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HCI Webinar: Work Life Well-Lived: The Motives Met Pathway to No-B.S. Well-Being at Work, with Kelly Mackin

In the latest HCI Webinar, Dr. Jonathan H. Westover talks with Kelly Mackin about her book, Work Life Well-Lived: The Motives Met Pathway to No-B.S. Well-Being at Work. Below is a summary of the main points from their conversation! Check out the full episode and let us know what you think!

Watch the episode here:

Quick Recap

Jonathan and Kelly discussed a future podcast episode centered around Kelly's book, "Work, Life Well-Lived," and its release coinciding with the first week of April. They explored the concept of work wellbeing, the importance of personalizing it, and the role of individual motives in creating a thriving work culture. Kelly shared her insights on creating a people-first culture and the need for authentic and personalized leadership. The discussion concluded with Kelly encouraging the audience to visit her website and purchase her book for a free code to take an assessment.

Kelly's Personal Journey With Work-Related Stress

Kelly shared her personal journey from witnessing her mother's work-related struggles to experiencing similar issues in her own career. She highlighted how her perception of a toxic work environment changed after hitting rock bottom and realizing that prioritizing well-being was not a privilege but a necessity. She also noted that the conversation about work and well-being had significantly progressed since her mother and she last talked about the topic in 2017, before the pandemic. Kelly expressed her surprise and concern about the continued prevalence of ill-being at work.

Discussing Work Wellbeing Perspectives

Kelly and Jonathan discussed their perspectives on work wellbeing, stemming from their background in quantitative human behavior research. Kelly shared her findings that there are 10 dream killers that threaten the idea of a work life well lived, including a lack of specificity and accuracy in the definition of wellbeing, and the missing aspects of wellbeing such as having fun and being challenged. Jonathan agreed with Kelly's insights, highlighting that everyone's definition of wellbeing differs. They both agreed on the importance of personalizing the concept of work wellbeing.

Prioritizing Individual Motives for Work Success

Kelly and Jonathan discussed the importance of understanding and prioritizing individual motives for a thriving work life. Kelly presented a framework developed from their research which identified 28 psychological, emotional and social needs, grouped into 10 motive domains. She emphasized that these motives are dynamic and change throughout one's career and personal life. Jonathan highlighted the potential misuse of personality assessments and how they can become problematic when used dogmatically. They agreed that regular dialogue and self-reflection are crucial to understand and honor individual motives, and that a diverse range of motives within a team can lead to a more productive and successful work culture.

Creating a People-First Culture in the Workplace

Kelly shared her insights on how to create a people-first culture in the workplace, emphasizing the importance of meeting employees' motives. She suggested that leaders should first understand their team's needs and then empower them to co-create a positive work environment. Kelly advocated for a personalized approach in addressing these needs, as each employee is unique. Jonathan asked for specific advice on amplifying mental health and happiness, and Kelly recommended focusing on people's needs, empowering everyone to co-create, and maintaining diverse motives. She also stressed the importance of reflecting on potential bias and taking a personalized approach.

Personalized Leadership and Authenticity Discussion

Jonathan and Kelly discussed the importance of individualized and personalized leadership in a workplace setting. Jonathan emphasized the need for leaders to understand their team members' unique perspectives and to have regular dialogues to address potential blind spots and biases. Kelly agreed with Jonathan and added that effective leadership involves understanding, evaluating, communicating, developing an action plan, and sharing motive stories. They both agreed on the importance of authenticity and commitment in leadership, rather than selling false narratives or quick fixes.

Kelly's Work and Wellbeing Framework

Jonathan and Kelly discussed Kelly's work, team, and her book, which offers a framework for understanding human needs and motivations. Kelly encouraged the audience to visit her website,, and purchase her book for a free code to take an assessment. She emphasized the importance of her approach to wellbeing at work, which empowers individuals and provides clear steps towards a fulfilling work life.

Listen to the webinar here:



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