Posts Tagged organizational development
Happy Holidays from BizPsych! We typically have several requests this time of year to present our “Thriving with the Holidays” seminar for client companies. Surprisingly, this year we have had only one request, from our sister division in Las Vegas. Is it possible that there may be less acute stress this year in many organizations? Is there still much stress, but no time? Perhaps our past years’ efforts have cured all holiday stress (Nice fantasy…)? The holidays are a wonderful time for so many of us. Yet, for many people, the holidays bring an increased stress level that can take away from that delight. For some it’s actually a depressing time of year for a variety of reasons.
The cornerstone of our recommendation about coping or thriving with holiday stress has to do with setting balanced and reasonable expectations of ourselves and of others. There are cultural expectations that can lead to stress and disillusionment, i.e. “we should all be blissfully happy, have beautiful and significant presents for all, and be ever cheerful.” This probably does not work for all of us 100%. We can, however make meaning, be grateful, have authentic interactions, and celebrate what we believe in. One of the ways we can accomplish this is to set meaningful and realistic expectations for the holidays.
A number of years ago I worked out an optimal holiday stress management strategy formula called “Holiday Stress Math.” It is not rocket science, so please enjoy:
Holiday Stress Math
Holiday Stress is a function of: Expectations (E) vs. What Really Happens (WRH)
If E are H (High) and > WRH = HS (High Stress Holiday)
If E are L (Low) and < WRH = LS but DOL (Low Stress) (Depends on Luck)
If E are L (Low) and = WRH = LS but NGT! (Low Stress) (Negative Good Time)
If E are H (High) and = WRH = MS, PGT but HRI(Medium Stress) (Positive Good Time) (High Risk Investment)
BPRE (Best Possible, Realistic Expectation) = WRH(What Really Happens) = GRE (Good, Realistic Holiday)
Have a meaningful and reasonable stress holiday.
Peace and Joy,
Vice President, BizPsych
In the past, I have had a hard time remembering how daylight savings worked. Why? Because I would always recall the time I insisted on wearing my tennis shoes to go bowling and I flew down the alley and landed flat on my face. In my mind, falling was forever synonymous with falling forward and making face plants. Hence, the reason why I‘ve had such a hard time learning (and remembering) that it was fall backward and spring forward.
Then, I finally came up with an easy way to make the distinction clear. The word “fall” has four letters in it and so does the word “back.” Ever since I discovered this handy-dandy way to remember, I’ve been able to get it right!
Now that we’re into daylight savings time, I’ve had to ask myself:
Are there any other areas of my life that could benefit from a slight recalibration?
Am I getting a less than desirable outcome than I would prefer? And if so, is it because I am perpetually stuck in thinking the same way in a given situation?
Do I need to change my perspective and see things in a different light?
Is there a better way for me to think about things that would make my life easier and create less heart burn? Am I still making unnecessary “face plants” because of my stubbornness?
Daylight savings creates a slight shift. The nights become longer and the days become shorter. We’re reminded that the holidays are just around the corner. We start to notice that the mornings are a little chillier while the grass and car windows show slight signs of frost. We grab our sweat shirts and start looking for our favorite sweaters. We even begin to notice the displays in the grocery store are different. There are multiple signs and signals shouting: “change is in the air!”
So, I ask, “Why wait until the New Year comes to make resolutions that promote positive change and wellbeing?” Daylight savings is a great reminder that we can always make recalibrations and adjustments and, there is always time to make a slight shift to get a more desirable outcome. How often do you feel as if you’ve just won the lottery because you’ve been given the luxurious “gift of time?” Even though it’s just a slight move on the clock’s hand that creates the change, I encourage you to think of it as an invitation; an invitation to stir things up a little, create a shift in your thinking, change your rhythms, and challenge your beliefs. Then, during the long hours of the night, as you watch the hands on the clock go by, you can celebrate all of your successes that will make it easier to spring forward into action the next time we change the hands of time.
Just remember, if your organization needs a few recalibrations or you want support with making a few refinements the professionals at BizPsych are here to support you with executive coaching, training, and organizational development.
Marcia Kent, MS
I recently attended an annual dinner/forum for a local non-profit group which focused on Drug Abuse Prevention. We’ve all heard, or experienced first-hand, the devastating effects of drug abuse on family, employment, education, and just about every other facet of human life. What we don’t always hear about are the amazing efforts by some making an incredible impact on prevention. By taking small steps to identify risk factors, especially for our youth, we can have a tremendous impact. At the forum, one of the panelists made a great point about how parents and doctors don’t ask the difficult questions, and often times because they are afraid of the answer, or maybe they are suffering themselves. Why do our doctors have no problem asking us about our diets and suggesting cholesterol screenings, but very seldom ask us a simple question like, “How are you feeling emotionally?” or, “Does your child seem to be fitting in, and participating in a healthy way?” When we look at diabetes and heart disease compared to major depression or substance abuse disorders only a small fraction of those suffering from behavioral disorders are actually being diagnosed and treated compared with their medical counterparts.
As the prescription drug epidemic continues to rise we need to do more in the area of prevention. Here are some wonderful resources for prescription drug abuse prevention from our friends at Peer Assistance Services:
Manager, Business Development
In over 35 years of working with people on making change, improving their performance, and living more fully it is still interesting to me how many people persist in doing the same self-defeating actions over and over despite saying they want to improve, grow, or change for the better (whatever that means). So the following are four questions worth asking yourself if you want to improve your performance in some area of your life.
- Situation Questions – Tell me about your life? How is it working now?
- Problem Questions – Can we be specific about what is not working? Are you concerned about your current quality of performance?
- Implication Questions – What happens if you don’t do something different?
- Need-Payoff Questions – If you act and it improves – how does that impact your life?
Take time to reflect on these questions, write down your answers, and be curious about where this may take you. If you find yourself resisting the questions or process, look more deeply into that instead.
It’s up to you….as they say “no one can do your push-ups for you.”
Exchange love and happiness with everyone you meet today.
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist
The book, Spark, by John J. Ratey, M.D. is the holy grail of research applications related to the interaction of exercise, neuroplasticity, and performance. The information on brain chemistry changes in the areas of learning, addictions, anxiety, depression, women’s issues, ADHD, and aging is priceless. The essence of the book is that the data indicated the brain is able to create new neuronal connections, grow new nerve cells throughout life, manage major psychological conditions, pain conditions, and learning is significantly enhanced through exercise. Ratey stated that “exercise is the single most powerful tool you have to optimize your brain function”- based on hundreds of research studies (p.245). Ratey suggested that the more fit you get (regardless of where you start), the “ more resilient your brain becomes and the better it functions both cognitively and psychologically. If you get your body in shape, your mind will follow” (p. 247).
How much is enough? Ratey stated that walking is enough. Low-intensity exercise is at 55 to 65% of maximum heart rate, moderate is 65-75% and high intensity is 75-90%. “The process of getting fit is all about building up your aerobic base” (p.251). Ratey goes on to discuss the role of strength training and flexibility as important elements of optimizing your brain chemistry and hormone levels.
What does this have to do with optimizing your performance at work and in all areas of your life? Everything! Get started today and stick with it.
Have a day filled with optimal brain chemistry,
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist
Our BizPsych monthly blog posts for 2011 have followed our sister company, MINES and Associates, with their monthly wellness themes. It has been an ever interesting exercise to create an organizational focus based on individual and family themes such as nutrition, education, and addictions – always requiring an interesting stretch (like professional yoga).
This month’s wellness theme is “Family TLC” and focuses on care giving. I was particularly perplexed by where the intersection might be between this topic and organizational development. As always, it has led to a number of interesting possibilities, perhaps resulting in more questions than answers.
First of all, it makes me think of the aging process of the organization itself, and who takes care of the “declining” or dying organization. Scores of organizational life cycle theories provide a highly useful perspective of the comparisons of individual human development with the life cycle of organizations. There are fascinating deviations in the terms and approaches to organizational life cycles, but essentially, most theories look at the life cycle of organizations as consisting of progressive phases: startup, birth and infancy, growth, maturity, decline, and death or renewal/redevelopment. It is the last three phases that stretch the notion of care giving.
These theories sometimes differ in whether the last stage is death or renewal. In some theories, the notion is that as organizations go beyond maturity they go into decline towards death and if they don’t find ways to innovate they will die – i.e., close doors, fail financially, or are sold. In other theories the order is decline, renewal, and then death. In essence all organizations eventually die. This may be true, however, most organizations are driven by the belief that they need to survive. This is also true of individuals and families and yet we finally come to acceptance that our family members will die. In healthy families, when there is a serious health decline, family members step in to provide the care giving. More often than not, the care is assisted or even coordinated by outside professionals. In the case of organizations, who is it that provides care when the organization goes into decline? By default, the care giving must come from the same leaders who are experiencing the decline. In some instances, there is a governing board that has enough distance to manage the care. Sometimes, the board is at the heart of the decline. Care giving in families is typically challenging and complex – yet care giving in declining organizations is additionally challenged by this lack of separation.
What are the implications of this metaphoric view of the organizational lifespan development?
- It behooves organizational leaders to be knowledgeable and familiar with lifespan theory and have a good understanding of what is needed to care for each phase of the cycle.
- When experiencing decline or challenges at any phase it is often helpful and necessary to utilize professional consultation and help in order to manage change and “care giving.”
- As in families, leaders and employees must focus first on staying healthy themselves to have the ability to provide the care that is necessary to the organization in order for it to either renew or die with dignity.
Patrick J. Hiester, MA, LPC
Vice President of BizPsych
Dan Siegel, M.D., has described a system as an integration of energy and information. In his lectures and recordings, he goes on to say that this is the one time in his life he was able to get 30 academicians to agree on something.
This definition has significant implications for the psychology of performance at the individual as well as the organizational level. If difficult people in our organizations are those whose behavior, cognition, or affect interfere with the integration of information and/or energy, then we now have another schema to interpret the situation and the impact on the system. For example, if someone is depressed, their energy is lower. How does this present itself in the work group and what effect does the lower energy have on the group’s energy as a whole? We know from the social psychology of comparison, emotional contagion, and the neurology of mirror neurons that the other team members’ energy will be lowered and therefore the productivity of the team may be lower. The converse is also true. In this situation, what if there is too much energy going into the system? If there is a workaholic team member, the team will experience stress, potential energy overload, and subsequent burnout or turnover.
How does information affect a system? Information is central to a system self-regulating – whether it’s the pace and flow of patients through a medical facility, financial information, or any set of data incorporated into a dashboard. If the information is late, corrupt, or in any way not accessible performance can suffer significantly. What if there is too much information? In this case, there is an extensive body of research on choices essentially stating that the more choices a person has beyond 3-5; the more inefficient they will be in making a decision – up to and including not deciding at all. In most of the organizations we consult with, the leadership has to make complex decisions regarding ill-structured problems on a regular basis. The quality and quantity of the information just keeps flowing and the decision makers may not have the opportunity to step back and evaluate what they really need to lead the organization while finding themselves in analysis paralysis.
Take the time to step back and evaluate your organization or individual performance from this perspective and see if it provides you with some new insights. Let us know what you discover.
Have a day filled with love and happiness,
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist