"Emotions Drive People, and People Drive Performance"
I am presently reviewing a Jan 2001 article originally published in the Harvard Business Review, titled: The Making of a Corporate Athlete, by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz. It is a long article and so, I will break it down into four parts, beginning with Physical Capacity. More to follow.
If there is one quality that executives seek for themselves and their employees, it is sustained high performance in the face of ever-increasing pressure and rapid change. They maintain that in looking for answers as to why some people flourish under pressure while others fold, management theorists have only come up with partial answers such as rich material rewards, the right culture, and management by objectives.
The problem with most approaches, they believe, is that these only deal with people from the neck up, whereby they view high performance as primarily relying on cognitive capacity. In recent years however, there has been an increasing focus on the relationship between emotional intelligence and high performance. Even a few theorists, they say, have addressed the spiritual dimension, the deeper values and a sense of purpose influencing performance. Almost no one though has paid any attention to the role played by physical capacities.
As a result, the authors of this article have determined that a successful approach to sustained high performance must pull together all of these elements and consider the person as a whole, by practising an integrated theory of performance management which includes the body, the emotions, the mind, and the spirit. They refer to this hierarchy as the “Performance Pyramid.”
Those wanting to reach high performance in the corporate world then would need to take a similar approach to those of athletes who practice training in a systematic and multi-level
way so that they can perform at high levels over the long haul. In training athletes, they have never focused on their primary skills, such as how to hit a serve, swing a golf club, or shooting a basketball. Likewise, in business they don’t address primary, competencies such as public speaking, negotiating, or analyzing a balance sheet. Instead, they help their executives build capacity for what they call supportive or secondary competencies, such as endurance, strength, flexibility, self-control, and focus. It is not that executives cannot perform successfully even if they smoke, drink and weigh too much, or lack emotional skills or a higher purpose for working. Instead, it means that they will not reach their full potential or will suffer a cost overtime—to themselves, to their families, and to the corporations for which they work. The best performers then, according to the authors, are those who tap into positive energy at all levels of the performance pyramid.
They describe effective energy management as having two key components. The first is the rhythmic movement between energy expenditure (stress) and energy renewal (recovery),
which they term “oscillation.” They learned that the real enemy of high performance is not stress, which is actually the stimulus for growth. Instead they suggest that the problem is the absence of disciplined, intermittent recovery since chronic stress without recovery depletes energy reserves, leading to burnout and breakdown, ultimately undermining performance.
The second component of high performance they put forward are rituals that promote that type of oscillation— i.e., rhythmic stress and recovery. When repeated regularly, these highly precise, consciously developed routines become automatic over time. This is equally important for executives as it is for athletes since the demands in business are constant and not only called upon at certain times.
When it comes to physical capacity, this is foundational since it is the source of our energy. They cite examples such as the process to building muscle when weight-lifting, and the 10 to 15 second rituals tennis players utilize between points such as focusing on the strings of their racket. Good sleeping and eating rituals are also integral to effective energy management.
The first tip they give is to eat 5 or 6 small meals a day. Apparently, people who eat just one or two meals a day with long periods in between force their bodies into a conservation mode which translates into a slower metabolism. They recommend we always eat breakfast.
A balanced diet they say includes 50 to 60% complex carbohydrates, 25 to 35% protein, and 20 to 25% fat. They also suggest reducing sugars since sugar causes energy-depleting spikes in blood glucose levels. Also recommended are four to five 12 ounce glasses of water, even if not thirsty. Apparently up to 50% of the population walk around with mild chronic dehydration. Finally, they recommend three to four 20 to 30-minute cardiovascular workouts a week, including at least two sessions of intervals-short bursts of intense exertion, followed by brief recovery periods.
The next summary of this article that I will be posting covers Emotional Capacity. I look forward to receiving your comments on this first installment.
I highly recommend this book: https://amzn.to/3zt4ace Unconscious bias affects everyone and this publication explains what happens when our brain takes mental shortcuts, driven by our likes and dislikes. Because we are wired this way it is a natural part of the human condition. However, the assumptions we make because of our biases can have a negative impact on the success of an organization.This book helps us learn how to manage these biases and it provides more than thirty unique tools, such as a prep worksheet and a list of ways to re-frame our unconscious thoughts. According to the experts at Franklin Covey our workplace can achieve its highest performance rate once we start overcoming our biases and allowing our employees to feel safe being themselves. By recognizing bias, emphasizing empathy and curiosity, and making true understanding a priority in the workplace, we can unlock the potential of every person we encounter.
The seeds of workplace harassment can go unnoticed when employees are not trained to spot them. These are micro-messages, subtle insidious non-verbal actions known as micro-inequities and micro-aggressions. When we are trained to notice these and to effectively and safely intervene and call them out, then we can begin to, not only address harassment when it happens, but also help to prevent it before it starts.
As an HR Professional specializing in Learning & Development, I provide assessments, training and coaching in subjects related to workplace diversity and inclusion. The three main subjects I focus on include: Emotional Intelligence, Social Styles and Versatility, and Hardiness & Resilience. The purpose of my work is to help organizations benefit from practicing diversity and inclusion in the workplace by creating a healthy and safe workplace culture.
Two of the areas covered by my work include Bystander Intervention Training and Psychological Safety. These two areas are connected since employees who feel psychologically safe at work, and with their supervisors and managers, are more likely to intervene when they observe or know about an incident of workplace harassment.
Psychological safety in the workplace is a concept developed by Harvard professor Amy Edmondson in the late 1990s and refers to a workplace climate in which people are comfortable being and expressing themselves. They feel safe to do so because there is a shared belief among the team that people will not be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.
When psychological safety is present in the workplace, team members think less about the potential negative consequences of expressing a new or risky idea than they would otherwise. However, when there are incidents of harassment, most bystanders do not intervene. When someone does intervene, it is more likely to be a low-involvement approach such as sympathizing afterwards with the person who was harassed, or informally discussing the incident with colleagues.
Bystander intervention starts from the premise that everyone has a role to play in reducing harassment. Employees are educated not from the perspective of being considered potential perpetrators, but rather as allies and advocates for a respectful inclusive workplace. Effective training is essential, but a successful bystander intervention also requires a strong roll-out strategy, follow up assessments and feedback since about 70% of what is learned in a training is forgotten 24 hours later.
According to Wikipedia, the bystander effect, or bystander apathy, is a social psychological theory that states that individuals are less likely to offer help to a victim when there are other people present. This is something to be aware of in the workplace.
Having received my second Covid-19 vaccine today, I continue to be very impressed with how organized things are when I attend one of our vaccine clinics in British Columbia. It is an amazing example of what can result when people band together to take care of one another against the odds. The question is how could we bring that same willingness to collaborate in a crisis forward into our regular lives once this is over, and more particularly how as employees can we learn to have each other's back when it comes to helping to prevent workplace harassment?
Companies across the world are at a critical moment for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). The impact of prevalent social justice movements with the changing definition of work has placed a new focus on work culture and creating inclusive workplaces.For job Seekers navigating a market favouring talent, toxic or even just subpar conditions are no longer acceptable.