— February 8, 2018
One of the key, distinct elements of our consulting practice is the lens from which we help leaders see and evaluate their operations. It is from a “how and why humans operate the way they do” point of view.
Over a great number of years in the field of human performance, I have developed a keen eye regarding human behavior from which I can quickly identify an issue and equally important, determine how to resolve it, if it can (in the context of a typical business setting).
This knowledge I have coined the “human quotient” and it’s what I transfer to my clients to help them work with the human aspects of their businesses more effectively… and this is what is sorely needed and dramatically missing among most business leaders and, as I’ve discovered over the years, their HR counterparts. Without it, decision-making is greatly handicapped and many decisions are made against the self-interest of the leader and company. Additionally, the absence of this knowledge hampers the ability to successfully manage employees for optimum operational effectiveness.
Here’s an example.
In the HR, talent management world, we talk a lot about behavior competencies or the qualities desired in those we want to hire and posess in our company cultures. Yet, in many companies, those qualities are not emphasized, given much attention, or intentionally developed.
I think the main reason why is we don’t understand or appreciate the direct impact qualities have (positive or negative) on our processes, results and profits.
In fact when you think about it, it’s common for qualities to only be given significant attention when they are negative and have reached the level of intolerance.
Imagine for a moment — if there was a heightened, intentional emphasis of positive qualities. Imagine in a team or department, certain qualities were given lots of attention, talked about regularly, fostering collective awareness, support and reinforcement.
The result? I’ve seen over time those qualities grow in volume, dimension and intensity, overcoming unwanted qualities…and they are fiercely protected because everyone is witnessing and enjoying their value.
And, if a new team member comes on the scene with negative qualities, one who let’s say is toxic, that team member wouldn’t fit and perhaps wouldn’t last very long or the collective power of the group qualities would influence a change in the behavior and performance of that team member. That’s what I call “positive peer pressure”.
Practical Application – A Unique Twist to KPIs
KPIs are a common theme for measuring a variety of elements in business. As it relates to our theme of qualities, we encourage our clients to incorporate KPIs related to qualities. We call them “key people indicators”.
Teams are encouraged to identify values and qualities they want their team and team members to be possess. Those are then regularly monitored. It’s kinda like taking the pulse of the team to monitor its health. If there is any variance, what ever is adversely impacting the qualities are quickly and constructively addressed. Imagine addressing issues within a team quickly and effectively!
One of the biggest weaknesses of many leaders is not addressing issues regarding employee behavior quickly.
It’s clear to see that qualities rule and they are fuel! Certain qualities act as fuel, they give life, in fact are the energy of performance. We commonly call this being “empowered”. Qualities impact motivation, engagement and provide strength emotionally, physically and spiritually.
While some qualities empower, other qualities de-energize, can drain or suppress motivation, more specifically undermine one’s life force. They are known as “disempowering”.
Let’s stop for a moment and make sure we’re clear on what is a quality. Here’s a simple dictionary definition:
a distinctive attribute or characteristic possessed by someone or something.
“he shows strong leadership qualities”
|synonyms:||feature, trait, attribute, characteristic, point, aspect, facet, side, property
“her good qualities”
In the book Power vs. Force, here are some examples of qualities and their impact:
Energizing qualities: peace, joy, love, willingness, courage, acceptance, pride, desire, understanding, patience.
De-energizing qualities: Fear (it can go either way initially, but sustained would trend toward depleting), grief, apathy, guilt, shame, despair, regret, despondency, pessimism.
Every human quality has a motivational and engagement quotient as well as a vibrational energy level that impacts ones experience, the atmosphere of a team and all the elements involved in human performance to get results.
Those vibrational levels have been gauged and documented in the book Power vs. Force – The Hidden Determinants of Human Behavior, by David Hawkins. I write more about this in the post Can You Read Human Behavior Like the Beach Boys. It is one of the differentiating elements in our practice, and one of the reasons why our work is so unique and effective.
This information, used over time and applied in real-time business situations, from what happens on the manufacturing floor to executive leadership, provides that refined sensibility to the human experience where:
> it becomes easier to detect,
> becomes easier to see the impact to the operations of a business,
> and therefore provides the motivation to quickly resolve issues.
That’s why we can quickly save our clients money while helping them make more.
A simple example is working with a dysfunctional manager. Side note: if there is one present, you’re already loosing money. We can determine if that manager can be coached to improvement fairly quickly. If not, we give our clients the confidence and clarity to terminate and then help them hire or promote a better option that can quickly grow to operational effectiveness, supporting profitability.
Without this knowledge and awareness, dysfunctional managers are allowed to stay impairing results and getting paid for it! Think about this for a moment.
Keeping a dysfunctional leader is like paying someone to help you lose money.
Does this make sense? And yet, it’s happening every day.
Qualities are the non-negotiable components of what causes an employee, leader or business to be successful– or not. And that’s why it’s critical that every leader and business owner sees and appraises their operations and performance of their employees with this information. Qualities are a business building resource.
Most leaders are conditioned to give attention to and
emphasize performance over qualities.
This is a missed opportunity.
For those unattuned to human energy, qualities and behavior, the typical leader or manager when assessing performance directs their attention towards an employee’s presence and activity, not necessarily the qualities exhibited while present and active. Those matter too. Both can impact the intended results and a company’s P/L.
For example: Let’s say you have a sales manager that directed his/her team to use specific tactics or processes known to get good results with clients. However, in the attempt to relay, teach and coach, team members are bullied, disrespected and threatened. Those leadership behaviors reflect qualities of aggression, perhaps an unhealthy ego, severe disrespect, and hostility and would certainly affect what could have been better results.
In fact, a proven formula or process could be weakened or seen as ineffective because of who and how it’s being implemented. Even a bad coach can ruin a good team.
Qualities Have Immediate, Short Term & Long Term Impact
All qualities at the outset have immediate impact for all those involved. Imagine the impact, good or bad, if sustained over a period of time. And so, we have to see qualities not only as present, but also in terms of intensity and duration and who is being affected and for how long….all of which have a financial effect.
Consider the operational impact with this in mind. Think for a moment about the positive and fairly high vibrational quality of courage. Imagine it being present in the moment….now imagine it in huge doses, strengthen over a period of time, even bolstered through exceptional challenges and circumstances. It’s safe to say, the results could be dramatic.
Now imagine a negative, low vibrational quality such as apathy being present in the moment. Now imagine it in larger doses over a period of time. Would anything get done? If nothing else, productivity would be very low and its effect could easily spread like a heavy cloud over an entire team encouraging other unhealthy, counterproductive behaviors to arise (e.g. complaining, gossiping, infighting).
The human qualities we possess and express have direct impact on everything we do — in fact our very existence — and so need to be seriously considered when leading and running a business.
Unfortunately, here’s what I’ve discovered regarding a typical leader’s relationship to qualities. They are…
- undervalued or not seen as valuable at all
- their connection to achieving desired outcomes is not understood
- not emphasized enough
- seen as all or nothing vs. measure and dimension
- not understood as they relate to human behavior
As you have learned, its to the advantage of every company that leaders at all levels learn how to see and understand the ‘human’ element of their business — that is qualities, behavior and even vibrational energy.