You have a mind, yet you are not your mind. Most of us have mistakenly identified ourselves with our mind – we behave as though we are our mind. We follow our thoughts and beliefs, and we follow our feelings as though they are we. We let them run the show! We have forgotten who we really are. We have forgotten that we have our mind and body in order to fully experience our life. Instead, our mind thinking it is we can lead us into negativity, fear, judgment and those other aspects that we do not wish to continue to experience.
The relationship between employee engagement and performance and productivity is direct and well validated. Employee engagement on its own, however, is not as critical as the delivery of performance and productivity. For example, many institutional charities have suffered from high engagement but low performance and productivity. The deadly mix of high passion for the cause, easy entry as volunteers, traditional low salaries for non-volunteers, and the magnitude of their cause, led to high engagement but low performance and low productivity.
Let’s say that right now your attitude is negative. Imagine that something or someone has upset you and you are now feeling either angry or hurt, or both. You can’t seem to let go of it – you keep wondering “Why?” or “What if?” or “If only..” You might even be re-running the incident over and over in your mind. In this state, it’s like being a rabbit or kangaroo caught in headlights – you can’t seem to move from where you are. It affects your body, not only your mind. It stops you from being effective at whatever else you’d rather be doing. OK, we’ve set the scene; you can relate to this, is that so? Choose an event in your life that is like this. Now let’s make the rapid change.
After developing a training model for improving workplace and personal attitudes, and authoring a workbook entitled “Master the Power of Your Attitudes”, some people regard me as an expert on the subject of Attitudinal Competence the ability to generate and hold attitudes for effectively dealing with any situation, and to enable the best possible outcomes.
Just before I finished writing the workbook, my eldest son, Daniel, died on 15 th February 2004, a day after the birthday of his then six year old sister Kiri. I found it almost impossible to hold a “better” attitude and choked on the extremes of grief and anger. I felt no such “expertise” at that time.
Begin with Your Understanding You are either building a high performance team from scratch or transforming an existing team into a high performance team. Regardless of which, don’t re-invent the wheel; sustainable high performing teams are not new. High performing teams are common, if not well known or understood. For instance the Special Air Service Regiment has been in existence since World War Two; Tactical Response Groups in law-enforcement have been in existence for at least forty years; elite sports teams have existed for thousands of years; elite research and development teams have existed for over a century. Other high performance teams we often overlook are our fire services and intensive and emergency care in hospitals.
Wise and experienced leaders from all walks of life tell me that personal reflection is one their most valuable tools for remaining effective and ahead of the game. When I seek to pass this advice on to my clients, I often get this question “How does one effectively reflect?” Reflection is the point of maximum learning from one’s experiences. Whilst experience is learning, reflection about the experience provides even more learning. To maximise the learning opportunity from reflection, create a simple process that enables you to think clearly and record your reflections.
The medical profession is well aware that our thoughts automatically create matching body chemicals which give rise to our “felt” experiences. They also know persistent negative thoughts such as worry, anger, guilt and shame can cause depression and illness. Additionally, our current thoughts greatly influence our immediate behaviour. Our first thoughts, those that arise automatically during situations, influence our immediate feelings (due to the presence of related body chemicals) and our immediate behaviour. Upon reflection, how often do we regret our immediate behaviour particularly those made under workplace stress?
Getting feedback on how we are performing in our workplace role is often difficult to achieve. Mostly it happens once a year at “performance review time” or when you make a significant mistake or error in judgement or behaviour. If your organisation only conducts annual performance reviews, they are not serious about performance; they are simply complying with policy. If your organisation only gives you feedback about negative issues then either bring attention to their lack of authentic leadership and management or look for a better employer. You can also use what I call the “Quick and Easy Three Sixty” or QE360.