Happiness in the Workplace: Using PxP formula to create healthy teams

The highest priority I am usually hearing from managers in terms of developing their teams is building a high performing culture, creating teams and dynamics with a strong focus on results, and a good track record in deliveries. But could we really build long term success without creating an environment that makes people comfortable and, let’s not be afraid to say it, happy?

Most of us don’t attribute happiness to our work, but on the whole scale of the areas of our life (like family, love life, personal growth, etc.) why do we exclude the work-life? In the previous article, I talked about how we can include our professional lives in the holistic happiness picture. And today I want to talk to the managers and leaders on how we can help our teams on this.

PxP Formula

Today, with constant access to the internet, we can see tons of advice from all kinds of people on how to be happy and enjoy our lives. With Instagram, Facebook, we can see it in pictures, videos, and all kinds of visual proof of how many people live their lives in a happy colorful way.

I’ve seen people feeling content and happy from so many backgrounds and with very different statuses. So I kept thinking – how could we easily describe what happiness is?

Then I found the answer in the book, written by Paul Dolan “Happiness by Design”, where Paul describes a simple formula: Pleasure x Purpose = these are the things which multiplied with each other make us feel Happy. So in everything we do or are engaged with, in each area of our life, when we enjoy what we do and have a sense of purpose, we are likely to feel great!

So how does it help us in managing teams?..

PxP formula in managing teams

Goal setting. Company goals.

Let’s start right here. Goals setting is obviously related to one of the Ps in the formula – Purpose! Our teams need to know the purpose and the goal of all those activities they call to be their job.

Some people might join the company for money or other comfort-zone attributes, but even then we are much more involved, engaged, and happy when we working to create something meaningful.

Let’s think. Different businesses can have different goals. Even more to that, the business goal comes from the personal goal and ambition of the company owner. I remember very different types of “high-level” goals from the last few companies I was working in:

  • 🎯 Create a meaningful product that makes people’s lives easier and better.
  • 🎯 Create a successful business, attractive for purchase.
  • 🎯 Get local talented artists to the big scene by providing them help in production.
  • 🎯 Create a local “Amazon”.

I have to be honest, not all the “real” goals I heard from the very beginning of the interview stage. And the disconnect between the real goal and the one which was announced to me neither made me most successful in my job, neither happy at my job.

Here is an example. Once I joined a very promising tech startup to build up the core team, work alongside the founding team to shape the base for the corporate culture and a long-term people strategy. I liked the goal, I lived this goal and it made me engaged and invested in what I came to do. With the first months, I started getting a feeling that what I am about to build is not received by the founding team with the same investment and excitement. Very soon afterward I managed to figure out the “real goal” they had – prepare the company for sale within a year or two.

So goals that were announced and the real goals were very not the same, and both needed very different set of activities. If I would know the real goal from the beginning, I would build my strategy and processes in a totally different way. I would set my focus on other things and get results faster. And of course, I would me more satisfied with myself.

The other possible scenario – I might not join the team in the first place. That’s why hiring is the next important topic in this post.


We won’t talk about the whole range of essential “to do list” during the hiring process, but about how to hire people who would be engaged and happy to work in your team.

According to the Pleasure x Purpose formula, we have to figure out what is that our candidates really enjoy doing and which purpose will really drive them.

❇️ Pleasure.

We want our people to enjoy what they do!

  1. We want to ask our candidates what did they enjoy the most in their previous jobs. 
  2. What drives our candidates the most to get great results in the role they applied to.
  3. When our candidates could choose any part of the project or activities, what are they drawn to the most?
  4. We also want to know the areas, which our candidates percept as a routine and boring job for them. And think whether those are part of the functions we want them to do.
  5. We want to know what our candidates do in their spare time, what are their hobbies, etc. Because those activities are something they really enjoy doing when no one pays them for investing the time in it. And when at least a part of the job and functions is related to those interests, we can be much more sure that our candidate will get the pleasure to work with us.

❇️ Purpose.

There is a purpose for the role. Those are the business goals and how exactly this role contributes to the business goals.

There is a purpose, which drives our candidate. And it is crucial to figure it out during the interview.

  1. Why does our candidate look for a job now? What drives them? Money, career growth, comfort zone, better status?
  2. Does the role in our team offer them to fulfill their purpose?

To match these two we both have to be radically honest – the hiring manager about the business goal (even if the company prepares for the acquisition), and the candidate – about their personal purpose.

One on ones

In addition to the regular set of questions you raise in one on ones with the team, I offer you to put additional attention to 2 questions:

  1. Does everyone on your team still enjoy what they do? Ask about it constantly, at least once per quarter. Because things change, you know.
  2. Do they see the purpose of their job in the company? As simple as this. “Do you feel the purpose of your job is being fulfilled? What is the purpose, how do you feel it?”


I think that the most powerful tool for organizational and team development is feedback. And the feedback from our team is not less important than the feedback from the market and our customers.

There are different ways to collect feedback, which is developmental and impactful:

  1. Engagement surveys. Team Pulse. Team Health Checks.
  2. 360 feedback. Peer to Peer feedback.
  3. Performance and Progress reviews.
  4. Ad-hoc feedback sessions. The best of a kind! It’s when you just ask the other person in the room to give you feedback on how you just gave a presentation, how did you do in this interview, what could be improved in how you communicate, etc.

As a manager, you might benefit from a regular feedback from your team members. Let’s say once in 6-12 months you can send a small anonymous survey to your team members and ask them to give you feedback on your leadership skills. Why would you do this? Because this is a powerful knowledge for your personal development and it makes your team closer to you.

When you do this, don’t forget to ask a few things:

  1. As your manager do you feel I assign the right task/projects for you? Projects that fit your skills and your interest best?
  2. As a manager, do I give you a clear direction and goals?
  3. Do you feel comfortable to give me your feedback and share your thoughts and ideas with me? (this might not be directly related to the PxP formula, but is you don’t have trusting relationships with your team, you won’t be able to know what is really happening and how to change things for better).


🌿 When I care that everyone on my team is happy, I would be honest! I would say to my team something like: “I want to help you be fulfilled at the workplace. This is the area I can impact and I want to make sure I create the right opportunities for you to be happy here”.

🌿 I would share the concept of Pleasure x Purpose and ask my team to be honest with me when some of these elements are missing or getting lost.

🌿 Everyone has the right to have their feeling of what pleasure is and which purpose makes them fulfilled and engaged. And while we might not be able to create the best conditions for all the people on our team, we can make sure we care about them, accept everyone’s right to having their own happiness-compass, and try to give them Pleasure and Purpose in their work.

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