Positive Core and Strengths for Technical Professionals

Many people are unhappy at work. They feel under-appreciated and overworked. They do not regularly use their strengths. In fact, many people don't really know what their strengths are. They often believe there is nothing they can do to make things better.

It does not have to be this way. The field of Positive Psychology suggests simple behavior changes that individuals can use to make the workplace more engaging. They don't have to wait for people in power to make changes. With practice, these changes can become habitual. People also find them beneficial at home with the family.

Kathryn Britton presents an approach developed with several teams in a large multi-national information technology corporation. The approach starts with group discussions of questions such as: What gives life to your organization at its best? What do you most value about your organization and about yourself at work? What dreams do you have for its future vitality? Out of these questions comes a picture of the group's positive core.

Starting from this often surprising view of personal and group strength, a group can figure out how to apply a set of empirically validated positive interventions, including intentionally increasing positive emotion, establishing conditions that make it easier for people to become highly absorbed in their work, increasing resilience to setbacks through positive reframing, maintaining high-quality connections, and responding effectively to good outcomes with capitalization and process praise.

Groups often regain a sense of control by applying these interventions. Kathryn describes the interventions briefly, illustrating them with stories from personal experiences helping people in a technical corporation put them into practice. Come and discover your positive core and strengths.

Featured Speakers

Kathryn Britton spent nearly 30 years climbing the technical career ladder at the Navy and IBM. She was a Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM when she retired from the company in June 2007. She has many years experience mentoring professionals, mostly women, and she served on the program committee for the IBM North Carolina Women in Technology (NC-WIT) conference for the last 5 years.

In 2005, while still working at IBM, Kathryn was part of the first class of the Master of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. A lot has been discovered in the field of positive psychology in the last 15 years about what makes people flourish -- focusing on strengths, gratitude, resilience techniques, self-efficacy, goal setting, optimism, and so on. The MAPP program was started to transfer some of these ideas into active practice in a variety of fields. Kathryn was one of 3 professional engineers in the first year of the program.

During her last 9 months at IBM, Kathryn Britton worked with several groups to put these ideas into practice. She also spoke to several groups about the relevance of positive psychology ideas to a technical workplace.


Schedule of Events

6:15-7:10 Registration, Networking and Dinner*
7:15-7:45 Speaker
7:45-8:00- Questions and Answers
8:15-8:30 Session Evaluation and Raffle
8:30 Adjourn

(* Dinner included in registration fee).