Tag: Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence and Teams

Posted on 11/07/15 by Aidan

autonomy1For the past twenty years, important research has been done in organizations that backs up the claims made in the nineties relating to Emotional Intelligence and its importance by Goleman and many others. Research has shown that feelings and emotions have a direct impact on effectiveness, efficiency and ultimately the bottom line.

Emotional Intelligence has been shown to lead to better customer retention and long term customer relationships, and improved: Trust, Engagement, Influencing, Collaboration, Communication, Decision Making and Change Capability it also leads to Reduced Conflict.

Numerous studies explore the financial implication of emotional intelligence; particularly how higher EQ leaders produce more powerful business results. One such study tested 186 executives on EQ and compared their scores with their company’s profitability; leaders who scored higher in key aspects of emotional intelligence (including empathy and accurate self-awareness) were more likely to be highly profitable.  Leadership and Organization Development Journal 2009

Looking at the emotional intelligence of teams is important because most of the work in organizations today is done by teams. Leaders have a pressing need today to make teams work together better.

Modern businesses thrive when using teams to organize the work. Teams have more talent and experience, more diversity of resources, and greater operating flexibility than individual performers. Research in the last decade has proven the superiority of group decision-making over that of even the brightest individual in
the group. But the exception to this rule is when the group lacks harmony or the ability to cooperate. Then decision-making quality and speed suffer.

The important difference between effective teams and ineffective ones lies in the emotional intelligence of  the group. Teams have an emotional intelligence of their own. It is comprised of the emotional intelligence of individual members, plus a collective competency of the group. Everyone contributes to the overall level of emotional intelligence, and the leader has more influence. The good news is that teams can develop greater emotional intelligence and boost their performance.Teamwork performance improved by 25% in terms of goal achievement over standard functioning teams.

Most research has focused on identifying the tasks and processes that make teams successful. But just learning a script won’t make a good actor great; the actor has to be able to deliver the lines with real feeling. A piano student can learn the music of Bach, but she has to be able to play with heart to be really good. Successful teams can apply the principles of effective task processes, but they must also work together wholeheartedly.

Trust, Identity and Efficacy

In an article entitled “Building the Emotional Intelligence of groups,” Vanessa Urch Druskat and Steven B. Wolff (Harvard Business Review, March 2001) identify three conditions essential to a group’s effectiveness:

  • Trust among members
  • A sense of group identity
  • A sense of group efficacy

To be most effective, the team needs to create emotionally intelligent norms — the attitudes and behaviors that eventually become habits — that support behaviors for building trust, group identity and group efficacy. Group identity is described as a feeling among members that they belong to a unique and worthwhile group. A sense of group efficacy is the belief that the team can perform well and that group members are more effective working together than apart.

Group emotional intelligence is not a question of catching emotions as they bubble up and then suppressing them. It involves courageously bringing feelings out into the open and dialoging about how they affect the team’s work. If emotions are avoided, there is a false or superficial tone that “everything’s just fine.” Groups cannot work together without having personalities that butt up against each other. Admitting to this is the first step in clarifying and finding common ground upon which to move forward.

Group emotional intelligence is also about behaving in ways that build relationships both inside and outside the team. Building relationships strengthens the team’s ability to face challenges. In order to strengthen relationships, the group must feel safe to be able to explore, embrace and ultimately to rely on emotions in work. Emotions must be considered for the good of the group. Feelings count, but then there are the tasks at hand and the work that needs to be done. Team leaders must constantly balance harmony with productivity.

A team’s effectiveness can depend on how well it works together in harmony. A leader skilled in creating good feelings can keep cooperation high. Good team leaders know how to balance the focus on productivity with attention to member’s relationships and their ability to connect. There is even research that shows that humor at work can stimulate creativity, open lines of communications and enhance a sense of trust. Playful joking increases the likelihood of concessions during a negotiation. Emotionally intelligent team leaders know how to use humor and playfulness with their teams.

Creating good moods in employees may be even more important than previously thought. It is common sense to see that workers who feel upbeat will go the extra mile to please customers and therefore improve the bottom line. There is research to show that for every 1 percent improvement in the service climate, there’s a 2 percent increase in revenue. New research from a range of industries now reaffirms the link between leadership and climate and to business performance. According to Daniel Goleman in Primal Leadership (2002), how people feel about working at a company can account for 20 to 30 percent of business performance.

Part of understanding the emotional reality of a team is uncovering the particular habits ingrained in a team or organization that can drive behaviors. A prime example is the notion of “It’s just the way we do things here.” The team leader is effective when he or she looks for signs that reveal if such habits are working or not. It is the leader’s job to explore and expose unhealthy work habits in order to build more effective group norms.

In any group, people will eventually cross lines and confrontation becomes necessary. There must be a means for doing this that is firm yet not demeaning. The team leader sets the tone for this because of the position he or she is in. Caring confrontation is an art that can be learned and taught to both leaders and members. The use of humor can be very effective as a means for bringing errant members back into the group fold. The message is, “We want you as part of this group, your contributions are needed.”

These are the group norms that build trust and a sense of group identity for members: interpersonal understanding, perspective taking, confrontation and caring. They can be learned and developed wherever they don’t exist naturally. It may take some time and attention, but they are too important to be overlooked. Teams are at the very foundation of organizational effectiveness and they won’t work without mutual trust and common commitment to goals.

Building self-managing teams

One of the first tasks of a team leader is to build greater team awareness. This is the job of each individual member of the team, as well, but the leader’s job is to instill a sense of responsibility individuals for the well-being of the team. In order to do so, Cary Cherniss, chair of a well-known research group on emotional intelligence, puts forth ground rules for teams. Everyone on the team should take responsibility for:

  • Keeping us on track if we get off track
  • Facilitating group input
  • Raising questions about procedures, asking for clarification about where we are going and offering summaries of issues being discussed to make sure we have a shared understanding
  • Using good listening skills to build on the ongoing discussion or to clearly signal that we want to change the subject, and ask if that is okay

This is an example of how a leader can create a self-managing team. What is important for the leader, emphasizes Cherniss, is to remind the group of its collaborative norms by making them explicit. Everyone can practice them because they are upfront and repeated at each meeting.

Clearly the setting forth of core values and operating norms is important to ensure that a team works smoothly together. But like most things, they must be repeated again and again. When values and norms are clear, teams can go about their work even in the absence of the leader.
In self-aware self-managing teams, members hold each other accountable for sticking to norms. It takes a strong emotionally intelligent leader to hold the team to such responsibility. Many teams are not accustomed to proactively handling emotions and habits. And many leaders have difficulty stepping out of the role of director in order to let teams self-direct.

However, when the values and norms are clear, and self-management principles are explicit and practiced over time, teams become not only effective, but also self-reinforcing. Being on the team leads to positive emotions that energize and motivate people.

Every company faces specific performance challenges for which teams are the most practical and powerful vehicle. The critical challenge for senior managers is how to develop emotionally intelligent teams that can deliver maximum performance. Teams have a unique potential to deliver results, and executives must foster self-managing and emotionally intelligent teams that will be effective. In doing so, top management creates the kind of environment that enables teams as well as individuals to thrive. So the Organisation can thrive.

Emotional Intelligence: Forget Business School – Why An Emotional Education Is Indispensible

Posted on 07/31/14 by Aidan

Where is the HBS for emotional intelligence?

Most people still equate intelligence to academia, the power your brain has to process and remember information and your ability to draw conclusions from fact and data. But it is painfully obvious that there is much more to intelligence than just raw IQ.

How many people do you know who are academically brilliant and have degrees from the best schools, but have not managed to become successful in their professional or personal lives, despite having had many opportunities handed to them? How many times have you come across an employee who is brilliant and excels at the skill set required, but is so incapable of communicating or listening that he thwarts his own growth? How many times have you thought: “How did this idiot become so successful?” Often, the answer is linked to emotional intelligence.

What Is Emotional Intelligence?

Emotional intelligence is the ability to identify, understand, use, manage and control emotions. This not only comprises our own emotions but also those of others, including their motivations and desires. Throughout your life, from childhood to adulthood, your level of emotional intelligence affects your behavior and interaction with others: your family, your friends, your colleagues, people you don’t know, those you respect, those you want to gain respect from, those you want to impress, those you need, people you fear, people you love. Your level of emotional intelligence will determine how good you are at engaging with others and drawing them to you.

Like many children, I grew up being told by my teachers throughout school that being the best in academics, being intellectually curious and working hard would make me successful. Therefore, as a diligent student, I collected the honors and academic brand names one after the other to put on my resume. And do not get me wrong, I am very proud of my achievements. Institutions like Stanford University and Harvard Business School have been invaluable in my growth and the path that I have taken, not only because of the classes but also because they connected me with some of the most admirable people I know. However, when faced with life’s personal and professional challenges, I do not find myself relying on the teachings from those institutions as much as I find myself having to draw from my emotional understanding of my environment and of myself.

According to the Emotional and Social Competency Inventory published by the Hay Group, emotional intelligence is defined by four fundamental attributes: Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, and Relationship Management. I strongly believe that it is by developing all of these that we become more successful and fulfilled people.

Self-awareness is about knowing yourself and being able to assess your own emotions.

When you are able to understand why you respond a certain way to a situation, you are then able to manage it better and avoid the stress and discomfort that comes with it. The other source of self-awareness is an understanding of the way others respond to you. This is a difficult skill to grow because we naturally tend to see what we want to see. But being aware of your impact on others allows you to better motivate and lead them, which is an indispensable trait of a successful leader.

Self-management is your ability to control impulsive feelings.

It is your ability to adapt to changing situations while staying positive without reacting to them quickly. This is particularly important as an entrepreneur when you are constantly faced with new challenges. Managing your impulses is the only way to tackle challenges successfully and prevent yourself from feeling overwhelmed. In practical terms, this can translate to taking a cool-off period before responding to an investor who may have upset you, or taking the time to explain a problem to an employee instead of telling her off in front of the team.

Social awareness is the ability to understand the needs and concerns of others.

It requires a high level of empathy and will enable you to recognize power dynamics. People who are socially aware are able to relate to others and to draw them in. They know how to make every individual feel special, understood and respected. As an entrepreneur, if you are trying to build a team and motivate people, you need to be socially aware in order to create and foster a culture in which your team can grow in a healthy way.

Finally, relationship management is the ability to nurture relationships and inspire people. It is the capacity to influence others and defuse conflicts. For this you need to have developed self-awareness, self-management and social awareness. This is the attribute that leaders most share. Inspiring others comes naturally to them and because people believe in these strong leaders, they are more likely to overcome challenges for them.

Where do you learn Emotional Intelligence?

None of these attributes are taught in school. There is no official track one can follow to improve them. And yet they are integral to success and self-fulfillment. I have focused here on their professional impact, but it is easy to draw parallels to one’s personal life. Ever since I started Boticca with my business partner, it has been blatantly obvious to me that it is almost impossible to be a successful entrepreneur without high emotional intelligence. This is even more significant today, when teams are cross-cultural and businesses are global, thus increasing the complexity in the nuances of how emotions are expressed. Yet where does one learn how to hone it?

People I know with high emotional intelligence have often developed it thanks to their families. Their parents are themselves highly emotionally intelligent and have taught them as children through dinner conversations, through the simple observation of their interactions with others or through their direct coaching. They also surround themselves with friends with similarly high emotional intelligence. I see that with my successful entrepreneur friends who openly discuss issues of self-awareness and relationship management amongst themselves. Organizations such as EO or YPO try to encourage the development of emotional intelligence by creating environments where young leaders feel comfortable enough to discuss these issues. But this only comes along when you have already reached a certain level of success and awareness.

So, without a strong support system of family, friends or mentors to teach you and help you grow your emotional intelligence, what are you supposed to do? This is such a critical component of success and yet it is mostly ignored. Where is the Harvard Business School equivalent for emotional education? Why shouldn’t you prepare for emotional conflicts and management while you prepare for a career in business? Until someone opens the University of Emotional Intelligence or creates a curriculum for it, we’re stuck learning exclusively through the School of Life.

Original Article by Avid Larizadeh  in Forbes.com

Employee Engagement needs Emotional Leadership

Posted on 05/24/12 by Aidan

It was just over five years ago I was talking to corporates about employee engagement and ways to engender it. Some interesting strategies on rewards and remuneration were around and some of the incentive or “points” reward systems were in place. In Ireland in particular, high employment meant getting and securing suitable employees was a challenge.  And keeping them was a high priority especially after training costs and the costs of actually employing them were taken into account. In high turnover industries like call centres – staff would move for the slightest increase in salary and often companies would find themselves hiring back employees who had left –one year later at a much higher hourly rate.

Things have changed. Unemployment is high, savings are low, property is where it is and there is an idea out there that people are happy to “have jobs” and can be treated less well.  Not true. I have noticed that key performers for the Sales and IT functions for example, are often hard to locate in Ireland currently. A number of businesses I work with find these positions hard to fill – with the right people.

While there have been a lot of cutbacks the retained staff in organisations have to do more, have a wider brief (requiring more training and key skills) and own more intellectual capital than heretofore. Assuming that those that are currently engaged are performers it is more critical than ever to keep them and their key skills. Not only is retention required but in this “New Economy” they need to be operating at their full potential in a way that is sustainable and positive. They need to be “Engaged”.

Employee engagement means employees  being involved in, and enthusiastic about their work, who consistently act in ways that further their company’s interests without reward or external motivational factors. Engagement is distinctively different from employee satisfaction, motivation and organisational culture and contributes directly to shareholder value (the bottom line folks!)

While Engagement is distinctively different, it is driven by satisfaction, motivation and culture – as well as a sense of belonging and being valued. It is about passion, for your job, your team, your brand and what the company is trying to achieve. And passion is more than a number. Passion is an emotion.

To engage employees and get them passionate one must use passion and communicate passion and act passionately. One must communicate on an emotional level with people – because to get them passionate you must connect emotionally. As a leader it’s a considerable advantage to be emotionally intelligent. To engender world class performance you must work with people on an intellectual level and an emotional level. I also think to be at its best there needs to be an instinctual or gut level connection.

The results of using the three levels and particularly the underdeveloped emotional level are been seen as having huge impact in organisations. Being emotionally Intelligent is not about being emotional, but of being able to understand your own and others emotions and act accordingly. Through understanding how you are, how others are, how empathy works and understanding how to communicate with this understanding.

Your key employees can resonate with positive emotions if you lead them in this way. This resonance passes through the organisation like ripples on a pond engaging other employees and customers too after all – they are never more enamoured with your company than your people are.

It starts with Leadership. They are the core. They can be the stones dropped into the still pond to send out ripples of energy, motivation and positivity impacting all your people and your results. To the spreadsheet lovers out there – that’s “leveraging your Human Capital to deliver bottom line results and shareholder value!”

Aidan Higgins

Leadership and Emotional Intelligence Development.

Posted on 01/25/12 by admin

In 2012 it is widely accepted that Emotional Intelligence gives an advantage in the achievement of “success” and is more important than IQ. This is especially true for Leadership and its importance improves the higher up the organisation an individual goes.

From Darwin to the present, most descriptions, definitions and conceptualizations of emotional intelligence have included one or more of the following components:
(a) The ability to recognize, understand and express emotions and feelings.
(b) The ability to understand how others feel and relate with them.
(c) The ability to manage and control emotions.
(d) The ability to manage change, adapt and solve problems of a personal and interpersonal nature.
(e) The ability to generate positive affect and be self-motivated.

Emotional Intelligence is broken down into competences which are categorised by Goleman into Dimensions: Self-Awareness, Self-Regulation, Motivation, Empathy and Social Skills.

All agree that Emotional Intelligence can be learned and improved. There is debate however, as to how much it can be improved.
Higgs and Dulewicz contend that only some competences can be improved and of these only some by training – the others by experience.
Goleman suggests a different type of training is required. Organizations need to make accessible a mode of learning that is appropriate to the emotional intelligence domain these abilities can be improved. I carried out Academic research on a significant statistical population in 2007 which concluded that Emotional Intelligence can be improved substantially using the correct approach.

As it’s a different part of the brain that needs to be retrained one can’t improve these abilities in the same way that you learn technical expertise. So the appropriate mode is a requirement of successful outcome. Adapting from Goleman, Bytazis & McKee (2002) one can derive a 5 step model:

  • Define who you want to be
  • Define who you are now
  • Define how you get to who you want to be.
  • Plan to make the changes stick.
  • Identify who can help and support you.

My own experience and research contends that Emotional Intelligence can be developed through innovative and specific one to one or group training. The learning is not however like academic learning and revolves around processes which change the way you look at yourself, feel about yourself and engage with the world around you. Aristotle once said “We are what we repeadly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit”. How true!

Aidan Higgins

Overview of the Origins of the Enneagram

Posted on 01/04/12 by admin

Much of the development of the ideas of the Enneagram in the modern sense is attributed to Gurdjieff (b. 1875) – a Greek Armenian working in the early 20th Century (Riso and Hudson 1999, Lapid-Bogda 2004, Kale and Shrivastava 2002) who is credited with assembling the first parts of the Enneagram from Eastern traditions. This work was built on researched by and added to from various classical and spiritual teachings by Oscar Ichazo a Bolivian Philosopher (Riso and Hudson 1999, Lapid-Bogda 2004, Kale and Shrivastava 2002, Maitri 2005) following his travels and was synthesised formally into a “system” in the mid 1950s.

We see the world through our type.

It is derived from the (Riso and Hudson 1999) “nine divine attributes as they are reflected in human nature” and these ideas are originally attributed to the Neo-Platonists and appeared in Plotinus’s writings “the Enneads” (3rd Century AD). According to Goldberg (1999) the Enneagram is very old. He claims Homer (ca 750BCE) knew the nine basic themes essentially as they are today.

Riso and Hudson (1999) explain that they found their way into the Christian Tradition as the seven deadly sins (to match the seven sacraments) and two others – fear and deceit. Ichazo traced early ideas about the nine divine attributes from Greece to the “desert fathers of the fourth century” who first developed the concept of the seven deadly sins and from there into medieval literature including the “Canterbury Tales” and Dante’s “Purgatorio”. Following studies of the Jewish tradition of the Kaballah and in particular “the tree of life” Ichazo assembled the basic template of the Enneagram as it is known today.

Helen Palmer in an interview posted on www.ennea.com (1997) echoes this clarifying that the roots of the Enneagram are in the mystical wings of many sacred traditions. These roots are also found in Sufism (the mystical wing of Islam) and in the Judaic tradition however the Enneagram is especially prominent in the Christian tradition through the study of the seven capital tendencies. These in company with two generic or general tendencies that all types hold in common bring the total to nine.

In 1970 a noted Chilean Psychiatrist Claudio Naranjo (Palmer 1995, Maitri 2005, Riso and Hudson 1996) who was developing a program of Gestalt Therapy (the client is encouraged to experience his or her own feelings and behaviours in the here and now) was taught by Ichazo in Chile about the nine types or as he called them “ego fixations”. Returning to California he began to teach the enneagram with other psychological systems and began correlating the Enneagram with the psychiatric categories he was familiar with thereby expanding the concept.

Working with private groups initially Naranjo began to teach a version of the Enneagram in the Oral tradition and it spread rapidly from there through Naranjo’s Students, enthusiasts and the Jesuit retreat houses.

Wagner, Palmer and Riso were students of Naranjo and became the foremost thinkers on the Enneagram. Their work since the 1970s has added to the understanding of the Enneagram and with Naranjo’s work this has added a dept of experiential learning and understanding to the Psychological framework. According to Cutting and Kouzmin (2004) the Enneagram typology itself has been built up from experience and observing it over a long period of time.

Jerome Wagner PHD and author of the Enneagram Spectrum of Personality Styles (1996) summarises the origins nicely for the purposes of this study. He confirms that the trail of the Enneagram grows less distinct before Ichazo, but that it is evident that the parameters of the person as viewed through the lens of Enneagram theory have been recognized in some fashion across ages and centuries and across cultures, races, and genders. The Enneagram must tap into something universal in the nature and functioning of human beings. The fact that people from such varied places as Africa, Japan, Korea, India, Europe, North and South America and Russia etc can recognize these nine styles in their native cultures speaks to the generalizability of the Enneagram system.

Now being used through large multi-national businesses and organisations, its use is resulting in distinct improvements in many areas from financial metrics to leadership capabilities as well as teamwork. The Enneagram has become universally accepted a a key tool in Emotional Intelligence development.

Aidan Higgins

Success in hard times.

Posted on 12/01/11 by Aidan

Awareness

Is it always true that if we work harder we will do better? In times like we are passing through now, if we put our heads down and push are we doing the right thing? What happens if we are already working very hard and if we are already expending more of ourselves than we like and leaving nothing for our personal lives  – the wringings from a dishcloth. Is this sustainable?

The term work smarter is very old. However the term applies still to the concepts of using your efforts more wisely.  What about working more intelligently? A friend of mine once said to me – smart is short term – intelligence is long term. I see a lot of well meaning managers and leaders, leading by example, burning the candle at both ends and bringing their people with them. For a time the work culture in  Japan for instance precluded you leaving the office before the boss left even if it meant staying until midnight. Corporate in Japan had to turn off the lights in their buildings to make people go home. Bosses mean well and often lead this way – “work harder and we’ll get through this!”

But what about working more Intelligently. What about waking up your people to Awareness and making them more Emotionally Intelligent? What about using training to improve the success of your people, who properly motivated use these new skills to be better in all facets of their jobs. We have been hearing for years that we need to encourage people to be leaders and to strive independently for their team in their own interests as well as the teams. Well what about giving them the tools to develop their Self Awareness, Self Regulation , Empathy and Social Skills, all of which are directly related to success.

In 2004 Stanford’s Graduate School of Business stated that “Emotional intelligence skills such as vision, building relationships and developing people are more important to leadership success than typical leadership traits, such as external/market orientation, financial acumen and planning“. This study involved 265 corporate executives, directors, managers, business owners, and consultants.  Sir John Egan, former head of the Confederation of British Industry, BAA and Jaguar is quoted as saying that “It is the really inspirational leaders who stand out in a crisis…Emotional intelligence is a big plus in hard times“.

I met someone the other evening – a small business owner  – who said that becoming aware of his personality type made an immediate difference to the running of his business. He said he was able to re-organise his and others work to match his strengths. I have watched how the processes that improve awareness and Emotional Intelligence build better teams, comradeship and networks in business.

Better still its something we can do something about. Its not “out there” with the financial difficulties, its internal. We can get our people awake and working better together by applying simple techniques and opening up their awareness of themselves and others quite readily.

And success breeds success.

Aidan Higgins

First Published 2009

Leadership in a Crisis

Posted on 05/31/10 by Aidan

Daniel Goleman explains why Barack O’Bama is so Emotionally Intelligent. Perhaps we would like to see a little more of this in our Leaders. Developing awareness and ability to control emotions is particularly useful in a crisis. Goleman is a thought leader in this area.

Aidan Higgins

Improve your Emotional Intelligence

Posted on 02/21/10 by Aidan

I am meeting a lot of people who feel helpless to do anything in this economic onslaught.  As I say to them – “there is always something you can do” – even small things that get you rolling again.

The benefits of high Emotional Intelligence have been well catalogued. Emotional Intelligence accounts for more than 85% of exceptional achievement. While technical skills can be necessary for productivity, these are insufficient to explain the differences between high and mediocre achievers. High performers show emotional intelligence as task complexity increases.

The best leaders have found effective ways to handle their own and others emotions. Understanding the powerful role emotions play in the workplace sets great leaders apart from the rest. Also leaders emotional resonance sets the tone in the group effecting the outlook of all those around him. Having and developing high emotional Intelligence is therefore also key in the area of leadership.

What about our current economic climate? We are seeing the need more and more for Transformational (charismatic, personable, lead from the front)  rather than Transactional (work for reward only) Leadership skills. As always occurs  when things are volatile. And guess what – our friend Emotional Intelligence is even more important and more impactful on Transformational Leadership because its personality led with people skills to the fore.

So what can you do about this? Well you can improve your EQ (Emotional Quotient) through training. You can improve your Organisations EQ through training also – improving their ability to achieve what they need to achieve.

Now thats something you can do.
Talk to these guys www.adeo.ie

Aidan Higgins

Motivate Yourself First

Posted on 10/31/09 by admin


I recently gave a talk before Cavan County Enterprise Boards recent Awards Dinner on the topic of Motivation, with reference to the current economic climate. The reaction to the talk was extremely positive and also the feedback was particularly interesting.

I told the group that there are times I think when we forget the basics and lose ourselves in worry about things we don’t really need. This leads to suffering on a personal level that is not necessary and totally within our own control. Cutbacks and reductions can have an overly negative effect on us if we do not see that often these are necessary to moving forward. Often we attach meaning to things that causes us grief and worry. The way to address this is to sit down and think about what is really necessary at the end of the day and what of those things we worry about  are supports to our Ego rather than to our well-being and happiness.

Entrepeneurs and Small business owners in particular need to remain motivated and optimistic despite the current travails and to influence and motivate those around them as well. Someone once said “Sincerity is the secret – if you can fake that you can achieve anything!”. Well it can’t be faked, the people around you have a good idea whats going on really. So the feeling of motivation has to be real and come from within. Taking action every morning to bring a positive outlook into play by focusing on the positive things in our life can set the mood for the whole day. And bringing it to work influences those around us particularly small business owners.

The folks from Cavan had an interesting perspective. They reckoned the Celtic tiger hadn’t done much for them and so they didn’t miss it. “We never had too much around here anyway” they said and so we don’t miss it either. And this from as chirpy and cheery bunch of people as I’ve met. You know when you see what some have lost in terms of happiness and clarity in their lives its great to see that some have held on to what matters.

Aidan Higgins

Holistic Perspective

Posted on 09/24/09 by admin

Leaders are often able to make judgements and form opinions quickly and so give advice quickly.  This can be a blessing in turbulent times particularly. However a down side of this is sometimes missing or not appreciating others perspectives and not taking them into account when making decisions. There are overlaps here with Emotional Intelligence, Leadership in context and motivation of your team. It is particularly important to take the time, particularly for “black and white” thinkers to look at a problem as a whole and ensure you see the whole piece.

I thought this poem by American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) was illuminating. It is based on a fable which was told in India many years ago…….
It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined,
Who went to see the Elephant
(Though all of them were blind),
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
“God bless me! but the Elephant
Is very like a wall!”

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, “Ho! what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp?
To me ’tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear!”

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a snake!”

The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
“What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,” quoth he;
“ ‘Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree!”

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: “E’en the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan!”

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Than, seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
“I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant
Is very like a rope!”

And so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long,
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong!

Moral:

So oft in theologic wars,
The disputants, I ween,
Rail on in utter ignorance
Of what each other mean,
And prate about an Elephant
Not one of them has seen!

Old wisdom but current too.

Aidan Higgins