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Bright Buys, Big City: The Vision Expo East Shopping Guide

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INVISION presents the market’s hottest products (and some
up-and-comers) to help you buy right at the big show in New York.

As the largest optical trade show in North America, in the most populated city in the U.S., it’s understandable that visitors might need a few insider tips on what to look for, and where, at Vision Expo East. That’s what were we come in. We’ve done all the hard work for you. We’ve identified the trends you must have, the ones on the rise and a few ways to increase your incremental sales. And thrown in where to find it all for good measure. Often called the Center of the Universe, The Big Apple is the perfect place to get a little lost. But don’t actually waste your time figuring out where to go. Get in, get out, and then go spend some time on the Cronut line or trying to track down tickets to Hamilton.

Story By Deirdre Carroll

with additional reporting by Carol GilhawleY

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Forget metal, acetate and injectable plastics, frames made
of wood, stone, leather, embedded flora, and a slew of other
alternative materials, will set apart of a number of frame
collections at Vision Expo. Innovative techniques, specialty
handling and artisans working at the peak of their craft are
all to thank for this latest crop of frames and sunglasses
that are as much artwork as eyewear.

Minotaure sunglasses from Lucas de Stael

Lucas de Stael

BOOTH: G6062

The brand new Minotaure sunglasses collection from Lucas de Stael features two genuine cow leather finishes — raw and smooth. The two leathers are adhered to the stainless steel frames for a look that is both viscerally primal and slickly modern.

+33 (0) 1 43 55 76 01 | lucasdestael.com

$950

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Rain eyeglasses from David Green

David Green

BOOTH: G5582

Designer David Green’s mission is to bring nature to the cities of the world by incorporating real leaves and reeds in his frames. No two pieces are the same and are as unique as the materials found in nature. With the Rain ophthalmic style he’s made the best part of Autumn — the foliage — available all year round.

+27 (0) 86 111 4852 | greeneyewear.com

$280


Bella sunglasses from Woodone

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WooDone

BOOTH: G6159

WooDone eyewear is handcrafted by South Tyrolean artisans from a single piece of wood with a lacquer finish. This season, the company introduces three new styles in the Sun collection, one the women’s Bella, featuring soft, feminine lines.

+39 (0) 472 613 612 | woodone.it

$460


Canby Stone sunglasses from Shwood Eyewear

Shwood Eyewear

BOOTH: G5960

The Canby Stone in white slate from Shwood Eyewear would seem downright prehistoric if it weren’t so darn sexy. An aircraft birchwood core is fused with a thin natural stone overlay and finished with polarized optics by Carl Zeiss lenses.

(503) 893-4277 | shwoodshop.com

$350


Exposure to harmful blue light is now known to contribute to eye strain, sleep disruption and vision loss caused by macular degeneration. Handheld mobile devices and energy-efficient light bulbs mean we regularly interact with three main sources: sunlight, electronic screens and fluorescent lighting. The most harmful bands of visible light fall in the 415-455 nanometer blue vviolet color range. Lenses that block this range are gaining acceptance as electronic device use grows, and lens manufacturers have taken note.

Essilor

BOOTH: LP7434

Eyezen+ from Essilor of America.
(800) 542-5668 | essilorusa.com

HOYA

BOOTH: LP7202

Sensity light reactive lenses from HOYA.
(877) 528-1939 | hoyavision.com

EGMA

Eyeonx clearx-shield blue blocker from EGMA.

(972) 488-3462 | egmallc.com

Luzerne Optical

BOOTH: MS6754

TheraBlue from Luzerne Optical.
(800) 233-9637 | luzerneoptical.com


The chicest of people may wear a lot of black, but that doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate color. A strategically placed pop of color makes a bold statement and striking combinations, be it brights paired with other brights or vivid hues coupled with more wearable neutrals, are where it’s at in the latest eyewear styles too.

VES332 glasses from Escada

Escada

BOOTH: 5142

The Escada optical frame VES332 is a beautiful acetate piece that delivers fashion-forward color-blocking details thanks to its spring-like raspberry colored brow bar and classic black bottom.

(877) 606-7852 | derigovision.com

$220


Canarsie glasses from Colors in Optics

Colors in Optics

BOOTHS: 3852 and G5452

The Lights collection by Colors in Optics blends retro styles with exciting color combinations and hue expressions and names all the styles after parts of Brooklyn. The Canarsie (C1035) features a vibrant pink front and oatmeal temples.

(866) 393-3374 | colorsinoptics.com

$185


gx by Gwen Stefani GX017 glasses

gx by Gwen Stefani

BOOTH: 4608

Gwen Stefani is a colorful individual; her frame collections would be no different. The gx by Gwen Stefani GX017 from Tura features a statement-making deep shape in a bright teal blue ombré (shown) or raspberry purple combination.

(800) 242-8872 (TURA) | tura.com

$149


Leone sunglasses from Res Rei

Res Rei

BOOTH: G6178

Res Rei means “the thing” in Latin and is a nod to the brand’s Italian heritage. Working only with Italian suppliers and manufacturers, including Mazzucchelli acetate, the Leone sunglasses in blue and purple elevates the concept of what a “thing” can be.

39 (0) 42 241 2246 | resrei.com

$330


Frames that offer minimal panto, little
panoramic angle and flat lenses are on the rise thanks
to advancements in digital lens processing. Feeling fresh and looking fine, flat frames are not only in fashion but have the added boon of guaranteeing a premium lens sale. Metal, plastic, round or rectangle, even the most classic
of shapes looks updated when made completely flat.

Madeleine sunglasses from Mykita

Mykita

BOOTH: G6052

At first glance, the perfectly round Madeleine from Mykita / Damir Doma appears to consist of two frames, but a closer look reveals the trompe l’oeil construction made possible by its perfectly flat design. Made of one piece, the frame is folded in half for a result that is distinctive, highlighting two delicate circular lenses hovering over solid round rims.

(973) 669-0063 | mykita.com

$672


Piercing sunglasses from Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen

Alexander McQueen can always be counted on for setting a trend and super flat eyewear is no different. The AM0001S, also known as the Piercing style, from Kering Eyewear, is a totally flat acetate frame with nylon lenses and a metal bar pierced all the way through the brow capped with spikes.

(844) 790-9165 | alexandermcqueen.com

$430


GS600S sunglasses from G-Star Raw

G-Star Raw

BOOTH: 4652

The G-Star Raw GS600S from Marchon is a strongly masculine, square-shape frame with geometric lines and straight-cut mirror lenses. The two-tone temples, exposed screws and cut-out temple tips are inspired by the industrial spirit of the brand.

(800) 645-1300 | marchon.com

$195


PLD D200 sunglasses from Polaroid

Polaroid

BOOTH: 3548

The Polaroid PLD D200 from Safilo, part of the brand’s newly launched optical collection, is a softly rounded and ultra-lightweight stainless steel frame with a modern design for a fresh, contemporary look. A unisex style with a 2-base front is available in matte black, red, blue and purple.

(800) 631-1188 | safilo.com

$98


Over the past two years, lens finishing technology and equipment has improved enormously. Edgers have become
increasingly intuitive and user-friendly. ECPs who want to control their own costs and separate themselves from online retailers can now offer patients something different with a fast turnaround time. Some of the latest edgers include a milling feature to allow ECPs to offer custom rimless designs. Others are pre-programmed to quickly add Chemistrie magnetic lenses. AIT and Briot’s
edgers even incorporate lensometry into the blocking process by using an innovative Wavefront Power-Mapping technique. Though the price of edgers has remained steady, manufacturers now offer value-added options in more compact models.

WECO E.6 Patternless Edger from AIT Industries

AIT Industries

BOOTH: MS7140

WECO E.6 Patternless Edger from AIT Industries.

(800) 729-1959 | aitindustries.com

Price on request


HPE-810 Patternless Edger from Coburn Technologies

Coburn Technologies

BOOTHS: LP7254 and LP7354

HPE-810 Patternless Edger from Coburn Technologies.

(800) COBURN-1 | coburntechnologies.com

Price on request


L EzFit from MEI System

MEI System

BOOTH: LP7173

L EzFit from MEI System.

(630) 521-8588 | meisystem.com

$55,000-$75,000

(for standard to advanced version with Shape Finder 2.0)


Delta2 from Essilor Instruments USA

Essilor Instruments USA

BOOTH: LP7234

Delta2 from Essilor Instruments USA.

(855) 393-4647 | essilorinstrumentsusa.com

Price on request


Attitude from Briot USA

Briot USA

BOOTH: LP7244

Attitude from Briot USA.

(800) 292-7468 | briotusa.com

Price on request


LE-1200 from Santinelli International

Santinelli International

BOOTH: LP7420

LE-1200 from Santinelli International.

(800) 644-3343 | santinelli.com

Price on request


Impaired vision can have far more negative implications for children if not corrected when it comes to the how they learn and navigate the world around them. Their vision needs are more specific, and shrunken down versions of adult frames aren’t going to cut it anymore. Glasses that take into account the different faciocranial structure of little ones’ heads and can take the wear and tear they dole out are becoming increasingly appealing to their parents (ahem, your paying customers).

Munchkin kids' frames from Dilli Dalli

Dilli Dalli

BOOTH: 4520

The Dilli Dalli collection from ClearVision Optical features IntelliFlex hinges, which flex vertically and horizontally. Each style accommodates multi-focal lenses in a frame with a lower bridge and nose pads. The metal Munchkin (shown) offers a silicone Unifit bridge and European cable tips.

(800) 645-3733 | cvoptical.com

$149.97


SA 0003 kids' frames from Kids by Safilo

Kids by Safilo

BOOTH: 3548

Designed for 0-8 year-olds, the Kids by Safilo line offers lightweight, stable styles with a lower bridge and lenses that cover the child’s entire field of vision. Like all styles in the collection, the SA 0003 from Safilo USA, is made from non-toxic, non-allergenic materials and shockproof hinges. Munchkin (shown) offers a silicone Unifit bridge and European cable tips.

(800) 631-1188 | safilo.com

$120


ZB 1010 kids' frames from Zoobug

Zoobug

BOOTH: 5342

The Zoobug model ZB 1010, part of the TR90 Ultralight Everyday Range launching at Vision Expo from Mondottica USA, features a lightweight construction in a classic round retro shape. Offered as a unisex style, technical features include adjustable rubber tips and adjustable silicone nose pads with no metal parts. SA 0003 from Safilo USA, is made from non-toxic, non-allergenic materials and shockproof hinges.

(866) 666-3662 | mondotticausa.com

$149


New Baby kids frames from Miraflex

Miraflex

BOOTH: 3309

Miraflex’s signature flexible Italian-made frames have no metal parts and are BPA-free, rubber-free, latex-free and hypoallergenic. They also offer an anatomically designed bridge that eliminates the need for nose pads. The New Baby frame (shown) comes in four sizes.

(866) 647-2359 | miraflexglasses.net

$100


Thanks to an increasing number of options that allow the ECP to customize a frame, every patient
can leave looking like no one else out there. Have you ever looked at a frame and thought “this would be perfect, if only…”
Well, wonder no more. A millimeter here, a flatter bridge there, that style in this color — all of these options can be yours …
and more important, your patients’.

TD Tom Davies

BOOTH: U6205

The TD Tom Davies Made to Order program makes it easy for opticians to customize a frame in five sizes and any TD color for just a small upcharge over the original price of the frame.
+44 (0) 20 8392 0555 | tdtomdavies.com

Price on request

Silhouette Shape Kit

Silhouette

BOOTH: 3646

The Silhouette Shape Kit is a
collaboration with LUXE
Laboratory to offer fashion-forward shapes with Silhouette rimless
chassis to a selected group of
Silhouette customers interested
in reaching new demographics.

(800) 223-0180 | silhouette.com

Price on request


Handmade iGreen frames from Thema Optical.

igreen

BOOTH: G5766

Anyone can customize a handmade iGreen frame from Thema Optical. Thirty styles are offered with customers able to select which color and texture they’d like from 500 different options, including shiny or matte, added nose pads and more, and have them in four weeks.

(786) 803-8881 | igreeneyewear.com

Price on request


Handmade iGreen frames from Thema Optical.

Sasura

BOOTH: G5879

Sasura takes the popular interchangeable bead jewelry trend and applies it to frames, allowing the wearer to change beads and charms to coordinate with her mood or outfit. Here, model A200-02 from the company’s Lifestyle Collection and a Dream bead in sterling silver, one of the many pairing options.

(855) 922-2547 | audacelunettes.com

$399

includes two sterling silver accent beads, additional beads $40 each


Now your customers can rely on their accessories to set themselves apart. Thanks to the renewed popularity of necklaces, cords and rings that solve that frustrating question, “Where did I put my glasses?!” by securing them very close at hand. But these aren’t your grandmother’s chains: Premium materials, semi-precious and precious stones, and full of tech, frames can now stay put in style.

ARC Endless collection from Croakies

Croakies

Croakies offers a full range of products and patented designs. The ARC Endless collection features five coated cable colors, an articulating joint that keeps the cable off the neck and collar, four different interchangeable end options, and a compatible Float Kit for on-water security.

(800) 443-8620 | croakies.com

ARC Endless, $14.99 – $16.99

Float Kit (sold separately) $5.99


Skull style Turchin Eye Ring

Turchin

BOOTH: U6216

Turchin Eye Rings are really something special. Handmade in the U.S., the styles adjust in length to suit the wearers’ preferences. New for spring/summer 2016, the Skull style features American braided leather and all sterling silver metal accents with 18K yellow or rose gold overlay. Also available in rhodium, the eyes come in black onyx, diamond and a variety of other gemstone choices.

(305) 778-9559 | turchinjewelry.com

$170 to $800


La LOOP 162P

la loop

BOOTH: U5819

The La LOOP 162P is an updated version of the very first La LOOP, the 001LP, introduced over 15 years ago. The small oval links are made from an ivory color hand-finished Italian acetate resin that resembles animal print. Great for casual weekend wear, at 25 inches long this made in the U.S. style plated in silver, translates
well to a professional setting also.

(877) 505-1500 | laloop.com

$130


La LOOP 162P

Corinne McCormack

BOOTH: 4434

Corinne McCormack has been making jewelry just as long as she has been making eyewear. Though her readers and eyewear collections have taken off, her extensive eyewear chains and rings collection offers ECPs the perfect add-on sale to complement her, or any, eyewear collection. The Cozumel line features a metal chain and large glass beads to keep glasses stylishly within reach.

(212) 561-7504 | corinnemccormack.com

$24


Long, lush eyelashes are what lots of people aspire to, and many will try whatever it takes to achieve them. But, not everyone is blessed when it comes to full, flirty fringe, and aging, illness and environmental factors can also cause their thinning. A touching back story on the RevitaLash brand, Dr. Michael Brinkenhoff developed it in 2006 for his wife whose lashes had become stressed and dry after going through chemotherapy. Additionally, the FDA-approved Latisse as a prescription treatment for hypotrichosis (inadequate or not enough lashes). The health implications notwithstanding, it seems that all sorts of natural remedies and cleansing products for lashes and lids are on the rise for the general public, as well.

Latisse from Allergan

Allergan

BOOTH: MS6821

Latisse from Allergan.

(800) 433-8871 | latisse.com

$170-$175 (5ml)


RevitaLash Advanced, Volumizing Mascara & Volumizing Primer

RevitaLash

RevitaLash Advanced, Volumizing Mascara & Volumizing Primer from RevitaLash.

(877) 909- 5274 | revitalash.com

$130 REVITALASH ADVANCED (3.0 ml)

$24 VOLUMIZING MASCARA (7.39 ml)

$24 VOLUMIZING PRIMER (7.39 ml)


Tree Eyelid Cleansing Oil from We Love Eyes

We Love Eyes

Tree Eyelid Cleansing Oil from We Love Eyes.

(510) 740-8003 | weloveeyesxo.com

$265 (30 ml)


Lash Advance from MediNiche

MediNiche

Lash Advance from MediNiche.

(888) 325-2395 | mediniche.com

$24 (0.21 fl.oz. tube)


Latisse from Allergan

Zocular

BOOTH: MS6644

ZocuFoam & ZocuWipe from Zocular.

(844) 962-8527 | zocular.com

$49.95 (50 ml)

$34.95 (20-count)

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Best of Eyecare

25 ECPs Share Their Elevator Pitches

25 ECPs put who they are and what they do for a living in a sentence or two… or three.

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OK… You’ve slipped into the elevator just as the doors are closing. The woman on your left is wearing poorly fitting frames that are totally wrong for her. The gentleman to your right is squinting as he tries to find the button for his floor. You sense a golden opportunity, but the floors are already ticking by. You’ve got until those doors open again to tell these potential clients what you do and how you can help them. It’s time to dust off your “elevator pitch.” Our Brain Squad members are rarely at a loss for a few well-chosen words, so we asked them their best pitches. Here’s what they had to say to those future customers and patients on the subject of… you.

Hi, My name is Diana Canto Sims. I am an eyeball doctor turned eyewear designer for the diverse and the bold. What do you do? — Diana Sims, Buena Vista Optical, Chicago, IL

We help you create a look that is as unique as you are. — Doreen Erbe, Snyder Eye Group, Ship Bottom, NJ

I create complete custom eyewear by hand in Glenview. This includes the frames as well as the lenses. — Kevin Count, Prentice Lab, Glenview, IL

I am the owner and doctor at an eyecare office focused on pampering our patients.  — Nytarsha Thomas, OD, Visionelle Eyecare, Zionsville, IN

I can easily knock 10 years off your look and I promise people will notice! — Jennifer Leuzzi, Mill Creek Optical, Dansville, NY

We sell unique eyewear from all over the world.” (Then give a few specific examples of exotic materials. However, never oversell or seem pushy. Just plant the seed!!!)”  — Scott Keating, OD, Vision Trends, Dover, OH

You know the eyes are the windows to the soul right? Sometimes the windows cannot see; I help with that. I am an optometrist.” — Selina McGee, OD, Precision Vision, Edmond, OK

I refine one of your five senses. I give you vision and insight into your health, with a twist of style, all while having a good time in the process. — Cynthia Sayers, OD, EyeShop Optical Center, Lewis Center, OH

I explain that I run a practice for an eye doctor and that our goal is to make sure each patient sees well and is educated on the products and materials we wear ourselves. — Amy Pelak, Proview Eyecare Optometry, Corona, CA

I help people love their new eyewear, and owning 31 pairs of glasses and sunwear, I know I can find the right pair for you. — Kathy Maren Comb EyeCare & Eyewear, Western Springs, IL

I talk about the unique things our practice offers like sensory and vision therapy. We carry a variety of frames for the whole family. From durable kids, to the fun and funky for mom and dad. We’re not your average eye doctor.” Heather Nagucki, Brodie Optometry, Perrysburg, OH

I compliment someone on their glasses. I may ask them where they got them and always say something nice about their doctor or optician. I know everyone in town after 50 years in Sacramento. If the patient discusses a bad experience then I drop a business card.”  — Texas L. Smith, OD, Dr. Texas L. Smith & Associates, Citrus Heights, CA

I help people see and look better.  — Jason Stamper Eye Care Pavilion, Davenport, IA

I tell them I try not to look like an optometrist! — Dave Schultz, OD, Urban Optics, San Luis Obispo, CA

When I meet people I always try to tell them I’m like a pharmacist for your eyeglasses. — Bob Schmittou, New Eyes Optical, Wyandotte, MI

I’m an optician. Once the eye doctor is done with you I will help you with any optical needs whether glasses or contacts. Basically, I make you look good! — Scott Felten, Fox Valley Family Eye Care, Little Chute, WI

We get to help people see to their fullest potential. It’s the best job in the world! — Caitlin Bruno, Binyon Vision Center, Bellingham, WA

I’m like a pharmacist. I fill the prescription written by the doctor. But in Michigan, your optician doesn’t have to have a license the way your pharmacist does. That’s why there are so many people walking around in ugly glasses that can’t see.  — Dave Goodrich, Goodrich Optical, Lansing, MI

I bend light for a living. — Jon LaShorne, Kirkpatrick Eye Care, Madison, IN

I frame the windows to your soul with beauty. — Frances Ann Layton, Eye Associates of South Georgia, Valdosta, GA

I have no elevator pitch. I just let people know why I love doing what I do.” — Pablo E. Mercado, Mount Vernon Eyecare, Dunwoody, GA

Nice glasses! I bet they cost you a fortune. I’m an optician. Here’s my card. Next time you’re in the market for a new pair, give me a call and I’ll save you money.” — Mitchell Kaufman, Marine Park Family Vision, Brooklyn, NY

Everyone knows what a pharmacist does … so I equate my career as a licensed optician to that. I take a prescription from a doctor and I interpret that prescription. I advise and educate the patient on how to use the prescription written. I generate a product from that prescription and then dispense that prescription as a piece of medical equipment.”  — William Chancellor, Eye Can See Eyewear, McDonough, GA

We help people see the important things in life.” — John Marvin, Texas State Optical Inc., Houston, TX

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Cover Stories

18 Ways to Make Your Team the Happiest on the Planet

Sell more, produce more, be more creative, satisfy more customers… through happiness.

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Traditional management theory has a lot to answer for. Don’t tolerate failure, keep workers emotionally at arm’s distance, discourage individualism, focus on remedying weakness as opposed to playing up strengths, frown at play, motivate workers by throwing money at them, or failing that, wielding a big stick … The list of prohibitions and negativity goes on.


It is perhaps surprising, then, that the realization happy workers also tend to be more productive workers was one of management theory’s earlier discoveries. As part of the famous Harvard study of the Hawthorne Works factory in Chicago in the mid-1920s, researchers observed that employee performance could be greatly boosted by influencing not only the physical environment but the social context within which they toiled. A worker was more than an input. He or she also had feelings. And when employees were in a positive state of mind, they did more, better work.

That finding set off decades of experiments in which bosses sought to boost productivity by trying to make workers more joyful. Yet the results were ambiguous. This was partly because they were measuring the wrong indicator of happiness — job satisfaction (something that can be guaranteed by a paycheck, but which doesn’t translate into improved performance over time) — and partly because happiness itself is such an elusive, mercurial target.

More recently, however, a consensus has started to form on what constitutes the kind of positive mindset that drives performance —and it’s not simply sensory pleasure that comes from a bowl of free M&Ms in the kitchen. It’s about inner well-being.

“Happiness isn’t just about feeling good every moment of the day, and it’s not just about pleasure,” says Dr. Annie McKee, director of the PennCLO Executive Doctoral Program and a co-author of Primal Leadership. “Happiness at work is a deep and abiding pleasure that is fueled by a sense of meaningful purpose, hope and friendships.”

McKee’s list reflects much of the PERMA acronym developed by Martin Seligman, a professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, and one of the foremost experts on the study of happiness.
The acronym, which he sets out in his bestseller Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding Of Happiness And Well-Being, stands for just about everything you need to know about fostering happiness:

  • Positive emotion (optimism)5 Engagement (feeling in the flow at work, when workers are using their strengths)
  • Good Relationships (the importance of friends and feeling a part of the tribe)
  • Meaning (feeling that the work being done matters, including to the bottom line)
  • Accomplishment (the sense of making progress)

Seligman’s research suggests workers are happiest when they’re lost in a meaningful project, working toward a higher goal, or being helpful. Those factors also happen to be aligned with a productive workplace.
Happiness, then, should be light but not trivial. Get such a workplace ethos right, and the benefits are significant.

In a meta-analysis of 225 academic studies, Sonja Lyubomirsky, Laura King, Ed Diener and the Gallup Organization found that happy employees have, on average, 31 percent higher productivity; their sales are 37 percent higher; their creativity is three times higher. Other research has shown happy workers take one-tenth the sick leave, are more loyal, more likely to satisfy customers (who is not drawn to a happy worker?), and more likely to engage in safe workplace conduct. They deal with stress better, manage complexity better, are more engaged, motivated, resilient, energetic, and make smarter decisions.

“Every business outcome shows improvement when the brain is positive. I call this the ‘happiness advantage,’” says Shawn Achor, a Harvard researcher, in his book of the same name (The Happiness Advantage).

“It turns out that our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best not when they are negative or even neutral, but when they are positive,” Achor says.

The reason is because unlike fear or anger or anxiety, which cause our nervous systems to close down and inhibit rational functioning, positive emotions that go along with being happy, like enthusiasm and excitement, joy, and pleasure, actually help us to think better. “Our minds open up; we can take in more information; we can process it more quickly. Ultimately, we can make better decisions. Those conditions allow us to be more successful at work,” says McKee.

With such a strong case for happiness, it is perhaps surprising that most workplaces are anything but joyful. According to surveys done by the Gallup Organization, upwards of two-thirds of employees are either neutral, which means they don’t care about their work, or are actively disengaged, which suggests they are hurting the interests of their employer.

In many instances, the lack of cheer in the office, on the factory floor or in the shop is because of an entrenched suspicion of levity, that it somehow signals a lack of professionalism. Or in the case of high-end retailers, a lack of sophistication (rich people don’t need to please anyone, so why smile?).

Even in cases where companies try hard to boost happiness levels by investing in happiness coaches, team-building exercises, gameplays, funsultants, or Chief Happiness Officers, the record is not great.
As such programs have found, the frustrating thing about positive emotions — happiness, but also awe, wonder and love as well — is that they can’t be forced. It doesn’t work when you tell yourself to be happy — and when the pressure comes from others, especially when it is top down, as in a business setting, it’s worse. There’s something in the makeup of happiness that requires it arise freely; indeed, focusing on happiness can actually make people feel less happy.

There is also a problem with workers themselves, actually with all humans; it’s as if we are wired to resist lasting happiness.

Pay someone more money or celebrate the completion of a big project and after a fairly brief period, their level of happiness returns to its less-than-satisfactory base. Psychologists refer to this as the hedonic treadmill — no matter the effort applied, we end up in the same place.

Evolutionary scientists theorize this tendency serves as protection against complacency in a world of risk, but for a manager in 2018, it’s just really annoying. (Interestingly, research shows that the one time money does make people happy on a lasting basis is when it improves their social rank (i.e., makes them richer than their friends and work colleagues). But that’s not a sustainable remuneration strategy.

So what to do? How to build an army of happy worker bees?

The first step is to hire for attitude. The idea that a happy demeanor is to a large extent genetically determined is one of psychology’s most firmly held beliefs. Harvard social psychologist Dan Gilbert estimates genetics account for about 50 percent of your workers’ disposition.

That leaves a lot that you can work with.
“The goals you set, the culture you foster, the habits you cultivate, the way you interact with workers, how you think about stress—all these can be managed to increase your staff’s happiness and your chances of success,” says Achor.

The good news is that the No. 1 factor that will lift spirits is progress in meaningful work. Help your workers do their jobs better and they become happier, thereby laying the foundation for even better business results. It’s called the progress loop.

“Understand that people matter, feelings matter, and it’s the No. 1 job of a manager to create a climate where people feel good about what they’re doing, where they’re happy, engaged and ready to share their talents,” says McKee.

Too fuzzy and warm for you?

Consider that even workers participating in the most serious work — from finance to nuclear submarine crews to firefighters — perform better when they are in a good mood.

Developing new habits, nurturing your employees, and thinking positively about stress are good ways to start (and next up we’ll provide more ways you can support a culture of happiness among your team).

But perhaps the best part about building a happiness culture is that managers needn’t fret about trying to read the psyches of their workers, or manipulate complicated incentive schemes.

Ultimately, happiness can be cultivated by setting a clear direction, giving people what they need to do the job, nourishing a spirit of positivity … and getting out of their way.

 

27 Ways to Make Your Business Happier

Research suggests we have a happiness set point we soon revert to after most events, happy or sad. So, aside from plying your staff with wine, is there anything that can be done to make them more content? It turns out quite a lot. We get you started with several here, but be sure to check out our online extras at invisionmag.com/extras.

1. Set a positive morning routine

Employees’ moods when they clock in tend to affect how they feel for the rest of the day as well as their perceptions of customers and how they interact with them. “We saw that employees could get into these negative spirals where they started the day in a bad mood and just got worse over the course of the day,” says Ohio State University’s Steffanie Wilk. “That’s why it is so important for companies to find ways to help their workers start off the day on the right foot.” Get them anticipating something positive is one good way. Casa De Oro Eyecare in Spring Valley, CA, does this by getting to the office early every day, turning up the music loud and rocking out until it’s time to open the door. Dr. Selina McGee at Precision Vision in Edmond, OK, opts for something more digital. “We do fun quotes, pictures, etc., in a group text to start the day. Adding fun to our workday consists of what is authentic to us, we laugh, don’t take ourselves too seriously, we pop a champagne cork to celebrate when cool things happen.”

2. Deliver progress

In their book The Progress Principle, Harvard researchers Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer make a strong case that of all the things that can boost motivation during a workday, the single most important is making progress on meaningful work. And the wins don’t have to be big. “Many of the progress events our research participants reported represented only minor steps forward. Yet they often evoked outsize positive reactions,” they write. And the more frequently people experience that sense of progress, the more likely they are to be creatively productive in the long run. Amabile and Kramer say the best managers know how to activate two forces that enable progress: 1) catalysts: events that directly drive work, such as clear goals and autonomy, providing sufficient resources and time, helping with the work, using problems and successes as learning points, and allowing a free exchange of ideas — and 2) nourishers: interpersonal events that uplift workers, including encouragement and demonstrations of respect and collegiality and opportunities for affiliation.

3. Write a two-minute email

Achor recommends insisting employees take two minutes every morning to send a friend, family member or co-worker an email to say thanks for something. “We’ve done this at Facebook, at U.S. Foods, at Microsoft… What we find is this dramatically increases their social connection, which is the greatest predictor of happiness we have in organizations.” Texts work fine, too.

4. Count your blessings

The old saying is true: “What you have makes you happy. What you want makes you unhappy.” Yes, it can sound corny, but it’s hard to emphasize how powerful gratitude is. “Showing gratitude for the good things in life is the most powerful happiness boosting activity there is,” says Barker. And according to Seligman, the best way to build it is the “Three Blessings” exercise. Urge your workers to set aside 10 minutes before they go to sleep to write down three things that went well in the day, and — this is important — why they went well. “Your brain will be forced to scan the last 24 hours for potential positives,” says Achor. “This trains the brain to be more skilled at noticing and focusing on possibilities for … growth, and seizing opportunities to act on them.” Vision Solutions in Lamar, MO, does something similar with its end of day meetings. “We incorporate any funny or odd things from the day into our end of the day huddle, recognize staff who went above and beyond, and recognize any team members for outstanding work,” says Bryan Hartgrave.

5. Exercise

What makes people happiest? Sex, socializing and exercise, says Eric Barker, author of the Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog. As a business owner, it’s the last of these you can promote. A Finnish study of 3,403 people in 1999 showed that those who exercise at least two to three times a week experience significantly less depression, anger, stress, and “cynical distrust” than those who exercise less or not at all. Being in good shape also increases learning ability. Enter your store in a fun run, give staff 10 minutes at lunch to fit in a CrossFit class, or play in a social softball league.

6. Do fun things often

Here’s an interesting fact about happiness: frequency beats intensity. Lots of little good things make people happier than a handful of big things because they give people frequent, regular boosts. Stanford professor Jennifer Aaker says the findings lead to a really simple conclusion: The things that make you happy? Do them more often. “Focus on increasing the amount of good stuff in your life vs. reducing the amount of bad stuff,” she says.

7. Hire for a positive attitude

The “war for talent” is a myth, says marketing guru Seth Godin. It’s actually a war for attitude. “There are a few jobs where straight up skills are all we ask for. But in fact, even there, what actually separates winners from losers isn’t talent, it’s attitude,” he writes on his widely followed blog. And Achor’s research backs this up. “Seventy-five percent of long-term job success is predicted not by intelligence and technical skills, which is normally how we hire,” Achor says. Instead, it’s predicted by three categories: optimism, social connections, and the way people handle stress. In The Happiness Advantage, he recounts an experiment he ran with MET Life to hire people based on optimism. The optimistic group outsold their more pessimistic counterparts by 19 percent in year one and 57 percent in year two. They were also much less likely to quit.

8. Focus on strengths

Workers gain a boost in positive emotions the more they use their signature strengths — those qualities they are uniquely best at. “The more hours per day adults believe they use their strengths, the more likely they are to report having ample energy, feeling well-rested, being happy, smiling or laughing a lot, learning something interesting, and being treated with respect,” write the Gallup Organization’s Brandon Rigoni and Jim Asplund in a blog. As their manager, you’re probably aware who does what well. But UPenn happiness expert Martin Seligman says you should ask them anyway. “Identify their signature strengths and then make room to allow them to use their strengths more often,” he writes in Authentic Happiness. For workers, there is intrinsic satisfaction. For employers, a much higher state of performance.

9. Savor the Good Stuff

Old clichés like “stopping to smell the roses” and “it’s the little things in life” are actually profound and effective. Happiness researchers call such strategies “savoring” and have even put a hard figure on it — people who regularly take notice of things that are positive were 12 percent more likely to say they were satisfied with their lives. The point, says behavioral scientist Winifred Gallagher in her book RAPT, is that “you see what you look for. And you can train yourself to attend to the joy out there waiting to be had, instead of passively waiting for it to come to you.”

10. Hold happy meetings

Most managers are wary of allowing too much good cheer in meetings, apparently out of fear it will derail the agenda or distract the participants. But according to a study by psychologists from VU University Amsterdam and the University of Nebraska, humor can greatly boost the effectiveness of meetings, leading to long-term productivity gains. “Humor patterns triggered problem-solving behaviors (e.g., what do you think about this approach?), procedural suggestions (e.g., let’s talk about our next step), and goal orientation (e.g., we should target this issue),” reports Scientific American. “Humor patterns also promoted supportive behaviors like praise and encouragement, and led to new ideas and solutions.” Such humor works best when it is positive, as opposed to sarcastic, when it supports group rapport (joke, laughter, another joke) and when the workers have a certain level of job security. Jessica Brundidge at Clarity Vision in Clayton, NC, adds levity to their weekly meetings with “shout outs” and memes. “We do a weekly “shout out” that is a positive reinforcement to our staff. We go over any new items that may need to be discussed or reviewed and if a patient or another co-worker has complimented an employee we like to “shout it out,’” she says. “We also make some personal things in there such as a birthday or work anniversary etc. and then we always end the shout out with a funny meme of some sort.”

11. Encourage ‘me’ time

Allow workers to really clock off. Their weekends and evenings should enable them to recharge. And besides, people focused on nothing but work tend to be boring and lack common ground with customers.

12. Set them free

Why do business owners outrank just about every other occupation in overall well-being despite working longer hours and earning slightly less, on average, than many professionals? A lot of it has to do with autonomy. People are happier when they aren’t being told what to do. “Once employees have been trained, allow them, whenever possible, to manage people and execute projects in their own way,” says Paul Zak, a neuroeconomist at San Diego State University. In an article in the Harvard Business Review, he cites a 2014 Citigroup and LinkedIn survey that found nearly half of employees would give up a 20 percent raise for greater control over how they work. “Autonomy also promotes innovation, because different people try different approaches. Often, younger or less experienced employees — those you trust the least — will be your chief innovators, because they’re less constrained by what ‘usually’ works,” Zak says.

13. Create a fun environment

The traditional business environment isn’t often conducive to good cheer. Don Gibson, dean of management at Fairfield University’s Dolan School of Business, found that working professionals from multiple organizations felt more comfortable expressing anger than joy on the job (they reported expressing anger three times as often). Office décor and furnishings, too, may suggest what’s expected emotionally. Signs with lists of rules and consequences for breaking them reflect a culture of fear. Photos of employees laughing at social events or action figures perched on cubicle walls, Kleenexes stapled to potentially stressful memos, or chocolate kisses taped to boring ones signal a culture of joy.

14. Be a model

A long line of research on emotional contagion shows that people in groups “catch” feelings from others through behavioral mimicry and subsequent changes in brain function. “If you regularly walk into a room smiling with high energy, you’re much more likely to create a culture of joy than if you wear a neutral expression. Your employees will smile back and start to mean it. So consciously model the emotions you want to cultivate in your company,” says the HBR’s guide to Everyday Emotional Intelligence.

15. Celebrate with rituals

Sharing and celebrating successes is a time-honored way to drive performance, define best practice, boost team solidarity — and elevate pleasant emotions. Recognition has the largest effect on emotion when it occurs immediately after a goal has been met, when it comes from peers, and when it’s tangible, unexpected, personal, and public, says Zak. Be sure to celebrate small wins with almost the same fervor as the big accomplishments. Visionelle Eyecare in Zionsville, IN, does that with little competitions. “My squad loves competition so I will have a small competition once a month to see who can get the most reviews, or sell a second pair and they win a small prize like a gift card or movie tickets. We also have a daily and monthly goal,” says owner Nytarsha Thomas, OD. “We have a tradition of doing a happy dance at the end of the day when we make our daily goal and if we make our monthly goal, we’ll treat them to something more sought after like a massage or nice dinner.”

16. Ask for help

Realize that you can’t and shouldn’t be Superman. In fact, a boss willing to show vulnerability makes for a happier workplace. “My research team has found that this stimulates oxytocin production in others, increasing their trust and cooperation. Asking for help is a sign of a secure leader—one who engages everyone to reach goals,” says Zak.

17. Find meaning

Experiments show that having a sense of higher purpose — a sense that your work has meaning and is helping someone — stimulates production of oxytocin, the “hug hormone.” Meaning can be as simple as making a useful and high-quality product for a customer or providing a genuine service for the local community. It can be supporting a colleague or boosting an organization’s profits by reducing inefficiencies in a production process. It’s not hard for managers to infuse meaning into the work of their employees’ lives, but it’s also incredibly easy for them to undermine it. For example, Duke psychology professor Dan Ariely and colleagues conducted a study in which participants were paid to build Lego models, some of which were dismantled in front of them upon completion. People whose creations were preserved made, on average, 50 percent more Lego models than those whose models were destroyed, despite identical monetary incentives. Trust and purpose are as fragile as they are important.

18. Manage in micromoments

A mission statement is one thing; day-to-day work life is another. “It’s not enough to codify emotional culture; it must also be managed and enacted in the ‘micromoments’ of daily organizational life,” writes Andy Westmoreland on the productivity blog Elevator Up. “Small gestures rather than bold declarations of feeling; little acts of kindness and support adding up to an emotional culture characterized by caring and compassion,” he says.

19. Hug more

In the post-Harvey Weinstein era, this may be dangerous advice, but try to touch your workers more (handshakes and back pats work just fine). Research shows getting five hugs a day for four weeks “increases happiness big time,” says Barker. “Touching is incredibly powerful. We just don’t give it enough credit. It makes you more persuasive, increases team performance, improves your flirting … heck, it even boosts math skills,” he writes on his blog. Don’t want to risk it? Offer a massage as a spiff for good work. According to a review of studies by the University of Miami School of Medicine, massage appears to increase your brain and body’s levels of serotonin.

20. Get a light box

If you live in the north of the continent, get a light box. According to research from UBC Hospital in Vancouver, Canada, light therapy — it provides the kind of bright rays that elevate levels of happiness-boosting serotonin in your brain — is effective at combating seasonal affective disorder. If you live in other parts of the country, be sure your employees get outside regularly. A study from McGill University in Montreal has shown that by spending at least 30 minutes a day outdoors should be enough to offset your seasonal drops in serotonin.

21. Stress people the right way

People are happier when they are active. Don’t be afraid to push your people hard. “Frankly, a little bit of stress is a good thing. It pushes us to be innovative and to do things differently and to push harder,” says Annie McKee, director of the PennCLO Executive Doctoral Program and a co-author of PRIMAL LEADERSHIP. One of the most famous longevity studies conducted, the ongoing Terman Study, found those who work hard are healthier and happier.

22. Tough guys finish last

Gen. George S. Patton more your idea of an effective leader? Consider this: researchers found annual prizes for efficiency and preparedness in the US Navy are far more frequently awarded to units whose commanding officers are openly encouraging. On the other hand, the squadrons receiving the lowest marks in performance are generally led by commanders with a negative, controlling, and aloof demeanor. Psychologist Barbara Frederickson says her research into fostering a state of flow in workers has shown a critical three-to-one ratio is required; we need to have three positive interactions for every negative one in order to thrive.

23. Foster friendships

The brain networks that light up in response to social contact are evolutionarily old, implying that such behavior is deeply embedded in our nature. Yet at work, we often get the message that we should focus on completing tasks, not on making friends, even though science has shown repeatedly that when employees intentionally build social ties, their performance improves. People who care for one another give generously of time, talent, and resources. Gallup found that close work relationships boost employee satisfaction by 50 percent and that people with a best friend at work are seven times as likely as others to engage fully in their work. You can help people build social connections by sponsoring lunches, after-work parties, and team-building activities. It may sound like forced fun, but when people care about one another, they perform better because they don’t want to let their teammates down. “We love to blow off steam late in the day, that’s why our fridge is always well stocked,” says Jim Williams, owner of Eye to Eye in Mexico, MO. “On a recent Tuesday, we hung a sign in the window, and announced on Facebook that we had an ‘offsite staff meeting.’ We rented a big pontoon boat and spent the day on the lake with food drinks and fun. A day well spent!!”

24. Encourage staff to leave

Allow workers to really clock off. Their weekends and evenings should enable them to recharge. And besides, people focused on nothing but work tend to be boring and share no common ground with customers.

25. Remove hassles

While it’s true happiness comes from the small pleasures in life, it’s also the little hassles that are most apt to get people down. The same is true in the workplace where little hassles are a reliable predictor of job satisfaction. Make it a habit to ask your staff for tweaks than can be made to the way things are done around the store.

26. Set goals

Have staff set written goals. Writing about goals makes people happier and more likely to follow through with them.

27. Institutionalize fun

According to a case study of Vail Resorts in HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW, the culture of joy has been incorporated into the annual review, which indicates how well each employee integrates fun into the work environment and rates everyone on supporting behaviors, such as being inclusive, welcoming, approachable and positive. Management tactics, special outings, celebrations and rewards all support the emotional culture. Rather than asking people to follow standardized customer service scripts, they tell everyone to “go out there and have fun.” Resort managers consistently model joy and prescribe it for their teams. At an annual ceremony, a Have Fun award goes to whoever led that year’s best initiative promoting fun at work.

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Cover Stories

An Eyecare Pro’s Visual Guide to Making Better Choices in 5 Critical Categories

Making decisions is hard, we’ve made it easy.

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RUNNING OR MANAGING a business means you are constantly making decisions. Some are easy, many are hard, and others are just plain messy. We thought we’d help you take a little bit of the work and stress out of it by creating some very scientific* decision trees for a few of the most common questions you may face running an optical business. By INVISION Staff

* By “scientific” we mean not scientific at all.

 

 

 

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