Organization Development Network of Western New York

Positive Psychology Implications for Organization Development–Organization Development Network (ODN) of WNY February 2014

Posted in Meeting Notes, ODN of WNY Members, Organizational Development, Programs by Michael Cardus on January 22, 2014

Organization Development Network (ODN) of WNY

January 2014 Meeting Announcement

Positive Psychology implications for Organization Development

Presenter: Nancy Lynch

Friday, February 14 from 8:30 am to 11:30 am (8:30 am to 9:00 am – networking; 9:00 am to 11:30 am – meeting)

Canisius Center for Professional Development 300 Corporate Parkway, Suite 130, Amherst, NY 14226


Meeting Overview:

Positive Psychology implications for Organization Development

In the past decade or so, there has been an explosion of research, books and courses on positive psychology,  happiness (from Harvard of all places), and positive approaches to leadership, culture and change management. There is evidence that being in a positive frame of mind can improve cognitive ability, creativity, energy and performance. Too much negativity tends to drain energy and confidence, and makes it harder to see alternative solutions to problems. Positive approaches can help generate the focused energy needed to make changes and improve organizational performance.

Despite the advantages, positive thinking is difficult to maintain using will power alone. Human beings have a built-in negativity bias. Our brains are hard-wired to be alert to threats, so that we can avoid danger. We remember negative feedback and mistakes far longer than positive feedback and success; we pay more attention to flaws in job candidates than strengths; and negative attitudes are more contagious than positive attitudes. If we want to counteract this bias, we need to develop tools, habits, systems and support to make it easier to generate the positivity we need.

In this session, we will explore a variety of ways that positive psychology has influenced organization practices, and discuss how to apply these techniques to our own work.

Examples include: Strength-based management, appreciative inquiry, emotional intelligence, positive leadership and coaching, happiness training, culture programs, stress management, positive deviance, and positive energy networks.

We’ll also discuss “The Happiness Advantage,” leadership behaviors that promote happiness and well-being (energizers versus de-energizers, power of appreciation), and the business case for happiness. In honor of Valentine’s Day (if time allows) we’ll discuss the 5 languages of love and how you can show appreciation to the people in your life.

Some questions to think about:

  1. What can we do to counteract the negativity bias that appears to be hard-wired into human beings?
  2. What can leaders do to energize others to work toward positive change? (Are you an energizer or a de-energizer?)
  3. How do some organizations maintain a positive culture with high engagement, while others are mired in negativity?
  4. What is one area of your work or life that could benefit the most from positivity?



Nancy G. Lynch – Lynch-Pin Consulting – Canisius College

Nancy has more than 20 years’ experience in organization development, human resources, and leadership development. She provides consulting, training and coaching services in a variety of areas such as leadership development, culture, performance management, engagement, emotional intelligence, harassment, communication, conflict, and facilitation. Her mission is to help leaders to develop healthy high performance organizations that bring out the best in people.

She also teaches MBA courses in Leadership, HR, Organizational Behavior, and Organization Change and Development. Her education includes degrees in Psychology, Human Resource Management and Organization Development.


Location Notes:

The Canisius Center for Professional Development is located in Amherst, NY. Directions: Take the 290 expressway, and exit on Millersport Highway going north. At the first light (by the Marriott), make a left onto Flint Road. Make a left turn on to Maple Road. At the next signal, make a left turn on to Corporate Parkway. At the stop sign, turn right. The building is on your left side. The parking lot (no charge) is on your right. Complimentary coffee is available.


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  1. […] is a follow-up to the February 2014 session on Positive Psychology implications for Organization Development. This session will review a set of positive practices […]

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