Today I'm going to talk to you about the direct influence of the four big bads for a good corporate culture. They are blame, guilt, fear and judgment. And by judgment I don't mean judgment about a strategy, I mean judgment about a person, whether that person is a good person or a bad person, for example.
So, let's see how they apply.
Australia has a habit of digging up coal for power and metallurgical purposes. The coal industry makes for a useful analogy to explain some important ideas about habit creation and change. I’m not pro-coal or anti-coal, as a born and bred Novocastrian coal is in my blood (and probably in my lungs too) and, notwithstanding the broader environmental context, we in Newcastle owe a lot to the industry. Regardless, this post is about habits – not politics, economics or environmental policy.
We are fast approaching that part of every year where we tend to take a break, reflect and start making plans and setting personal goals. It seems that the New Year is the perfect moment to take stock and look at changing some habits.
Think about the very basis for defining life of an organism – any organism.
Question: What one condition is critical for all life?
Answer: Relative sameness, relative stability!
Habit change can be hard because the major measure of 'good' as far as your body is concerned is its reference to 'normal'.
Many believe EQ is a "you've got it or you don't" trait like height or eye colour but that view is false. Emotional intelligence is teachable like any other skill and buildable like any other strength. However, it comes with the same limitations and caveats, individuals start from different levels and it takes effort, it requires changing thought patterns and being outside of your comfort zone.
Below I outline my approach which works consistently. It is simple - but that doesn't mean easy. Like physical fitness, it takes consistent effort over time.
Companies driven by adherence to budgets and data and looking for upticks in shareholder value - in the absence of context - have the tail wagging the dog. You end up with quality people stressed, frustrated and disillusioned from spending all their time producing ever more detailed information for the owners, instead of actual production. It's also a nice analogy for personal leadership under stress.
Researchers go to great lengths to prevent the known and mysterious placebo effect. The weird phenomenon that occurs when people gain a benefit from pretend medicine (eg sugar pill). Little is known about the placebo effect - it ought not work - but it does and this is seen as a problem.
I am largely a sceptic of all personality trait profiling. There are so many, all claiming to be 'scientifically robust'. However, they tend to only tell you what you could've worked out yourself from a 5 minute conversation with the person. Most of them have about as much validity as a horoscope, dripping with confirmation bias.
Once again research proves what we probably already know. Amazingly, repeating an action leads to habituation! Who'd have thought?
How do you maintain high performance under pressure?
This is the question the High Performance Thinking Project I've been leading at Moly-Cop has been seeking to answer. Helping the workforce understand the influence of various non-optimal mind states on decision making; the goal to improve decision making, safety performance and problem solving in key moments when it matters.
Mind states such as frustration, stress, fear, distraction, complacency, and rushing to name just a few reduce our ability to make good decisions, limit our ability to accurately perceive risk and be pro-active. The goal is to reduce safety incidents but also to improve decision making and leadership across the plant, at all levels.