The similarities between the struggles of an organisation and an individual are fascinating. One of the most common challenges to large organisations is getting stuck in inefficiency.
The organisation isn’t running as effectively as it should. Everyone can see how things could be done better yet no matter how many change initiatives are tried, nothing seems to stick.
After short periods of change and enthusiasm new efforts fizzle out and the previous comfortable but frustrating norm is returned to. Now think about the challenges and frustrations most individuals face in their personal and professional lives. There are areas you wish to improve. You can see how things could be better and know you're destined to achieve more. You make improvements but after short periods of change and enthusiasm your new efforts fizzle out and you return to your frustrating but comfortable norm. What’s going on here?
Robert Fritz - author of ‘The Path Of Least Resistance’ has done a beautiful job of explaining this to us through his discovery of the creative process.
Individuals, teams, and organisations are working from one of two modes.
The react/respond mode.
The creative mode.
Most are in the react response mode because it feels safer and is encouraged by society.
As shown in the diagram when in react/respond mode the person or organisation finds themselves in a pattern of oscillation, the frustrating situation described above.
When things are going well we crave growth and improvement. But as growth is achieved we experience discomfort - Because growth requires heavy effort up front. As the growth becomes painful the craving for comfort and safety increases. Enthusiasm for growth is lost and action is taken to move back towards comfort. E.g an organisation jumps from investment to cutting costs, then later on investing again as things become stale.
E.g. a person getting healthier then quitting when they get back pain, then trying fitness again as the back pain subsides and they’re back to feeling unhealthy. It’s a frustrating process for everyone that erodes time, money, resources, and confidence over time.
Think about the person that tried 4 different diets a year, although they lose weight each time they’re on the diet they tend to end the year heavier than they started. It’s this pattern that most individuals, teams, and established businesses find themselves stuck in - often without realising it. How do you break free of this cycle? You go from the react/respond mode to the creative mode. When you are in the creative mode you create tension by painting a clear picture of where you want to be - not where you don’t want to be. Instead of wanting to lose weight, you paint a picture of being healthy. Instead of investing or cutting back, the organisation paints an exciting vision of where they want to be and breaks that down into challenging but exciting objectives. When you do this, everything changes.
Mike Jones Better Happy Founder
Mike founded Better Happy in 2018.
He now works with a variety of businesses ranging from small accountancies up to large organisations such as Travelodge on improving employee happiness. Mike's vision and the vision of Better Happy is 'Every employee happy, every business thriving'