Archive for June, 2005
People like good working relationships and actively seek them out! This idea has clear implications for team building and team effectiveness. By combining this with 4G and the ability to predict relationships, I think there are some interesting new ideas for those who are concerned with productivity and team performance.
Ken Thompson drew my attention to a piece of research published by the Harvard Business Review. ‘Competent Jerks, Lovable Fools and the formation of social networks‘ talks about 4 archetypes within business and people’s preference for working with each one of them. This paper has also been picked up by the Monster Blog, Friends at Work and Fair and Biased, Co-workers: Lovable fools or Competent Jerks? The four types are;
Lovable Star – Competent and Likeable!
Lovable Fool – Likeable but competency issues
Competent Jerk – Competent but likeability question
Incompetent Jerk – Neither Competent nor Likeable!
From the article, it was found that
If someone is strongly disliked, it’s almost irrelevant whether or not she is competent; people won’t want to work with her anyway. By contrast, if someone is liked, his colleagues will seek out every little bit of competence he has to offer.
This point raises two questions in my mind. Firstly, given people’s preference to work with those they enjoy, I firmly believe that the ability to empower individuals and teams with this information and to have them and the organisation work on them leads to significant improvements across the board. The following diagram from 4G provides a good case in point.
The team above highlights those who are likeable and those who are not. For example, encouraging Paulo and Susannah or Jim and Kate to foster a closer working relationship is to the benefit of themselves and the team. In the same vein, being able to predict the quality of these relationships then gives HR or management a clear basis for decision making and ensuring that people, where possible, work with those who they like. From a 4G standpoint, predicting relationships within teams is possible via the use of Social Relationships.
The second point is how do people react to those team members or employees who are both incompetent and likeable?
Apologies for the lack of new posts recently, I’ve just returned from a trip to Spain. I’m slightly burnt but have a smile on my face
I’ve recently been introduced to Derek Jones’ blog, Hero’s Code. Derek talks about his experiences as a coach and introduces us to some of his own perspectives and opinions on a very broad and diverse field. In a post entitled ‘Be a Childlike Coach‘, Derek talks about living in the present, as opposed to the past or the future! Here’s a excerpt that sums this up very well;
The great thing about watching young children play is that they care not at all for the past or the future. Their whole attention is just on the present time and these guys were fully “in the moment” all right. They are for the most part wild and carefree when at play, and not at all burdened by the responsibilities that adults tend to use as an excuse for their miserable demeanor.
When you really think about it, adults are generally not too good at this “living in the present moment” stuff. Even though the only time we can truly experience feelings, whether good or bad, is in the present moment, it is rare that these feelings seem to be linked to present events.
Personally, I believe that living in the present moment is the only way to go. Other bloggers are also picking up on this theme. Adam Eason writes about Engaging in the Moment, Louis talks about Heart @ Work and Spirit Rambler has a post on Looking for Self.
As I’ve said before, I think the issue is one of perceptions within an organisation and the apparently schizophrenic (or Shadow-like) response that specific parts of an organisation can have. Extracts from the article follow;
“I’ve been in HR for 27 years and the profession has always been unhappy. There is too much naval-gazing and most of the problems are of HR’s own making,” Paul Kearns [said]. [However,] Angela O’Connor, vice president of SOCPO and HR director at the Crown Prosecution Service, refuted claims that HR is suffering a communal melancholy. So, the experts’ opinion is split and it seems the profession has something of a schizophrenic mindset, with HR either ecstatic or chronically depressed, depending on who you believe.
It is interesting that this piece links in rather well with others online. Ian McKenzie, Regina Miller, Lori Dorn, Diane M. Pfadenhauer, Jim Ware and Critic have all written a similar piece in response to Liz Ryan’s article, “Why HR Gets No Respect”. Slightly tangental, but I believe that happiness and respect share a strong relationship. Links to their pieces are below;
From my own perspective, I believe that a move towards an integrated model of HR, an idea which is hinted at in an article called ‘An Integrated Model for Strategic HR‘, is perhaps the best contribution I believe I can make at the moment. However, if you don’t want to read it, the story in a nutshell is that HR would benefit from a model that created a series of direct links across the employee life cycle. In other words, just as all aspects of a company’s finances are run through one or a combination of the balance sheet, P&L or cashflow statements, so HR would benefit from a similarly simple management structure. If a simple structure was able to touch all aspects of the employee life cycle and it attracted explicit decision making, at least in part, HR would be in a far better position…
Simon Hamm has very kindly asked me to give a talk on ‘Career Success and Succession Planning‘ to the London Chapter of the ACPI. The date is the 28th June at the new IoD (123). I’m hoping to talk a little about some of our ideas and thoughts around what makes for good careers guidance and hopefully have some time to talk about how 4G fits into this picture. The following quotes really sum up our thinking and stance on the issue;
“The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct acting from inner necessity. The creative mind plays with objects it loves.” Carl G. Jung
“The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” George Bernard Shaw
“Work and Play are words used to describe the same thing under different circumstances.” Mark Twain
The event is open to ACPI members and non-members, so if you’re in the area, it would be good to meet you. If you want to see what other people are thinking about career’s guidance, have a look at Curt Rosengren’s excellent Occupational Adventure and his post on Intuition as a career guidance tool. Another site to have a look at is the Being Bold Blog which is written by Ian Christie. Have a look at Ian’s post on the Weekly Workout Log which looks like a good idea. Finally, we can’t forget our own post on Stuart Lindenfield’s up and coming book, Confident Networking for Career Success and Satisfaction.
Building on from the previous post and the idea that there are 14 Social Relationships, I thought it would be worth introducing and examining some of these relationships one by one. I won’t go through all 14, but hopefully this post will give you a flavour.
The first that is worth mentioning is Relationships of Action. In essence, this is all about creating energy, new ideas, brainstorming and motivation between two people. These ideas are well reflected in a post entitled ‘Energisers‘. You could think of this relationship like a set of spinning gyroscopes, constantly firing off one another and creating lots of noise and activity in the process. Now, while this relationship is ideal for motivation, there is a slight danger that the partners burn each other out or they run out of energy.
The second relationship is a Relationship of Reflection. This acts rather like a mirror and just as a mirror highlights imperfections and is used to guide delicate work (e.g. make-up or shaving), so Relationships of Reflection are a source of critical insight and are ideal for correcting problems or oversights.
Both of these relationships are Green and can be seen as being very positive and for the benefit of both people. What is also interesting is that while these relationships require ‘no effort’, they also represent differences in thinking styles and approaches adopted by the various people involved. In particular, there is no cloning taking place here!
Our first post in the 4G category (An Introduction to 4G) was an attempt to introduce some of the key ideas behind 4G and give people an overview. In this post, I’d like to explore the Social Relationships in a bit more detail.
As you can see in the diagram, there are different grades of relationships, ranging from ‘no effort’, through to ‘significant effort’. The main idea in this instance is to outline that certain relationships are more preferable than others. In addition, this grading of Social Relationships creates a framework for decision making, facilitation and interventions.
What is also worth mentioning is that behind the simplified grading in the diagram, there are actually 14 Social Relationships in total. This then creates a far more complex and ‘rich’ context with which to apply the insights from 4G.
To the best of our knowledge, we don’t know of any other tool or technique which offers such predictions, or insights. We are aware of the work of Fiske and Kenny who have put together other means of understanding relationships but they don’t seem to offer such predictions or insights.
In the UK, the workers who were most happy in their jobs were those who worked in research (59%) and engineering (53%). Those who were least happy at work were employed in sales and customer service (38%) and management (45%). The most unhappy position in the UK is in human resources (39%).
While there is lots of talk about money and health benefits, what I really wonder is how much satisfaction people get from their work and how much they feel they are able to contribute? Not discounting hard cash, but I think some of the reasons for HR being bottom of the list are due to the variously quoted perceptions that HR has, both by people within and outside of the profession. Adspar and Vinay Talwar have also written about the perception of HR. For my own sins, I am sure a good dose of 4G would help
We are not all rational, some of us are of course irrational, it all depends on our attitude…
We are not rational beings. None of us. We like to think that we are, we like to point to logic and reason as our cornerstones, but still, we are not rational. We are emotional, passionate, illogical beings, and the sooner we realise it the better.
While of course this always a good starting point, from my own perspective, I’d just like to add that in my own mind, there is a healthy split between those that, given their psychological attitude, are rational, whilst others are irrational. As an attempt to try and clarify my thinking, have a browse of these extracts I’ve taken from Jung’s Psychological Types (1921).
“The rational is the reasonable, that which accords with reason. I conceive reason as an attitude whose principle it is to conform thought, feeling, and action to objective values. Objective values are established by the everyday experience of external factors on the one hand, and of inner psychological facts on the other. Such experiences, however, could not represent objective ‘values’ if they were ‘valued as such by the subject, for that would already amount to an act of reason. The rational attitude which permits us to declare objective values as valid at all is not the work of the individual subject, but the product of human history.” (Jung, 1921, p. 458)
“I use this term not as denoting something contrary to reason, but something beyond reason, something therefore, not grounded on reason. Elementary facts come into this category; the fact for example, that the earth has a moon, that chlorine is an element, that water reaches its greatest density at four degrees centigrade etc. Another irrational fact is chance, even though it may be possible to demonstrate a rational causation after the event. The irrational is an existential factor which, though it may be pushed further and further out of sight by an increasingly elaborate rational explanation, finally makes the explanation so complicated that it passes our powers of comprehension, the limits of rational thought being reached long before the whole of the world could be encompass by the laws of reason.” (Jung, 1921, p. 454)
“For us, attitude is a readiness of the psyche to act or react in a certain way. The concept is of particular importance for the psychology of complex psychic processes because it expresses the peculiar fact that certain stimuli have too strong an effect on some occasions, and little or no effect on others. To have an attitude means to be ready for something definite, even though this something is unconscious; for having an attitude is synonymous with an a priori orientation to a definite thing, no matter whether this be represented in consciousness or not. The state of readiness, which I conceive attitude to be, consists in the presence of a certain subjective constellation, a definite Combination of psychic factors or contents, which will either determine action in this or that definite direction, or react to an external stimulus in a definite way.”(Jung, 1921, p. 415)
Continuing some of the themes picked up by Paul Barrett in his piece on Validity and Utility in I/O Psychology, he questions the use of disattenuating correlations and the impact this has on validity and practice.
In essence, a disattenuated (or corrected) correlation is a formula for deriving the true correlation with measurement error removed. While we could easily get bogged down in statistical argument and theory, especially if measuring an entire population, as opposed what happens in practice which is that a subset of a population is analysed, the key point, as posed by Barrett, is to ask what is the point of these corrections and what are the impacts on practice? In answer to the first question he writes;
To see what the maximum possible value for a relationship might be if there were no measurement error. This value cannot be used in practice – it yields a hypothetical value that is useful for theory purposes, and for examining the effects of measurement error on a relationship. That’s all.
Regarding the use of such information, Barrett then goes on to say;
These “operational validity” = disattenuated values are equivalent to those presented in the Hunter and Schmidt meta analysis of 1998… which just goes to show the problem faced by practitioners when using meta-analytic evidence to try and make sense of job performance within groups of employees within companies. i.e. great for knowing that engineers need a high level of ability as against a mechanic, but not much use for figuring out who is your best vs worst engineer.
In other words, using this sort of approach is fine when comparing two different skills or professions, for example accountants and sales staff or nurses and teachers but when used to identify exceptional people (on either extreme) from within the same skill set or role, the use of such data has little use. The implications of this research and its conclusions then have further impact on the use of competency based approaches to managing people and Human Capital Management which I’ll go on to look at in another post.
References cited by Barrett;
Schmidt, F.L., & Hunter, J.E. (1998) The Validity and Utility of Selection Methods in Personnel Psychology: practical and theoretical implications of 85 years of research findings. Psychological Bulletin, 124, 2, 262-
Schmidt, F.L., & Hunter, J. (2004) General mental ability in the world of work: occupational attainment and Job Performance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 6, 162-173.
Salgado, J.F., Anderson, N., Moscoso, S., Bertua, C., de Fruyt, F., & Rolland, J.P. (2003) A meta-analytic study of general mental ability validity for different occupations in the European Community. Journal of
Applied Psychology, 88, 6, 1068-1081.
This post is designed to introduce some of the ideas surrounding 4G and its applications. In essence, 4G articulates and predicts relationships (Social Relationships) and culture (Social Groups) in a systematic and logical manner. Also present within 4G is the ability to rank or grade the quality of relationships between people from ‘easy’ to ‘hard’ in terms of the amount of effort required and corresponding levels of morale, performance and productivity. The following diagram illustrates this grading of relationships.
As can be seen, there is a mixture of different relationships amongst the group of five. In particular, Paulo and Susanna and Jim and Kate both share very easy relationships and accordingly, they work very well together. On the other hand, Ulrike and Jim and Ulrike and Kate have a far harder time of things. They need to spend more time, energy and effort in order to achieve the same levels of performance that people with other relationships do.