Crush the “That’s a Great Idea But…” Blues with These Brainy Tips!

That’s a Great Idea But…

We have all encountered this situation: someone comes up with an innovative and promising idea, everyone agrees it’s a great idea, and yet, nothing happens. Why does this occur so frequently?

The answer lies in our cognitive biases, particularly loss aversion and the status quo bias. Loss aversion is a concept in psychology that suggests that people have a strong tendency to stick with what they already have, unless there is a compelling reason to switch. This is because the perceived disadvantage of leaving the status quo is often greater than the potential advantages of change. The status quo bias reinforces this, as it makes people resistant to change and reinforces the idea that the current state is acceptable.

These biases have a significant impact on decision making, as people are often reluctant to give up established strategies that have been working, no matter how ineffective they may be, for fear of losing what they already have. This resistance to change is further exacerbated by risk aversion, as people tend to be risk averse and may hesitate to embrace new ideas if they perceive there to be a risk involved.

In order to overcome these biases, it’s important to create a culture that values innovation and encourages open-mindedness. This can be achieved through education and awareness, exposure to new ideas and perspectives, and involving The Folks That Matter™ in the decision-making process. By acknowledging and addressing these biases, we can create a more innovative and dynamic environment that fosters growth and progress.

In conclusion, “that’s a great idea but…” is a common refrain, but it doesn’t have to be. By recognising the impact of loss aversion and the status quo bias, we can work to overcome these biases and create an environment that values innovation and progress.

Mind Games: Let’s Talk About the Dark Side – Psychopathy in the Workplace

Psychopathy is a personality disorder characterised by traits such as lack of empathy, charm, and manipulation. It has a significant impact on organisations, as individuals with psychopathic tendencies have a negative effect on their colleagues, as well as on the overall work environment.

Sidebar: Psychopathy is considered a disorder because it is associated with a range of negative outcomes, including violent behavior, impulsive and irresponsible actions, and a lack of empathy or remorse. People with psychopathy often have difficulty forming and maintaining meaningful relationships, and they may engage in antisocial or criminal behavior. Additionally, research has shown that individuals with psychopathy have neurological and cognitive differences suggesting that it is a biological as well as psychological disorder.

Studies have shown that individuals with higher levels of psychopathy tend to have lower levels of emotional awareness. This lack of empathy could stem from a low awareness of others’ emotions, which can result in a lack of concern for the feelings and well-being of others. However, it should be noted that this is only true for individuals with psychopathy who have also experienced childhood abuse or neglect. For those who have not experienced abuse or neglect, they may have high levels of emotional awareness, which could help them be more manipulative and charming.

According to data from the World Health Organisation, approximately 1% of the general population is estimated to have psychopathy. In organisations, this number is likely to be higher, as individuals with psychopathic tendencies tend to be drawn to positions of power and control, such as CEO, CFO, and senior management positions.

The impact of psychopathy in organisations can also be seen in terms of unethical behavior. Individuals with psychopathic tendencies have been shown to engage in unethical behaviors such as lying, cheating, and stealing, and are more likely to engage in illegal activities, such as embezzlement or fraud. This can have a significant financial impact on organisations, as well as harming their reputation.

The negative impact of psychopathy on the work environment can also result in lower morale and increased turnover rates. Individuals with psychopathic tendencies can be hostile and intimidating, causing fear and stress in their colleagues.

Furthermore, the manipulative nature of individuals with psychopathic tendencies can also result in a lack of trust among employees. Psychopaths are often able to deceive others and manipulate situations to their advantage.

In conclusion, the impact of psychopathy in organisations can be significant and far-reaching. Few organisations have any kind of programme to address this risk.


Workforce Mental Health Issues: A Silent Killer of Productivity and Profit

Workforce mental health issues can have a significant impact on the bottom line. The cost of absenteeism, presenteeism, and turnover can be staggering, with estimates suggesting that the cost of mental health issues to UK employers is £34.9 billion per year. This can include direct costs such as medical expenses, workers’ compensation, and disability claims, as well as indirect costs such as lost productivity and increased turnover.

Absenteeism is the most obvious impact of workforce mental health issues. According to the Mental Health Foundation, employees with mental health issues take an average of 23.8 days off per year, compared to 6.6 days for employees without mental health issues. This can lead to increased labor costs, as organisations are forced to find temporary replacements or pay overtime to other employees, which can amount to around £1,300 per employee per year. Additionally, absenteeism can lead to decreased productivity and morale, as other employees are forced to pick up the slack.

Presenteeism is another. Employees who are struggling with mental health issues may come to work, but may not be able to perform at their best, leading to an estimated £15.1 billion per year in lost productivity. Additionally, presenteeism can lead to decreased morale, as other employees may feel resentful that they are carrying the load for their struggling colleagues.

Staff turnover can also increase. Employees who are struggling with mental health issues may be more likely to leave their jobs, which can lead to increased hiring and training costs, as well as decreased productivity and morale. According to a report by Deloitte, the cost of replacing a single employee can be as much as £30,614. Additionally, turnover can lead to a loss of institutional knowledge and valuable skills, which can be difficult to replace.

To address the impact of these issues on the bottom line, organisations can take a number of steps. One of the most important is to create a culture of openness and support. Employees should feel comfortable talking about their mental health issues and seeking help, without fear of discrimination or retaliation.

Additionally, resources and support for employees who are struggling can help. This might include employee assistance programs, counseling services, and mental health days.

Finally, all organisations can be more proactive in identifying and addressing potential mental health issues in the workforce. This might include conducting regular employee surveys, monitoring absenteeism and turnover, and providing regular mental health screenings. By taking these steps, organisations can reduce the impact of workforce mental health issues on the bottom line and create a more positive and productive work environment for everyone.

Euphoria as a Chosen Response to Stressors: Embracing the Power of Positive Thinking and Mindfulness

As a society, we often view stress (technical term: “distress”) as something negative and harmful to our well-being. However, it is important to recognize that our response to stressors is not predetermined, but rather a choice that we make. One response that we might choose is to experience euphoria in the face of stressors.

Euphoria is defined as a state of intense happiness and self-confidence. It is a powerful tool that we can use to combat the negative effects of stress. When faced with a stressful situation, we can choose to focus on the positive aspects of the situation and find ways to enjoy it. This mindset shift allows us to see the opportunity for growth and development in the stressor, rather than simply viewing it as a hurdle to overcome or avoid.

One way that we can achieve euphoria in the face of stressors is through the practice of gratitude. By actively searching for things to be thankful for, we are able to shift our focus from the negative to the positive. This allows us to see the beauty in the stressor and appreciate the challenge it presents. This allows us to experience the stressor with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm, rather than dread and fear.

Another way that we achieve euphoria in the face of stressors is through the practice of mindfulness. By being present in the moment and fully engaged in the task at hand, we are able to immerse ourselves in the experience. This allows us to fully enjoy the process and find a sense of satisfaction in what we are doing. This allows us to approach the stressor with a sense of purpose and meaning, rather than feeling overwhelmed and drained.

In addition, physical activity can also play a role in euphoria. Engaging in physical activity can release endorphins which can improve our mood and also can help us to relax and focus on the present. This can be as simple as taking a walk outside or doing some yoga.

In conclusion, our response to stressors is not predetermined, but rather a choice that we make. We can choose to experience euphoria in the face of stressors by shifting our focus to the positive aspects of the situation, practicing gratitude, mindfulness, and physical activity. By choosing these responses, we are able to see the opportunity for growth and development, rather than simply viewing it as a hurdle to overcome. This allows us to approach the stressor with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm, rather than dread and fear.

Quintessential Morons

Quintessential morons are not those folks with a shortfall in intellect, but those folks with a shortfall in awareness of the limitations and boundaries of their personal world view.

The latter group are not open to changing themselves because they remain unaware of the need for, and benefits to themselves and others of, personal change.

The world is stuffed full of quintessential morons.

Chances are, you’re one too.

– Bob

What Is Quintessence?

Let’s start with what it’s NOT. Quintessence (I’m talking here about the approach, not the book) is not:

  • A framework
  • A method
  • A methodology

If it’s any ONE thing, It’s most like a detailed model or map of a well-functioning, or sane, CKW (collaborative knowledge woirk) organisation. A bit like an anti-DSM, or Prof Martin Seligman’s positive psychology P.E.R.M.A. model.

Quintessence’s roots lie in psychotherapy. Often referred to as Talk Therapy. And more specifically, in therapy as applied to groups, communities, and organisations (rather than individuals).

Quintessence (the approach) is aimed at helping organisations surface and reflect on their collective assumptions and beliefs, with a view to shifting their culture into closer alignment with their business goals.

I’d be delighted to explain further, if you’re interested.

– Bob

How Do You Set Up A Salary Model That Has Everyone’s Approval?

Remuneration policy reflects an organisation’s culture. It’s a calling card for your company and a key element of employer branding. Given current recruiting challenges, it also determines who wants to join or stay with your company.

What Is A Salary Model?

A salary model, or remuneration policy, is a system of guidance that an organisation uses to determine each employee’s remuneration (a.k.a. package). A typical salary model takes into account things like merit, length of employment, and pay compared to similar positions.

Everyone’s Approval?

You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

~ John Lydgate

Salary models are almost always contentious, and the source of frequent fractious arguments and ill-will. Few people favour being treated just like everybody else, seeing themselves as individuals. Yes, fairness has a role to play – humans and capuchins both being acutely attuned to the notion of fairness. But who adjudicates what is fair when it comes to salaries and other remunerations?

At Familiar, and now at TheQuintessentialGroup, we seek to treat people as adults, and encourage adult-to-adult interactions. Accordingly, we believe that only the individual in question is at all placed to decide what is fair, and thus to determine their personal individual salary or other remuneration. Our experiences at Familiar showed this idea as entirely workable, and helped us learn the amazing up-side to such a salary model.

This perspective also aligns with the Antimatter Principle: “Attend to folks’ needs”. Who else but the individual can truly decide what their needs are, salary-wise? Needless to say, the Antimatter Principle stands proud at the heart of TheQuintessentialGroup’s approach to community-building, and to business.

So, for clarity, this salary model states:

Each fellow decides his or her own salary (or other remuneration, depending on engagement model). Each fellow is free to change salary or other remuneration levels as and when – and as often as – they see fit.

Note: This particulalr salary model is the salary model of choice for TheQuintessentialGroup.


One wrinkle that did emerge at Familiar, given the totally alien nature of this salary model, was the difficulty some folks had in deciding on the specifics of their package. We discovered that support and dialogue amongst fellows (along with full transparency for all) helped greatly with resolving this difficulty.

Another, more general wrinkle is the collective assumptions and beliefs of the decision-makers and those that sign off – or don’t – on the salary model. The headline of this post is about winning everyone’s approval. Managers and executives that have a sublimated Theory-X view of the world probably won’t approve of this salary model. Which I find sad, for the people and for the performance of the workforce (and thus, of the organisation).

– Bob


“Has everyone’s approval” seems to me a pretty low bar. I’d prefer to see a salary model that “everyone loves and raves about”. How about you?

At Face Value

I’ve hired a lot of people over the years. Both for my own businesses and on behalf of clients.

One thing most of these hirings have had in common is taking the successful candidates – well, all the candidates, really – at face value.

Which is to say, believing the things they say about themselves – about their character, their abilities, their experience, their needs, etc.. A bit like UPR (Unconditional Positive Regard).


At the time, we needed an IEEE 754 floating point package for our commercial Modula-2 compiler. At that time our compiler only supported integer math, and for greater commercial appeal we decided floating point support was also necessary.

So we looked for someone with floating point implementation experience. We found someone who said he had such experience, and we took him at face value.


Let’s dive into our experience with Niklas. He was a student from Germany looking for some summer work experience in London. We had a chat over the phone, and invited him to join us. He took us up on the offer, and came to stay and work with us. His work was outstanding. Everything he had claimed, and more. He accomplished the necessary in two months. It would have taken me six.

Trust or Doubt

How likely is it that new hires are going to be impressed that the hiring manager, team or organisation doubts their word? Is doubt any constructive basis upon which to start building a positive relationship? Lack of trust, much?

How do you deal with candidates’ claims and representation of themselves? Scepticism or respect? Doubt, or trust?

– Bob

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