Six months ago, I launched an article series introducing an important topic that eventually bled over into our exploration of Productivity. The series specifically addressed Corporate Stress, diagnosing it as one would a disease, and informing DRIVEN’s virtual workshops right up to the present. If you were following along at the time, you would have come across the excerpt above, listed as one of the 3 workplace stress indicators that stare many companies in the face on a continuous basis.
I proceeded to detail why this epidemic of stress is overwhelming the modern professional and directly affecting company growth. There was a drilling down into the systemic and individual challenges, complete with insights to enable motivated professionals to elicit cultural changes in the corporate environment. Now, after months of examining all the possible roadblocks to productivity, it’s time to change the lens and start considering how to “evolutionize” the workplace. This means positioning your firm as a 21st century leader by creating an INTENTIONAL game plan to embed stress-mitigating practices into your corporate culture. That’s right! Positive change in the energy of your firm begins with YOU.
EQ = Trust
In any successful culture, corporate or anthropological, TRUST is a major factor. It’s a small word, but a tall order. In cultivating a culture of corporate trust, all parties must begin on the same page. This formula involves a shared understanding of the mission of the company, as well as the values and intentions of individuals. Everyone must be working towards a common goal, and employees must be assured that their company values them as much as it does the bottom line. The talent on your staff will be inspired to work hard for you, as long as they are made fully aware of what’s in it for them.
To get started, a giant leap in the right direction is to commit to a culture of Emotional Intelligence. Think of EQ as a two-part Educational Quest, the first being the recognition, understanding and management of our own emotions, and the second being a compassionate influence on the emotions of others. Emotions at the workplace, you ask? YES! Emotions absolutely permeate the workplace. As Associate Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote:
“At the Supreme Court level where I work, 90% of our decisions are made on an emotional basis. The other 10% is used to rationalize what we feel.”
Remember The Amygdala
EQ is also a crucial skill to develop when it comes to attracting, retaining and promoting top talent. When delivering presentations to our high-profile clients, DRIVEN always cites the findings of a study on the subject done by Harvard University, The Carnegie Foundation and The Stanford Research Institute:
“Technical skills account for less than 15% of one’s value in obtaining, keeping, or advancing in a job. More than 85% of job success is based on personal conduct and the ability to put others at ease.”
Of course, if such an outward expression of EQ were easy, everyone would be doing it. But the reality is, we are so deeply entrenched in a stress-based corporate culture that our collective brain functions in a default state of anxiety. We are held captive by our toxic emotions, which are derived from the amygdala, an area of the brain with which EQ is incompatible. This should provide a huge incentive for a cultural shift in the workplace, especially when you consider that the productivity of knowledge workers isn’t compatible with the amygdala mindset either.
The Importance of Being Present
A culturally-evolved workplace is simple to recognize. It has its sights set on a long-term vision that is baby step-based. Once trust is established, you’re off-and-running, with the stage set for an environment of mindfulness and being present. Don’t feel discouraged by the new-agey sounding context; it’s pure science. Focus and attention are what allow us to respond, not react, in everyday and high-stakes situations. Regrettably, 36% of us don’t know how to think in the moment (according to a Bradberry and Greaves study). The good news is, this can be taught and learned. For instance, “Be here now”, the mantra of one of my clients, has revolutionized their employee morale. This international professional services firm committed to a cultural journey towards the 21st century workplace, and they’re already seeing tangible results!
Leadership needs to be leading this journey, which becomes more realistic once we classify it as an investment in a sustainable workforce. It begins with living in the present….that pristine standpoint from which we can authentically assess ourselves, regulate ourselves and create bonds with others. EQ will then become a stronger asset, and be a gateway to the workplace productivity eureka: Corporate EQ. Stay tuned for much more to come, including ideas about sharing the mission.
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