Posts Tagged Training
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
One of the theories that has impacted my consulting most profoundly over the last several years comes from the work of the Arbinger Institute. The two books from this group have helped guide me to a vision of the absolute practical and financial benefits of collaboration in the workplace. The books are: “The Anatomy of Peace – Resolving the Heart of Conflict,” and “Leadership and Self Deception – Getting out of the Box.” This work offers a relatively unique perspective of how and why collaboration can break down in our relationships. In both of these books it is suggested that when we engage in any act of self betrayal, i.e., acting in any way against our own sense of what is the right thing to do in any given situation, we naturally begin creating a path of self-deception. We begin fooling ourselves in a way that impedes objectivity and truth. An act of self-betrayal may be anything from not going out of our way to help someone who may be in need of our help, to not honestly confronting someone or a situation when appropriate, to not acknowledging the truth of a situation. According to Arbinger, when we engage in an act of self betrayal we automatically begin justifying our action. We begin to amplify our own virtues and extend blame to others. We end up in what Arbinger describes as a “box.” The box is a lens through which we objectify others in order to justify ourselves. This is the concept of self deception; we are seeing others through a distorted lens due to our need to justify our own actions. We are not truly seeing them objectively, but amplify their faults and our virtues. We know we are in a box when we objectify others.
I believe most of us end up in this situation at times. Beyond the Arbinger concept I believe we may end up “in the box” for other reasons than self betrayal, such as disappointments or negative experiences with others. Regardless of the cause, I agree that we are “in the box” when we objectify others. This happens in traffic all the time. Think about it – have you ever called someone you don’t even know a name because you were frustrated by their driving (or just by the darn traffic jam)? Do we objectify our leaders or our subordinates in the workplace when they don’t live up to our expectations? The “us/them” that occurs in many workplaces is a process of objectification and justification.
A further concept from Arbinger is that when we are in a “box,” we enter into collusion with others in which we invite the very behaviors we least want from them. If instead of supporting my co-worker, I regularly correct them, they may begin to resist me. I may in fact, know more than they do and have valuable things to teach them. However, instead of focusing on their success – helping things go right for them, I focus on correcting what they do “wrong.” I may begin to see them as inferior or disinterested. When I do this, I invite greater resistance. The more they resist, the less they learn and the more I have to correct and the more I see them as a problem. This is a circle of collusion in which we are both inviting the very behaviors from one another we least want. This is the opposite of collaboration. Collusion is working around our perceived deficits of others. Collaboration is bringing out the best in one another in partnership.
The Arbinger theory encourages us to take responsibility for our own box, to get out of our box, focus on helping things go right vs. focusing on correcting others, and to stay out of the box by practicing and acting according to what we know is right.
Once in a training program in which I was describing the Arbinger theory, one of the participants asked me this: “Is it possible for a group to be in a box with an individual or another group?” WOW! What a concept – think about different departments in a workplace that could potentially get into boxes with one another – Sales and Operations, Accounting and Business Development, R&D and I.T. Is there ever generalized objectification and justification between these groups? Do they ever collude in inviting the very behaviors they don’t want from the other? Then we think about even bigger realities like religion and politics…
In my next blog I will examine the Arbinger model applied to groups and politics.
Patrick Hiester MA, LPC
Vice President of BizPsych
References: “Leadership and Self Deception: Getting out of the Box,” “The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict.” The Arbinger Institute. Berrett-Koehler Publishers Inc.
A couple of months ago, we had the exciting opportunity to begin development of the new BizPsych website. BizPsych works with companies that have experienced difficulty in the workplace from Impaired Executives, to Managerial Hierarchy, and more. The sister company of MINES, we often work in conjunction with one another to provide a more robust offering for our client companies.
We are pleased to announce the unveiling of that site. BizPsych.com now includes a series of white papers that will be updated regularly, opportunities to learn more about what BizPsych does, as well as an opportunity to connect with the experts. We hope that this will give our clients and prospective clients a more fulfilling and enriched experience.