HEAL THE (WORK) WORLD
The FOUNDER of The Langley Group, Sue Langley, INSPIRES workplaces through POSITIVE PSYCHOLOGY PRACTICES (and hard evidence).
the founder of The Langley Group Institute inspires workplaces with mindful strategies
HOW DID YOU DEVELOP THE LANGLEY GROUP?
Back in 1997, I attended a course in London. It wasn’t really emotional intelligence, or positive psychology, yet it was a professional development course, and afterwards I got very clear on my personal purpose, vision and values. Who I was, what I wanted, and how I wanted to live my life. From there, I decided when I emigrated to Australia [from the UK] to set up a business in line with that. What did I consider my purpose to be back then? Exactly the same as it is now: to breathe spirit into the minds of others, to achieve their level of excellence.
WAS IT ALWAYS INTENDED FOR WORKPLACES?
My intent was always the practical application of positive psychology, emotional intelligence and neuroscience. I seem to have a knack for translating science into the everyday. I think of it as “synthesising the stuff ”. I like to take all the research, the academia, and the science, and put it into a real-life, practical application for normal people to use. I like to put the science behind it, yet make it real.
ARE YOU A NATURAL QUESTIONER OR SCEPTIC?
Curiosity is a strength, and I like to explore things. I like to read as much as possible, take in as much as possible, yet the most important thing for me is to make it real and practical. I’ve been in leadership courses where they teach a theoretical four-step model. Yet, if I’m under negative stress, I’m not going to use that four-step model, however fabulous it might be. It’s the same when it comes to nutrition. We all know what we should or shouldn’t eat, yet personally when I’m in a grumpy, miserable mood, pizza is appealing.
WHAT ARE YOUR CLIENTS HOPING TO ACHIEVE?
At the moment, wellbeing is top of a lot of [employers’] agendas, because they realise if they have happy workers who have high levels of wellbeing, they’re more productive. Many organisations are saying, ‘We want innovation as one of our values.’ Yet we need to recognise that, from a neuroscience perspective, if you’re in a stressed, pressurised, overwhelmed space, your brain cannot be innovative.
WHAT ARE THE FIRST STEPS COMPANIES CAN TAKE?
[With one of our clients], we started doing lunch-and-learn sessions, introducing neuroscience, emotional intelligence, gratitude and mindfulness. Then they decided to roll out a wellbeing program because they realised they need to shift their culture. This has now translated into a one day ‘Flourish’ program (including Flourish Bite-size for employees who are out on the road), a two-day Flourishing Managers program, a six-day senior leaders program and an executive leadership residential program all built on the positive strengths-based leadership ethos.
YOU CREATED A DIPLOMA. WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH THAT?
Probably all the government hoops you have to get through. It’s the world’s first 10653NAT Diploma in Positive Psychology and Wellbeing. Yet it’s certainly been worth it. In addition to changing lives and teaching people about positive psychology through the Diploma, the Langley Group Institute has donated approximately $150,000 to charity since its inception, through a particular exercise that the students complete during the course.