Organisational life is typically full of action and doing, and if we’re lucky the planning process before the action is well thought out. People rarely get time to stop, reflect and assess how the thinking and action feels – is my gut feeling? Why? Because we are too busy doing! So how do we get off this treadmill; out of the rat race?
In our collaborative projects we challenge the typical day to day tasks and effort expended. We slow down to go faster. We focus more on the planning process, allocating more time to consider the consequences of each person’s actions. We focus on a process that incorporates an integrated way of being and links the steps of Think-Feel-Do. The Feel in the middle is about emotion and enables congruency and healthy movement between the Think and the Do. Emotion enables motion and movement; does this feel right; will I be able to communicate this action so it is consistent with our organisational strategic intent? Can I say yes to this promise?
The congruence between the Thinking and the Doing is the capability to find the right path. The Feel part of this integrative model can be expressed as ‘eMotions’. By definition this suggests movement, the thought in motion to action. Congruent action requires the feeling as a filter. What will be the consequences of my action if it is different from what I promised?
When we get our actions right the first time there is less waste and duplicated effort; we create efficient and effective outcomes. By doing this we also look after each other and nurture a sense of trust and caring for those impacted by what do. As we repeatedly deliver on the promises we make to work colleagues and stakeholders it builds a high trust environment. In this high trust environment we have the courage to name what is not working as everyone has a lot invested in being their best. And with everyone in an organisation functioning at their best, the organisation becomes the best it can be.
The upfront planning that enables us to slow down to then go faster is supported by reflective practice, as we also know that we all get it wrong sometimes. Reflection enables a feed–back and feed-forward process that enables learning, so that we don’t make the same mistake again.
Responsibility and accountability are valuable commodities in organisational life, but mostly they are like rare gems. We can’t force someone else to be accountable, but we can engage and communicate with them, and they have the choice to step up and say “I am accountable”. Self-responsibility and accountability are essential ingredients for the high performance team.
When we do not go through a process of thinking, feeling and then action we often spend time fighting the fires created by action that has not been thought out; blind action. Sometimes we fire first and deal with the consequences later. Is it not better to ‘Ready Aim Fire’ or ‘Ready Set Go’?
The integration of the Think-Feel-Do activity is not a new concept; it is just something that has been forgotten in the pressure of daily organisational life. The Think Feel Do connection was detailed about 100 years ago by a German man, Fritz Pearles. He called it The Cycle of Awareness. In the 60s Virgina Satir referred to it as the Wheel of Consciousness.
This same integration enables an organisation to live the espoused values and behaviours. By doing this, a constructive organisational culture is created, which enables high performance work groups.
The thinking process is enabled and encapsulated by organisational systems; vision, strategic aims, policies, values and behaviours, procedures and processes, etc. The ability to be congruent with the spoken and written word is about living the values and behaviours – both the organisations and your own. The tension between your own values and behaviours and the organisation’s may be an on-going organisational conversation. The number of constructive cultures, as defined by Human Synergistics, suggests that congruence is the road less travelled in organisational life.
Current advances in neuroscience research are uncovering explanations for the mystery around terms like ‘the gut feel’, ‘heart felt’, etc. It seems that the thinking process goes on in more than just the brain. Neurological cells are being found in the heart, gut and other visceral areas. The idea of heart thinking is becoming a reality.
As part of our work to build high performance work teams we delve into emotional intelligence and investigate how we use EQ to enable and support our IQ. There are others who also talk about a Social Intelligence [SQ]. Often the biggest challenge is to develop the emotional self–awareness to nurture empathy and understanding. This emotional self–awareness can begin simply by observing what we feel and how that changes depending on what is happening in our professional and personal lives.
The Hay Group offer Emotional and Social Competence Inventory [ESCI] assessments. This includes 12 competencies that are bundled into the areas of self–awareness, awareness of the other, self–management and relationship management. Interestingly, one of the 12 competencies is ‘Achievement Orientation’, which is driven by what you achieve at work; delivering on your aims and goals. This is obviously a result of what you do and not about what you feel.
In conclusion, one of the paths to be being real, responsible and congruent is to filter the thinking process through emotions [feelings] by considering, reflecting and living into the actions you want to take before you take that action. After you take action you reflect; were there any negative consequences not considered beforehand? The organisational challenge is to reflect on the past so you learn from things that do not work as well as they can. Understand the root cause of this undesired outcome and ensure you do not continue to repeat it. Make the future better by learning from the past.
Congruent action enables on–going engagement and creates an upward spiral in organisational energy. A high trust environment becomes the norm. Remember, a motivated person is always more productive.