Listen More

16 04 2010

Why don’t we listen more to our colleagues in organizations ?

We all know that we tend to speak more than we listen. Don’t get me wrong, we can’t all just sit still and be silent. But if we can take a small part of our time and just listen to what other people have to say, our attention then creates  positive waves, and an opportunity to learn something new and to see things from another angle.

Today we are all in a hurry, and tend to rush everything. Deadlines are making us stressed, and we all want to make good impressions. We need to pause and reflect more. By listening to other peoples ideas and advice we are able to gain knowledge and insights we first didn’t think of as important.

In an organization we are gathered with people who possess different kind of knowledge and experience, and we are all aiming for the same purpose, which is to do our best within the organization.

We could look at the organization like a big team, inside the team there are people with different kind of expertise ,experience, knowledge, interests and perspectives.They all depend up on each other to achieve their best. You have to cooperate, talk and discuss issues of importance within your team. Give each other room to share views and ideas. and make sure to give support because that motivates you to go on with your work.

Yu Dan has written the book: Confucius from the heart. This book is a bestseller in China and began as a series of television lectures which took China by storm. Yu Dan blows away the cobwebs of thousands of year of academic study on Confucius’s thoughts and gives him back to the ordinary man and woman.

The author refers to Confucius where he say: “Use your ears widely but leave out what is doubtful”, which means according to the writer,  you must use your ears first and listen to what people are telling you, and leave to one side the parts you aren’t sure about.

Why to implement Confucius’s thoughts ? Because he has important views on how to relate to each other within organizations as well in private.

The analects of Confucius, means simply a collection of writings. “Once you have become rich in experience, you still have to be cautious in your actions. This kind of caution is described as behaving ‘as if approaching a deep abyss, as if walking on thin ice” (Analects V111). He means that we need to think more, listen more and be cautious in our words and actions, and the advantage is that you will have fewer regrets.

When Confucius is talking about large groups of people, the writer explains it this way: “In any large group of people, everybody’s personal convictions will never be exactly the same, but a true junzi will listen earnestly as each person states their own point of view and will be able to understand and respect the logic of everyone’s ideas, while at the same time holding fast to their own. This maintains both unity and harmony, while ensuring that everyone’s voice is heard”.

Yu Dan explain, when they in China say they want to build up a harmonious society, it means “taking everybody’s different voices and harmoniously blending them into the voice of the greater collective”.

The junzi, describes Confucius’s ideal person, who any one of us, rich and poor, has the potential to become.

We can not live by Confucius’s thoughts which would be too ambitious, but can try to understand some of his thoughts and implement them into our lives and workforce.

I would like to conclude with another wise words from the book: “There are many things in our lives that are not as we would wish. Sometimes they are neither rational nor fair. We may lack the strenght to change them, but we can change our own feelings and attitude. Looking at things in this way, we can say that people see whatever is in their heart”.

Inger Lise E. Greger/Master of Science in Change Management

Yu Dan :Confucius from the Heart. Ancient Wisdom for Today’s World

High Performance

9 04 2010

Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz argue that to sustain a successful approach to sustained high performance you must consider the person as a whole. Which includes the physical level, emotional capacity, mental capacity and the spiritual capacity.

What makes some people flourish under pressure and others fold. The authors say they have come up with partial answers:”rich material rewards, the right culture, management by objectives”. What they believe is the problem with most approaches is that they deal with people only from the neck up, connecting high performance primarily with cognitive capacity.

Loehr et al say:” to gain sustained high performance this is one quality that executives seek for themselves and their employees in the face of ever-increasing pressure and rapid change”.

The authors theory of pulling together all of the elements mentioned above, makes us see the person as a whole. Their integrated theory of performance management addresses the body, the emotions, the mind, and the spirit. They call this hierarchy the performance pyramid. Each of the levels profoundly influences the others, and failure to address any one of them compromises performance.

They have experience from working with world-class athletes. Later they developed a more comprehensive version of these techniques for executives facing unprecedented demands in the workplace, and they realized these executives as “corporate athletes”. What they aim to do is to help executives build their capacity for what might be called “supportive or secondary competencies, among them endurance, strenght, flexibility, self-control, and focus”.

As mentioned the High- Performance-Pyramid consists of four building blocks:Physical Capacity, Mental Capacity, Emotional Capacity and Spiritual Capacity.

The training process start at the physical level, “because the body is our fundamental source of energy – the foundation of the performance pyramid.

The next building block of IPS (Ideal Performance State) is emotional capacity. “Just as positive emotions ignite the energy that drives high performance, negative emotions – frustration, impatience, anger, fear, resentment, and sadness – drain energy. Over time, these feelings can be literally toxic”.

Mental capacity “is the third level of the performance pyramid – the cognitive – is where most traditional performance enhancement training is aimed”. The authors when talking about focus, it means energy concentrated in the service of a particular goal. Their training aims to enhance their clients: cognitive capacities – most notably their focus, time management, and positive – and critical – thinking skills.

By spiritual capacity the writers point out that it simply means “the energy that is unleashed by trapping into ones deepest values and defining a strong sense of purpose”.

In their conclusion Loehr et al say:”companies can’t afford to address their employees cognitive capacities while ignoring their physical, emotional and spiritual well – being”.

At the end an explanation of IPS (Ideal Performance State): “Increasing capacity at all levels allows athletes and executives alike to bring their talents and skills to full ignition and to sustain high performance over time”.

We must consider  the person as a whole.

Written by Inger Lise E. Greger/Master of Science in Change Management

You can read more about James Loehr and Tony Schwartz in, Harvard business review on developing leaders:2004

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