The charter of The Human Effectiveness Institute defines our mission as improving decision making. As you delve into our material you discover that it is clarity we aim to engender as the means to improved decisions. A clarity that is lacking due to Acceleritis and EOP.
Distraction is the agency through which Acceleritis diminishes our clarity. The control of distraction both externally and especially internally is the focus of many of our methods. But even when one is paying singlepointed attention/concentration to one thing, the Zone may be elusive.
The Zone block in that case could be motivational. If we are attached to the outcome, feel overmatched, or bored — if these types of feelings are present, they too are distractions, even if we are not consciously aware of them until someone or something brings them to our attention. Our methods are designed to help you notice these subliminal feelings in yourself sooner rather than later, with no need for something external to jog you to realize the presence of such feelings.
Mental optimization is the underlying idea behind Psychotechnology, which is our rubric for any methods that help you work better in the world through clearer decisions. Methods that move you from EOP to Observer state to the Zone.
Mental optimization is a mood — a modality of consciousness that shapes the choices consciousness makes, shapes its information processing priorities, shapes everything that consciousness does. The way large masses with their gravity shape spacetime.
Mood is a supervening variable. It is where consciousness starts out each moment before any thoughts or feelings, memories or sensory percepts, or hunches/intuitions, arise. This is why mood is the shaping governor of which specific thoughts/feelings/percepts/intuitions arise and get your attention.
If you run the show, you can create a mood of mental optimization in your organization. The list of benefits is endless. Everyone will be in a mood of enjoying the game of making everything better, each second, the way a hero/heroine does, without internal pettiness to ruin the perfect pleasure.
Organizations run enormously better this way.
It is like expanding what you do in optimizing a marketing plan (demand), and optimizing the supply chain, and optimizing the balance sheet — applied even more broadly to optimizing the entire operation.
It is also the single best thing you can do to mentor and make good on the promise of nurturing and developing your team members, bringing out the best in each one of them. Showing them the mood, getting them into the ultimate game, where they feel its gamelike fun through and through — this is the basis for which they will continually choose this mood until they wake up every day with it fully operational in their consciousness.
How do you do this? How do you get them into the mood?
It starts with you being in the mental optimization mood. Telling them it’s your new modality. Offering to share it with them. They will ask, “Okay, so what do I do first?”
You’ll tell them the first rule is to assume, as an operating principle regardless of right and wrong, that negativity inside is useless and obstructive to optimization.
You’ll have to give examples and practice this. The best examples will be closest to home. Describe how you did it yourself — something happened recently to the organization and your first feeling was anger at certain people or entities — then you quickly set that aside as not optimal and began your search for problem definitions, opportunities hidden or obvious, and solution oriented win-win action plans, including provision for major refinement based on feedback along the way. Give a few examples of how you turned a challenge into a win for the organization by not wasting time with negativity nor letting it interfere with your ability to conjure a win-win solution.
Obviously you can’t come up with perfect win-win ideas while you want someone to lose because you are mad at them.
You’re even less effective at hurting them when you are sucked into negativity. Not that we espouse hurting anybody as a reasonable goal for an organization. Just pointing out how useless and counterproductive negativity really is.
But, dear reader, I hear you thinking, “Sure, Bill, you already told us about negativity in the last post. What else is there?”
There is respect. Respect is the second principle worth sharing here. Everyone wants it. The thing that usually causes people to quit ultimately comes down to respect. Either they didn’t feel it enough, or the position somehow compromised their internal self-respect, or usually both hand in hand.
Of course most people are in EOP almost all the time, so although their true self wanted respect, the way this manifested was that their ego was wounded and/or they were attached to having their egos flattered. This was coming not from their self that was born, but rather from the software layer functionally called the ego and structurally consisting of neurons built in the brain since birth, which exhibit the robotical behavior that highjacks the mind — this is EOP.
These people could have been kept in the organization by providing them true respect in the right ways and not necessarily by fanning the flames of their ego. What is the right way to show respect? There are many, including:
- Not interrupting.
- Providing just the right degree of autonomy i.e. not micro managing.
- Not utilizing lateral second guessing as a quality control process.
- Offering suggestions in the right way i.e. aimed at optimization goals held in common by those in the conversation, and without putting down anyone else’s ideas.
Not an exhaustive list. Let’s delve more deeply into each of these just for clarity.
You should run the meetings you are in either openly or subtly. If it’s someone else’s meeting, be subtle but make sure people are always allowed to finish their thoughts (method 1). Exceptions would be the rare but obvious cases where someone is talking too much and slowing things down. In those cases be careful to use respect and ensure respect from the group to the person who is being longwinded, while keeping things moving. Often the way to do this is to offer an offline meeting with that person at a later time. At that meeting you would employ method 4 above — showing respect in the way that you offer corrective constructive feedback. Your employee will appreciate the feedback if you do it in the right way — the optimization focus with respect — not a put-down.
The optimization mood gives you permission — in fact mandates you — to tell employees the hard truth of what they are doing wrong — but with respect so they can actually appreciate it.
Flashback war story. Hal Miller, my first boss in the media business, was a great mentor and implementer of all these principles. In his training program with two other people at the time we developed full marketing communications plans for a fictitious brand. He had each of us present to him alone in conference room with him pretending to be George Washington Hill, CEO of American Tobacco Company in the 30s and early 40s. Hal’s feet were up on the conference table and there were holes in his socks. He smoked a big cigar and interrupted annoyingly five times on every flipchart.
All of 21 at the time, I was polite at first and gradually became snarky in shooting down his objections one by one by my superior understanding of the technical research underpinning my case.
Later in the hall he came up to me and said “You know you really knew your stuff, and were brave in defending your recommendations,” and at this point he pinched my cheek and looked into my eyes, “but you didn’t make us love you.” Thus he showed respect for my work while giving me feedback that I was then able to appreciate.
I won’t explain micro managing (method 2) since we all know what it is — giving a person less autonomy than is customary across all industries based on that person’s experience, title, and/or responsibilities.
Method 3 above relates to a subtler form of micro managing, where a boss has one person within the organization systematically second-guessed by peer review, as a matter of course.
All four of these methods are forms of restoring respect that has diminished within an organization as a result of sub-optimal practices slowing things down and leading to sub-optimal decisions as well as to losing employees.
So far in these posts we have covered the first three principles of creating a culture of optimization within your organization:
- State the goal of optimizing everything and everyone. Explain it, give personal examples, stay the course over time.
- Explain and follow the Negativity Rule. When broken follow the Respect Rule and bring everyone back to optimizing.
- Explain and follow the Respect Rule. When broken follow the Respect Rule in bringing it back for everyone, understanding that it is all for optimization.
The optimization mood feels better, and it’s also more fun.
Click here for a relevant sample from our book FREEING CREATIVE EFFECTIVENESS.
Best to all,