Monday, March 23, 2015

Using Emotional Energy to Inspire

In the boardroom at 3M headquarters in the fourth quarter 1995 after putting a $650 million worth magnetic-storage business, the benefits director drew an iceberg. Inside the tip, the part exposed above the water, he wrote absenteeism, medical expenses, technology, facilities, tech training, quality control and benchmarking. Below the waterline – on the submerged 90 percent of the iceberg – he wrote tension, energy, stress, personal wellness and lifestyle, interpersonal skills and creativity. Below this he wrote a series of question marks.

It is that time of the year in companies and maybe some companies the time has come and gone, when we do the annual performance appraisals of employees and I dare say the most traumatic part of their work year. “Why is this so?”

I am sure that there has been enough of research and debate around the topic and the 3M instances just influenced me to put in my two bits to the plethora of information that is already available. I am approaching the topic from the Emotional Intelligence angle.

In my personal view the 10% above the water is what I would like to call as the ‘Drama’ that which is visible to the external environment and is an indicator of the companies well being. The 90% below the water line is what I call the ‘Story’, which is hidden and very often not given its ‘due importance’. Do pay attention that I have said due importance.

In the current context the Drama is priority forgetting the Story which leaves the employee often frustrated because all the challenges that he is facing stems from the 90% and a sustained focus is lacking here.

Any attention to the 90% paid is more through a ‘spray and pray’ form of skill based training whose effects have a highly limited period of retention let alone implementation.

We need to understand that the pain points mentioned in the 90% all have an emotional component attached to it and when we try and deal with it as a skill gap, the results are what they are, dismal.

Using Emotional Intelligence as a means to address the emotional component of employee challenges would lead to changes that are more effective and lasting. We need to understand that any situation that we deal with in our everyday interaction has an underlying emotional element attached to it, the more we deny it the stronger it gets.

The said emotion has a corresponding energy woven to it that can be used for the good of both the individual good as well as for the collective good.

New age Emotional Intelligence is defined as, “a set of emotional and social skills that influence the way we perceive and express ourselves, develop and maintain social relationships, cope with challenges, and use emotional information in an effective and meaningful way.”

When these emotional and social skills are channelized the resultant energy can result in brek-through performances both at an individaul as well as at a organizational level.

Going forward as a developmental tool for this year, look at what ‘Emotional Energy’ can do to build emotional engagement for and individual both personally and professionally.

Remember that the Story supports the drama and not the other way round!

References: Executive EQ: Robert K. Cooper and Ayman Sawar, EQi 2.0 – Multi-Health Systems

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