
In other words, people learn more productively from success than from failure. In effect, strong leaders create a positive climate.
By conveying energy, empathy, and compassion in the workplace, the Center for Positive Organizational Scholarship reasons that leaders are able to improve the engagement and productivity of their employees and inspire them to strive for excellence.
This idea creates a positive atmosphere not only for LCCC employees, but students as well.
“It fosters a positive mindset,” says Green. “Many of our faculty members have utilized this technique in the classroom.”
At LCCC, the administration is using this practice campus- wide.
“This board was our low-tech way of trying to evoke and create a means of expressing gratitude,” said Green.
When asked what she was grateful for, Green mentioned the Student/Faculty picnic during Welcome Week.
“Seeing the faculty and students come together in that way – there’s just something about a new semester that gives off an energy and a sense of renewal.”