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Do you ever commit this type of CRIME?Stressed thinking

When we are stressed we are emotionally charged. Our higher faculties become overwhelmed by the brain’s instinctive survival mechanism and our every impulse is to act instantly, dynamically and unthinkingly.

As a direct result of this emotional hijacking we manifest defective thinking patterns and these are pretty ruinous if we are trying to make a decision. Just at the critical moment when we need to make a rational, well thought through, and balanced appreciation of a problem, with careful evaluation of alternative solutions, we blunder through a five step sequence of C-R-I-M-E.

  1.     Crass oversimplification of the problem
  2.     Rapid broad-brush solution - one grand idea
  3.     Inability to listen or consult, we are 100% right
  4.     Mad rush to act – “Do it now” syndrome
  5.     Euphoric delusion

Read more about how stressed decision-making can distort your thinking and ruin the potential for positive outcomes...

The Toyota way to rapid business transformationHoshin Kanri

At 70% plus, the failure rate for business transformation initiatives is staggering. It is not suprising that CEOs are put off from even trying to instigate major change.

However, we do not have to be fatalistic about failure. Although staggering the high failure rate is not actually surprising, as most organisations go about these initiatives in the wrong way.

There is a straightforward but holistic approach to business transformation known as Hoshin Kanri that ensures that your business improvement programmes realise their full potential. Sometimes known as Policy Deployment, Hoshin Kanri is a sophisticated business operating system, long used by global players such as Toyota, Sony, Hewlett Packard and Intel to increase the ratio of success for their strategy planning and improvement initiatives.

But you don’t have to be the chairman of Toyota to benefit from Hoshin Kanri; it is equally helpful in upping the success rate of change or improvement initiatives in any complex organisational setting. And this includes small and medium sized enterprises.

Read more about how to improve the success rate of transormation initiatives using Hoshin Kanri ...

OR - Download the White Paper now


Successful employee engagement is a two way process.

Employees are reluctant to engage with you and your vision if you don’t first engage withEmployee engagement them. How do you do that? Well there are a number of different ways we adopt, but one powerful approach is to make more use of the word ‘why?’

Not ‘who?’ but ‘why?’

When things go wrong, we are often tempted to use the ‘who?’ word, as in ‘who has got it wrong?’ or ‘who is to blame?’ Unfortunately, using the ‘who?’ word implies an individual is at fault - someone has cocked up. Moreover, asking ‘who?’ reinforces management’s implicit infallibility, in that it cannot be the design of their organization, system or process that is at fault. ‘Who?’ deflects blame to the employees and away from management.

Read full article ......

Stress in organisations is a modern day plague impacting employee engagement, productivity and organisational Organisational stress auditlearning.

A stress audit finds out the true costs of stress and disengagement. This valuable data helps you redesign work and employment conditions to create a low-stress highly productive work culture with fully engaged employees.

When we are stressed we make mistakes, forget things, upset people, disengage and generally lose the plot.

This is why, although absenteeism, sickness and compensations can be a heavy expense, the really destructive aspect of stress is that it costs you even more money for every one of your people that suffer from stress while at work.

Using an organisational stress audit to find out where and why stress is cropping up in the work place or where it might do so in the future is the first step to making huge cost savings. Stress audits succeed because, apart from locating the existing ‘stressors’ and alleviating them, the audit also helps managers recognise when they are falling into the trap of generating stress for their staff and themselves.

Read the full article OR Download more info on stress audits

Beliefs including self-beliefs can be a huge obstacle to successful learning, problem solving, planning and decision-making.Premature cognitive commitment

Have you ever wondered bad news seems to creep so slowly up the organisational hierarchy if it moves at all and why (too often as it seems) we hear that senior management has met bad news with disbelief? You may have also noted the danger of the messenger being shot and the whistle blower being treated as though they are the problem rather than the issues they are revealing.

Dogged resistance to change, the demonization of opponents, hysterical opposition to alternative ideas and solutions and the persistent advocacy of anachronistic and otherwise highly inappropriate solutions tend to perpetuate our organisational problems not ease them. These familiar negative character traits cause untold harm to organisational effectiveness and organisational learning and are responsible for any number of business and public sector failures.

Fortunately we now have a better understanding as to why people indulge in this irrational and destructive behaviour. And with a better understanding there is some hope of adopting a solution. 

The problem arises because there is a particular facet of the brain that filters out evidence from our conscious perception, if this evidence conflicts with our beliefs. The brain is wired in a way so that we literally can’t see what we don’t already believe. When this deception occurs, we make, what the psychologists term, a ‘premature cognitive commitment’.

In other words we jump to a conclusion based, not on available new evidence, but on some pre-conception, belief or emotional memory of some past associated event or situation. As you can see, whenever we may be experiencing premature cognitive commitment we are suffering from a serious self-limiting belief.

Read more ...

Amygdala effect on workAre you in your rational mind at work all the time? OK, maybe you think you are, but what about the other people around you, are they?

To read management textbooks and most articles, you would think so.

Management literature tends to be written with the underlying assumption that people working in organisations are principally rational and enjoy high levels of emotional intelligence. Similarly the assumption is that people leading organisations are perfectly rational as well. From this arises a wealth of information, guidance and advice that might work well under ideal situations but so often seems not to work in practice.

The more common reality of organisational life is, that for a lot of the time, in a lot of organisations the occupants are functioning below their usual level of emotional intelligence and are instead in what we might call ‘a sub-optimum brain state’ triggered by the ever-present stress response.

Reinventing management thinking

Essentially the flight or flight stress response is the reason why organisations sometimes don’t work as well as management theory would predict and why so many management ideas fail to fulfil their full potential. We seriously need to reinvent management thinking.

I believe that so much of current management thinking triggers the stress response and this has a powerful impact on how we run our organisations, drive growth, eliminate waste, increase productivity and improve profits.Read more ...

A better understanding of organisational stress and the instinctive stress response could help managers protect passengers from threats such as the recent tragic airbus crash in the French Alps.

The terrible airbus crash of flight 4U9525 in the Southern French Alps raises a number of urgent questions that need to be addressed by Flight 4U9525the airline industry. Foremost of which is how can we be safe in an aircraft when security technology designed to keep the pilot safe from rogue passengers prevents passengers being safe from a rogue pilot?

There is probably no easy technological answer to this poser.

All the security equipment, rules, regulations and protocols in the world are incapable of protecting hapless passengers from the random attack of crazed aircrew set on causing mayhem and murder.

The solution lies less with technology and procedures and more with using modern psychology to create the right organisational culture. A culture that either prevents someone going so badly off the rails in the first place or at least helps the organisation identify problems at an earlier stage. Read more ...

Head in sand

What more evidence do we need that the way we run our government organisations doesn't work?

In this respect, the Rotherham child protection scandal is a case study for our times. Systemic failure is built into the archaic management design adopted by social services and other government departments throughout the UK.

Under these conditions, catastrophic failure can happen anywhere and probably already is. We just haven't heard about it yet.

Eric Pickles, the Communities secretary has parachuted government commissioners to sort the mess out. Unless they have a brief to de-commission the whole apparatus, they have a herculean task on their hands.

Can a leopard change its spots?

In essence what the commissioners are being tasked to do is get the leopard to change its spots. We must not fool ourselves that somehow Rotherham Council has been a magnet that has attracted a unique bunch of highly malevolent and incompetent employees intent on destroying the lives of children and families within their remit. 

Read ful article....

Rotherham child abuse scandal Rotherham's child protection abuses add to a growing list of public sector scandals. Collectively these alarming lapses are undermining the credibility of government agencies to deliver quality health care and social welfare.

Modern management theory offers a way forward.

Systems thinking and research-based psychotherapy explain why outbreaks of catastrophic incompetence and neglect are more or less inevitable in bureaucratic environments. And it has nothing to do with a shortage of funding.

These scientific ideas indicate that the way back to sanity is to ditch the bureaucracy and adopt a bottom-up collaborative approach to leadership and management.

Collaborative leadership is the key to harnessing employees' innate rational common sense, competence, sensitivity and compassion. Only a bottom-up approach to management and decision-making can create the organisational capacity to express these innate human faculties. Only when the work culture expresses these human qualities is it able to deliver the level of service that can truly meet the needs of vulnerable clients.

Read full article ...

Reinventing management thinkingUsing science to liberate the human spirit.

If you want to improve things, first drill down to the root cause to see what is going wrong.

Jeremy Old takes this robust approach with organisational performance. He starts with the fundamental building block of any organisation - the human being and analyses all the reasons why they underperform both individually and collectively.

His 'thirty stressors model' provides managers with a comprehensive and easy to use tool for finding out why their organisation is not functioning in top gear and what to do about it.

This powerful analysis of the failings of modern organisations resonates with anybody who finds themselves asking questions such as:


  • Why is it such a struggle to achieve anything worthwhile here?
  • Why am I so exhausted?
  • Why do our operational functions seem to work against the common purpose?
  • Why do people resist change and improvement?
  • Why do the most unsuitable individuals seem to rise to the top?
  • Why is the place riddled with political intrigue?
  • Why do we lose the plot from the customer’s point of view?

Jeremy Old answers these perennial questions by applying systems thinking to modern psychotherapy and practical neuroscience.

Be warned, this may not be a comfortable read for a lot of senior managers.

This carefully researched book demolishes the case for top down command and control management and the prevailing target culture in the public sector and many large corporations.

Read full article ...


Reinventing management thinkingReinventing management thinking - Using science to liberate the human spirit.

How and why changing organisational design and leadership style transforms work culture and provides real competitive advantage. Buy now from Amazon

Employee engagement WPEmployee engagement programme white paper

Taking a systems approach to improving employee engagement can have an impact out of all proportion to the costs and effort involved. Free download

Save the NHSCuring the NHS

Management induced stress provokes low performance, compassion fatigue and mistakes that puts thousands of patients' lives at risk every day, read the white paper to learn why ...


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