It’s time for a rethink! Now!

Rational competence and rational solutions are hailed in most organisations.

Yeah, so what? you may think. And you would be right; it may not be a bad thing in and of itself, but the social aspect of the work place; how well people understand each other, how people communicate and work together is even more important! And for too long this has been ignored by many companies and institutions. There are probably rational reasons for this, such as believing that it’s not important or that it’s hard to impact or control.

BUT it cannot be swept under the carpet. Organizations that wish to achieve the best possible results ignore this at their own risk.

Recent brain research shows that social contact is a bigger motivation factor that money or even physical needs (read more in Why Organizations Fail by David Rock). And this is of course not a new human phenomenon, it’s as old as the human race – but most organizational systems are structured in such a way that it doesn’t factor in these very human needs enough. Even though the systems, the infrastructure are created by people. It is as if we think that business is something purely rational….

Personally I’ve lost count of how many people I have met over the years whom expressed that they are expected to be rational at work, and pretty much nothing else. And at least as many who have shared their frustration with not feeling understood by others at work…..

With this in mind it is not so strange then that so many change initiatives fail (70%!). Rational thinking doesn’t work when the emotions are engaged through fear and concern during change. And if most of the change communication focus on the rational reasons for change (”surely people must understand that….”) then it’s probably not so strange that people resist change which makes the process slow and unwieldy and the chance of success is minimised.

Organisations that want to succeed now and maybe even more importantly in the long run, need to consider these very human aspects of business much more than they do today.

Hire/develop leaders with both rational and social/emotional competence
Develop/train employees in communication, self awareness and self leadership, empathy and co-operation
And use the infrastructure/organisational systems as a way to work effectively together, not just as a rational system
What do you say? It’s time for a rethink, isn’t it!