MOJO-DYNAMICS

MOJO-DYNAMICS

Mojo-Dynamics is a term I created to characterize people’s engagement level within the work world. It is analogous, and has many similarities to how Thermo-Dynamics characterizes energy within the physical world.

Most people are taught at school the three main laws of Thermo-Dynamics, which help to explain energy within the physical world, Table 1.

In an analogous way, there are three main laws of Mojo-Dynamics which help to explain Engagement (or energy) within the people/work world, Table 1.

Table 1.

Law Number Thermo-Dynamics Mojo-Dynamics
1. Total amount of energy is constant. It can only change form. Total amount of potential engagement within people is constant. It can change form at work
from engagement to disengagement.
2. Disorder always increases, and energy efficiency decreases. Disengagement at work will always increase without appropriate management or leadership, and engagement levels will decrease.
3. All molecular movement stops at absolute zero. Engagement stops, and disengagement is maximized at work, when people’s trust levels of management or leadership drop to zero.

In a recent Gallop Poll, it was confirmed that only 13% of people are currently engaged at work.

http://www.gallup.com/poll/165269/worldwide-employees-engaged-work.aspx

There are of course many theories to explain the reason or reasons for this. In my view, one of the key reasons is the level of trust that people have, or don’t have, of their managers or leaders.

  • With Trust: Nothing Else Matters*
  • Without Trust: Nothing Else Matters*

*Presentation on Trust: https://www.icoachandspeak.com/#!/Purchase

SEVEN WONDERS OF OUR WORLD: DO WE KNOW WHAT THEY ARE?

Like many numbers, the number 7 has many interesting manifestations. Perhaps the greatest and most well-known is the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.

  1. Great Pyramid of Giza
  2. Hanging Gardens of Babylon
  3. Temple of Artemis at Ephesus
  4. Status of Zeus at Olympia
  5. Mausoleum of Halicarnassus
  6. Colossus of Rhodes
  7. Lighthouse of Alexandria.

While this is interesting to know, I believe that a much more important piece of knowledge for each of us is whether we know the answer to the following question – “Do we know what the 7 Wonders of our World Are?”

I have given this some thought recently, from my own perspective, and have concluded that the following seven items are what are important for me right now. I have ordered them in what I believe is the appropriate order of importance; however this may change over time, as it has throughout my life.

  1. Family
  2. Health
  3. Security (Financial)
  4. Continual Learning
  5. Community
  6. Philanthropy
  7. Spirituality

I challenging each of you over the next 7 days to collate the 7 most important items in your life and, as best you can, list them in order of importance. Then more importantly, each and every day afterwards focus on allocating your time and commitment to these items. Treat the rest of what you deal with on a daily basis with equanimity.

NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS: IN-TACT OR IN-TATTERS?

It’s the last day of January and the question many people will be asking themselves is: “Are my New Year’s Resolutions still in-tact or are they in-tatters?”

I suspect the latter for most of us, and this lack of achievement is linked to: unclear visions i.e. what is it specifically that one wants to achieve; lack of a clear strategy (action steps) with well-defined goals; and a weak achievement mindset (belief, persistence and continual learning i.e. a steadfast belief that one can achieve, the ability to be persistent particularly when the going gets tough, and a willingness to learn from our mistakes and from the insights of others.)

Do I have a magic bullet? No; however see my  blog on Achievement dated January 30 2014 which is still valid this year.

Additionally, I recommend a recently published book that I have just finished reading -again.  Willpower: Roy F. Baumeister and John Tierney.

 

Only those with the Willpower to check these out though will be able to benefit from the lessons therein!!

LIFE: A PARADOX CONUNDRUM (17)

Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:

  • There are More than Seven Billion People in the World
  • There are Six Degrees of Separation between People

The population of the world exceeds 7 billion people. That is a LOT of people – 7,000,000,000 or thereabouts! It is hard to imagine ourselves as simply just one of these 7 billion people. An image analogy could be a grain of sand in the Sahara desert. In this context, it would be easy to believe that we are independent actors on the world stage. However in 1929, Frigyes Karinthy hypothesized that everyone is six or fewer steps away, by way of introduction, from any other person in the world. Since that time there have been advocates and detractors for this hypothesis, and time may tell how accurate this hypothesis really is. However, there is no disputing that more and more we are interconnected. This interconnection occurs as: more companies are global in scope; more and more people travel for business and pleasure; and, of course, more people connect through Social Media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and so on. There are many advantages to this interconnectedness; whether related to business (companies can take advantage of 24 hour days, cheaper labor…), personal reasons (vacations anywhere are now possible for many people…), or to broader social issues as now seen routinely both nationally and internationally (Velvet Revolution, Arab Spring….). Of course, as with all things, where there are advantages there also are disadvantages. These disadvantages include: the feeling in business at times that there is nowhere to escape; the personal feeling sometimes that a vacation is not a vacation unless one goes somewhere else; and the rapid dissemination of personal information through social media that perhaps people never really intended for a world-wide audience.

A good friend of mine had a personal experience of this interconnectedness some years back. He was travelling through Heathrow Airport one Friday, and met a mutual friend of ours in the departure lounge. She had married another one of our mutual friends a few years previously. They were chatting and he asked about her husband. She went on to explain that he hated his company, his boss, his job and so on. They parted later to catch their respective flights and met up again a few months later. At that time, she explained that he husband was called to his boss’s office the following Monday to be informed that he was fired as, “He hated the company, his boss and his job.” On that previous Friday the boss had been sitting back-to-back with my friends and heard the complete conversation.

The lesson that my friends learned that evening and one that we all should accept is that even with 7 billion people in the world we are interconnected (we are not independent actors on the world stage), whether it is six degrees of separation or something similar. Consequently we always need to be circumspect in what we say or do whether in person or on social media. Finding the right balance on this paradox continuum is not always easy; however it is necessary to accomplish this if one wants to be successful in this Global world.

  • It’s a Small World. Don’t Make Enemies

LIFE: A PARADOX CONUNDRUM (16)

Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:

  • Global Cultural Differences can be a Threat
  • Global Cultural Differences can be an Opportunity

Culture is a concept based on a term used in classical antiquity by the Roman orator Cicero – cultura animi or cultivation of the soul. Today most people see culture as the characteristics of a particular group of people, defined by everything from: language, religion, social habits, art, music, cuisine and so on. This can be at a macro level e.g. Western culture versus Eastern culture, American versus French; or at a micro level e.g. country people versus city people even though these people may live no more than 25 miles apart. To some degree people link culture and self-esteem i.e. we perceive our culture to be superior to that of others (their strange customs cannot be for real!) as a mechanism for sustaining our self-esteem. However as this perception is likely held by all people, independent of their cultural background, it becomes a zero-sum game.

In today’s world, many of us interact at both a personal and professional level with people from different cultures. As culture is linked to self-esteem we are likely to perceive these people from other cultures, at least initially, as potential threats and, as a consequence, may fail to see and utilize their many talents. The optimal approach would be to view these people as equals who bring many talents to the table. This provides a great opportunity to utilize their talents to complement our own talents.

I have experienced the impact of cultural differences throughout my life – I grew up in the Irish countryside and had to deal with people from the city; I worked in England and had to deal with English nationals as well as other nationals; I worked in Kansas City, MO and now in Bridgewater, NJ and have had to deal with people from many nations; I have worked for Sanofi for 29 years and have experienced it change from a US company to a US/German/French company to a French company, and have had to deal with all the cultural changes that ensued; and I have managed groups locally and globally which have included people for many, many cultures.

My life lesson from these experiences is that global cultural differences are real – they can be a threat if you adopt a fixed mindset; however if you adopt a learning mindset they will provide a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow as a person, as well as a great opportunity to gain synergies for the collective good i.e. the sum is greater than the parts.

Finding the right balance on this paradox continuum is not always easy; however it is necessary to accomplish this if one wants to grow and be successful in this Global world.

  • Adapt Globally to be Successful

LIFE: A PARADOX CONUNDRUM(15)

Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:

  • Chaos is a Threat
  • Chaos is an Opportunity

Chaos was one of the many Greek Gods, and was seen as a personification of the void which existed prior to the creation of the Universe. It was believed that out of this chaos Gods, People and all Things arose.

We have all experienced degrees of chaos in our personnel or work lives e.g. facing difficulties with finances, with parents, with partners, with children and/or with work colleagues/companies. At the extreme in these situations, we likely perceived this chaos to be a threat to ourselves and in particular to one or more core aspects of our lives. At these moments it is likely that there did not appear to be a good path forward, or indeed in any direction. As an example, many large company mergers/takeovers go through this period of chaos at some point in the integration process, and for many in both companies it feels as if everything is falling apart around them and that there is no sense of timing as to when it will get better.

However it is know in the quantum world that disorder can be a source of new order and this concept was captured beautifully by I. Prigogine in his term, “Dissipative Structures”.

And so it is in life – every Fall we watch the leaves fall off the trees only to reappear in the Spring, people lose their jobs at which they were very successful (and happy), only to get another job later which they enjoy more and which pays more, entrepreneurs start one business which fails miserably and then they go on to start another one which propel them to billionaire status, people participate in relationships which appear to be perfect and which then end, and eventually they move on to one which is really perfect, parents watch their children struggle and fail at times and then out of this struggle they see them become stronger and succeed, and so on and so on.

Therein lies a key message – Chaos is a part of life and we can perceive it as a threat (and it is easy to do this when the chaos is happening all around us). At certain times it may be useful to face this threat, challenge it and work to defeat it. Alternatively, rather than defeat chaos, even if that is possible, it may be more productive to embrace it as a fundamental component of change that will open up other doors of opportunities and outcomes that we may never have imagined.

Finding the right balance on this paradox continuum is not always easy; however it is necessary to accomplish this if one wants to grow and be successful over the long term.

  • Accept Chaos as a Positive Component of Change

LIFE: A PARADOX CONUNDRUM (14)

Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:

  • Influence for Personal Outcomes
  • Influence for Other People’s Outcomes

Influence is a large part of our personal and our work lives. It is believed that, on average, 400 attempts are made daily, by each of us, to influence each other. Further it is believed that the majority of us spend 40% of our time trying to influence each other. The focus on understanding influence is not new; in 350BCE Aristotle classified one’s ability to influence into three categories: Ethos (are we credible), Logos (is what we are saying logical), and Pathos (are we creating a strong emotional connection).

We all begin to develop the skill on influencing as babies e.g. who can resist those large eyes and the bright smiles of babies (focus on Pathos). However as we mature we need to develop Ethos and Logos attributes also.

The development of these three attributes: Ethos. Logos and Pathos provides us with keys tools to be effective influencers in life and at work

As an aside, a highly skilled player in the area of Influence is the Psychopath; however at the extreme of this condition there is a complete lack of empathy, with a focus on only achieving outcomes that are good for the Psychopath. We have all met this type of character; either at the extreme end of the psychopathic continuum or somewhere along this continuum, and it is not a pleasant experience. The upside is that these people are eventually discovered for what they are; and either end up being fired or in prison, in extreme cases.

Therein lies a key message – in order to be a successful influencer and a successful person over the long term it is important to have Ethos, Logos and Pathos, but it is equally important to have empathy for other people’s concerns and needs i.e. seek win/win outcomes versus win/loose outcomes.

Finding the right balance on this paradox continuum is not always easy; however it is necessary to accomplish this if one wants to be successful over the long term.

  • Always Strive for Win/Win Outcomes 

LIFE: A PARADOX CONUNDRUM (13)

Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:

  • Change Leads to an End
  • Change Leads to a Beginning

Many of us have a resistance to change.  This can be driven by fear i.e. we are scared of the unknown and what may be out there as change occurs, or it can be driven by laziness i.e. we are very comfortable where we are (thank you very much) and we would rather not put in the effort needed to make the change happen. However, no matter our fear or our laziness we cannot avoid change.

Everything is in a state of flux – including status quo:  Robert Byrne.

If we look back at our own lives, and are honest with ourselves, we will have to acknowledge that change is constant:  we have to start school; we have to change school; we go to college; we start work; we get married; we have children; our friends and family move away or perhaps pass away; and we get older every year (actually each minute, second…). If we are honest again, we would further acknowledge that while some of these changes have been hard (and some may have been very hard) they all led to new beginnings – many of which have put each of us in a better place. This better place may have occurred immediately e.g. when our children were first born; or later e.g. after losing a job and finding a different/better one later, following some or many trials and tribulations. In the past I have had many colleagues who have been “down-sized, right-sized, laid-off…”, and later when I met them they have all invariably said that the change was the best thing that ever happened to them. Their only regret was that they had not independently made the change earlier.

The key lesson here in life and work is to understand that change is constant and that, as a minimum, we have to accept and deal with it. However rather than look at change as merely something to accept and deal with, it may be much better to appropriately acknowledge what we are losing and at the same time open ourselves to all the new opportunities that change brings i.e. find the right balance on this paradox continuum.

  • Embrace Change for its Opportunities

LIFE: A PARADOX CONUNDRUM (12)

Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:

  • Winning Battles can Lose the War
  • Losing Battles can Win the War

How many times either in life or at work do we feel the need to always “get-our-way”, even though it may not be that important in the larger scheme of what we want/need to achieve? The driver behind this is our Ego; which likes to control us, and does not appear to have a clear appreciation for unintended consequences. I have had friends and colleagues over the years say that they did not care what the consequences were, as fairness, righteousness and such like were clearly on their side. Unfortunately, not everyone shared this black and white view of life, and as a result these friends and colleagues suffered consequences such as: lost friendships, upset colleagues at work which made it more difficult to operate optimally thereafter, and of course being passed over for progression and promotions at work i.e. this mindset of winning every battle is ultimately counterproductive and the guaranteed outcome is that the larger “war”, whether in one’s personal life or at work, will be lost.

A much more adept approach is to clearly understand what ‘war” one wants to win: making your friends feel good about themselves and about you, making colleagues at work feel that they have valid ideas also even when they may not be exactly what you may propose, and making decision makers at work understand that you can be flexible particularly when constraints exists which may not fit exactly with your sensitivities i.e. losing some battles which may be important to your Ego but not to anyone else can be an productive strategy in winning the “war”

The key lesson here in life and work is to understand the larger picture and get clarity on the “war” that you want to win. Then accept that to achieve success losing some battles along the way is OK and in fact is a good strategy i.e. finding a reasonable balance on this particular paradox conundrum leads to success without leaving “dead bodies in your aftermath”.

  • Choose Your Battles Wisely

LIFE: A PARADOX CONUNDRUM (11)

Life is full of paradoxes that some say require balancing; however accepting an appropriate location on the paradox continuum, when dealing with the paradox conundrum, may be as good as it gets! An example of such a paradox follows:

  • Perception often equals Reality
  • Reality often not equal to Perception

Never Judge a Book by its Cover was a lesson that my parents always preached to me and my siblings. This seemed and still seems a reasonable and fair lesson for life and work; however as we all know life and work are never always reasonable and fair. Often we judge and are judged by perception and somehow this gets translated to reality. How many times have we heard ourselves or other people say, “But that’s not what I meant or that’s not what I intended.” Unfortunately at this point feelings may be hurt, egos may be bruised, and relationships may be damaged. Additionally, to recover from the damage done, if that is possible, it will take a lot more time and effort than what went into the initial encounter.

The key lessons here in life and work are: always be aware that people will judge you by your actions rather than your intentions i.e. people cannot read your mind, and as such be careful in how you act with people to avoid misunderstanding; and always be sensitive to other people (their personalities, values, behaviors) and give them the benefit of the doubt that their actions may not completely mirror their intentions. Of course this does not mean that we should operate with a “walking on eggshells” mentality, but rather we need to find a reasonable balance on this particular paradox conundrum.

  • Be Careful How you Act and Don’t Jump to Conclusions