People, Not Tech, Hold the Keys to AI

To truly grasp AI, we don’t have to delve into the depths of technology; rather, we must understand people. It’s often thought that AI is solely about complex algorithms and computing power, but it’s much more than that. At its core, AI’s development and usage hinge upon human behaviour, decision-making, and social interactions.

AI’s designed to mimic and augment human thought processes, so it’s only natural that we should look to ourselves in order to comprehend it. By studying human cognition and emotions, we would be able to create AI systems that were more intuitive and effective, which in turn could have a profound impact on our daily lives.

Furthermore, AI’s ethical and social implications are deeply rooted in our understanding of human values and morality. To ensure AI is aligned with our beliefs, we must examine our own perspectives and consider the diverse range of opinions and cultures that shape our world.

In a nutshell, it’s the study of people that provides the necessary insights to develop, improve, and implement AI in a way that’s both beneficial and harmonious with our society. Only by understanding ourselves can we truly hope to unlock AI’s full potential.

And if Ai runs amok, it will only be because people will it so.

Why Organisational Psychotherapy Is So Powerful

Organisational psychotherapy is a transformative approach that focuses on uncovering and reflecting upon shared assumptions and beliefs within a workplace. This method fosters open communication and self-awareness, enabling people to better understand the underlying dynamics that shape their work environment.

The primary goal of organisational psychotherapy is to bring to light the shared mental models and values that drive behavior at work. By addressing these deeply ingrained beliefs, engaged individuals can work together to improve the overall culture and effectiveness of their organisation. In essence, this technique facilitates the surfacing of shared assumptions and beliefs about work, nurturing a more cohesive and collaborative environment.

Organisational psychotherapy has been proven to be effective because it helps to uncover the hidden patterns and behaviors that often go unnoticed in the workplace. By addressing these issues directly, people can work together to create a more positive, engaging and supportive atmosphere. This approach succeeds because it tackles the root cause of many workplace issues, rather than merely addressing the symptoms.

The process of organisational psychotherapy can be compared to gently peeling back the layers of an onion, revealing the core beliefs and assumptions that steer the organisation. As these bedrock elements are exposed, people can begin to reshape their perspectives and behaviours, resulting in a smoother and more harmonious work experience.

Organisational psychotherapy works because it encourages open dialogue and reflection, allowing people to examine the fabric of their shared beliefs. Individuals can better collaborate to create a smoother, more supportive and joyful workplace.

In summary, organisational psychotherapy is a powerful approach that exposes and reflects upon shared assumptions and beliefs within a workplace. This process results in a more cohesive and supportive environment, ultimately leading to improved performance and satisfaction. By spotlighting the hair triggers of workplace issues, organisational psychotherapy promotes psychological safety and open dialogue, fosters understanding, and builds a stronger foundation for success.


When Two Worlds Collide: Developers’ Hidden Fear of Psychology

💡Discover the unexpected reasons why software developers run a mile from embracing psychology and behavioural science, and how interdisciplinary collaboration could unlock the true potential of human-centered technology…

Developers and software people may be apprehensive towards psychology and behavioural science for several reasons. The two fields differ significantly, with software development and tech focusing on logic, structure, and deterministic outcomes, while psychology deals with complex, unpredictable human behaviour, which can be complex, unpredictable, and often emotionally driven.

Ethical concerns, such as manipulation and privacy, also contribute to this apprehension. Furthermore, software people generally lack the necessary interdisciplinary training to effectively apply psychological principles in their work.

Also, few are the organisations that have the application of psychology baked in to their culture.

Lastly, some software folks fear that the integration of psychology could lead to biased algorithms, which may perpetuate or exacerbate societal biases.

In total, these factors contribute to the reluctance of software people to embrace psychology and behavioral science in their field.


Psychosocial Challenges in the Workplace: Confronting the Dark Side of Work Culture

Psychosocial challenges in the world of work refer to the negative impacts that the work environment can have on an individual’s psychological and social well-being. These challenges can manifest in various ways, including:

  1. Workplace Violence: This includes physical, verbal, or psychological abuse, bullying, and harassment.
  2. Stress and Burnout: Work-related stress can lead to burnout, which is characterised by emotional exhaustion, a reduced sense of accomplishment, and depersonalisation.
  3. Social Isolation: Lack of social support and interaction at work can lead to feelings of loneliness and social isolation.
  4. Job Insecurity: Fear of job loss, unstable job conditions, and lack of job security can cause anxiety and stress.
  5. Discrimination: Discrimination on the basis of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, age, or disability can lead to feelings of isolation, frustration, and emotional distress.
  6. Work: A lack of balance between work and personal life can lead to stress, burnout, and difficulty managing responsibilities.
  7. Always On: The overuse of technology and the constant need to be connected to work can lead to stress, burnout, and a lack of work-life balance.

Addressing these psychosocial challenges in the world of work requires a concerted effort from employers, employees, and policymakers. This can include providing adequate resources and support to promote psychological well-being, creating a culture of respect and inclusion, and promoting work-life balance.


How To Create Powerful Human Experiences

Following on from my previous post “Emotioneering and Employer Branding”, here a post on how to create opportunities for powerful human experiences at work.

Martin Seligman is a renowned psychologist and a leading expert on the field of positive psychology. He developed the PERMA model, which identifies five essential elements that contribute to a fulfilling life and can help individuals achieve lasting happiness and well-being. These five elements are:

  1. Positive Emotions: Positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, and love play a crucial role in enhancing our overall well-being. To create powerful human experiences, we can focus on cultivating positive emotions by engaging in activities that bring us joy, spending time with loved ones, and practicing gratitude.
  2. Engagement: Engagement refers to the state of being fully absorbed in an activity that we find challenging and rewarding. To create powerful human experiences, we can seek out activities that challenge us and allow us to fully immerse ourselves in the present moment.
  3. Relationships: Positive relationships with family, friends, and colleagues are crucial to our well-being. To create powerful human experiences, we can prioritise building and nurturing meaningful relationships with those around us.
  4. Meaning: Finding meaning in life is essential to our overall well-being. To create powerful human experiences, we can focus on our values and goals, seek out opportunities to contribute to something greater than ourselves, and find purpose in our daily lives.
  5. Accomplishment: Accomplishment refers to the sense of achievement that comes from setting and reaching goals. To create powerful human experiences, we can set challenging but achievable goals for ourselves and celebrate our accomplishments along the way.

In summary, to create powerful human experiences, we can focus on cultivating positive emotions, engaging in challenging activities, building and nurturing meaningful relationships, finding meaning in life, and setting and achieving goals. These elements, as identified by Seligman’s PERMA model, can help us find powerful and positive human experiences.

Hobbled from Day One

Stress can have a significant impact on cognitive function, particularly in collaborative knowledge work environments. CKW requires workers to engage in complex cognitive tasks, such as problem-solving, decision-making, and creativity. These tasks can be significantly impacted by stress, leading to decreased cognitive function and poor performance in the workplace.

Research has shown that stress can impair memory, attention, and decision-making, making it difficult for workers to effectively collaborate and communicate with their colleagues. The stress response can also reduce the brain’s ability to regulate emotions, making it more difficult for workers to manage their own emotions and respond to the emotions of others in a collaborative work environment.

One of the key challenges in collaborative knowledge work is the need to balance individual and group needs. Workers need to be able to effectively manage their own workloads and contribute to the team’s objectives, while also collaborating with their colleagues and contributing to the overall success of the team. Stress can make it more difficult for workers to balance these competing demands, leading to decreased productivity, decreased job satisfaction, and increased turnover rates.

The workplace can play an important role in managing stress and improving cognitive function in CK environments. Employers can take steps to create a supportive and collaborative work environment, such as providing opportunities for social interaction, promoting work-life balance, and offering support for mental health and wellness. Employers can also provide training and resources to help workers manage stress and build resilience.

Another important strategy for managing stress and improving cognitive function in CKW environments is to encourage flexible work arrangements. Flexibility can help workers manage their own workloads and balance individual and group goals, which can reduce stress and improve cognitive function. Flexible work arrangements can also provide opportunities for workers to take breaks, engage in physical activity, and pursue other interests, which can promote overall well-being and job satisfaction.

In conclusion, stress can have a significant impact on cognitive function in collaborative knowledge work environments. Why do so many employers hobble their workforce from day one through stressors and other actions that impair cognitive function, preventing people performing at their best and from contributing fully to the success of their teams?


Enter the Zone of Productivity: Unlocking the Power of Organisational Ketosis

Organisational ketosis is a term that refers to the optimal functioning of an organisation’s internal processes. Just like in the human brain, the cells in an organisation need fuel to function effectively. In this case, the fuel is the flow of information, communication, and collaboration between different teams, departments, or individuals within an organisation. When this flow is efficient and fast, it creates a state of organisational ketosis that allows the organisation to operate at maximum productivity.

To better understand this concept, we can compare the functioning of an organisation to that of a human body. The human body requires a balance of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to function properly. When we consume unhealthy or imbalanced diets, our bodies can become sluggish, and our brains can become foggy. This can affect our ability to think, concentrate, and perform tasks effectively. In contrast, when we consume healthy, nutrient-dense diets, our bodies can become energised, and our thinking can become sharper. This can enhance our cognitive performance and overall well-being.

Similarly, an organisation needs to have an efficient flow of information and collaboration to function effectively. When communication is slow, disjointed, or siloed, it can create bottlenecks that hinder productivity and progress. In contrast, when communication is fast, streamlined, and collaborative, it creates a state of organisational ketosis that allows for maximum efficiency and productivity.

To achieve this state, organisations might choose to focus on creating a culture that prioritises communication, collaboration, and transparency.

Such organisations might choose to break down its silos, promote cross-functional collaboration, and empower its employees to share information and ideas freely.

In addition, organisations might choose to invest in their employees’ training and development to enhance their skills and knowledge. This can enable employees to think creatively, problem-solve effectively, and work collaboratively, all of which are essential for creating a state of organisational ketosis.

In conclusion, organisational ketosis is a state that allows organisations to operate at maximum productivity and effectiveness. It requires a culture that prioritises communication, collaboration, and transparency, as well as the investment in employee training and development. By achieving this state, organisations can enhance their performance, increase innovation, and gain a competitive advantage.

Treating Employees Like Adults: The Key to a Productive and Engaged Workforce

When managing a team of employees, how often do you consider whether you are treating them like adults or like children. Treating employees like adults means giving them the freedom to make decisions, be responsible for their actions, and have ownership over their work. This approach is beneficial for both the employees and the company.

Transactional Analysis (TA) is a psychological theory developed by Eric Berne, which suggests that individuals have three ego states, including Parent, Adult, and Child. When employees are treated like children, they are more likely to behave like children, which can lead to negative behaviors, such as resistance or resentment. However, when employees are treated like adults, they are more likely to behave like responsible and capable adults, which can lead to positive behaviors such as initiative, creativity, and collaboration.

One benefit of treating employees like adults is that it allows for remote working. During the pandemic, many companies have had to adopt remote working policies, and trusting employees to work from home demonstrates that they are capable of managing their time and delivering results without constant supervision. This can lead to a more productive and engaged workforce.

Flexible schedules are also a benefit of treating employees like adults. Allowing employees to set their own schedules shows that they are trusted to manage their time, leading to a more efficient and productive workforce. It also shows that the company values folks’ needs, which can lead to happier and more motivated employees, and reciprocally, a more productive and successful business.

Another benefit of treating employees like adults is reducing the number of working hours per week. When employees are given the freedom to manage their workload, they are more likely to find efficient ways of completing their tasks, leading to a more balanced work-life. This can also reduce stress and burnout, which can increase productivity and employee satisfaction.

In conclusion, treating employees like adults is a beneficial approach that leads to a more productive, engaged, and satisfied workforce. This approach, based on the principles of Transactional Analysis, shows that companies trust their employees to make decisions and take responsibility for their work. Remote working, flexible schedules, and reduced working hours are just some of the features of this approach.


Unlocking the Collective Unconscious: Applying Jungian Psychology to Organisational Psychotherapy

Organisational psychotherapy is a holistic approach to culture change in business. It involves a deep exploration of the dynamics that exist within the organisation and the collective assumptions and beliefs therein. Carl Jung’s theories of psychology can be applied to organisational psychotherapy to provide insight into the subconscious forces at play in these environments.

One of the primary ways Jung’s theories can be applied to organisational psychotherapy is through the concept of the collective unconscious. The collective unconscious is the shared storehouse of human experiences, instincts, and archetypes that are shared by all members of a culture or society. In the context of an organisation, the collective unconscious can manifest itself in the form of shared assumptions, beliefs, and symbols.

For example, if an organisation values individual achievement over teamwork, this can lead to a competitive and hostile work environment. By understanding the collective unconscious, we can work to shift these values and beliefs to create a healthier work environment.

Another way Jung’s theories can be applied to organisational psychotherapy is through the concept of the shadow. The shadow is the unconscious aspect of an individual’s personality that is often repressed or denied. In an organisational context, the shadow can manifest itself in the form of unspoken tensions, conflicts, and power struggles.

Organisational psychotherapy can bring these shadow elements to light. By acknowledging and addressing the tensions and conflicts that exist within the organisation, the organisation can work towards resolving them.

Jung’s theories can also be applied to organisational psychotherapy through the concept of archetypes. Archetypes are universal symbols and patterns that exist within the collective unconscious. In an organisational context, archetypes can manifest themselves in the form of organisational structures, roles, and patterns of behaviour.

By understanding the archetypes at play within an organisation, we can work towards creating a healthier and more functional work environment. For example, if an organisation is dominated by a hero archetype, this can lead to a culture of competition and individualism. By acknowledging and shifting this archetype, we can work towards creating a more collaborative and team-oriented work environment.

In conclusion, Jung’s theories of psychology can be applied to organisational psychotherapy to provide insight into the subconscious forces at play in modern workplaces. By exploring the collective unconscious, the shadow, and archetypes within an organisation, we can gain a deeper understanding of the dynamics at play and work towards creating a healthier and more effective, humane work environment.


Steeped in Violence: How Workplace Aggression Contributes to Society’s Problem

Violence is a pervasive issue in our society. In fact, the workplace is one of the most common settings where violence takes place. This is not just physical violence, but also psychological aggression, such as bullying, harassment, and discrimination. Unfortunately, this workplace violence has a ripple effect on society as a whole, perpetuating a cycle of violence that affects individuals and communities both.

The consequences of violence in the workplace are severe. For employees, it can lead to emotional distress, physical injury, and decreased job satisfaction. For employers, workplace violence can lead to increased insurance costs, decreased employee retention, and decreased employee morale. This creates a vicious cycle, where the violence in the workplace contributes to the violence in society, and vice versa.

Moreover, workplace violence is not limited to specific industries. It can occur in any type of workplace, from a construction site to a corporate office. This is due, in part, to the cultural norms and values that are prevalent in our society. For example, in many cultures, there is a belief that aggression and dominance are desirable traits in a leader, leading to a workplace environment that is prone to violence.

Similarly, cultural norms may also dictate that employees should be passive, leading to an environment where violence is tolerated and unreported.

The culture of violence in the workplace also extends to the wider society. For example, those who are subjected to violence in the workplace are more likely to become victims of violence in their personal lives.

In addition, exposure to violence in the workplace can desensitize individuals to violence, leading to a more violent society. For example, individuals who experience bullying or harassment in the workplace may be more likely to engage in violent behavior in their personal lives.

The cycle of violence between the workplace and society is not easily broken. To address this issue, we might look to changing the cultural norms and values that perpetuate violence in the workplace and society. Additionally, we might choose to provide support and resources to individuals who have experienced workplace violence, such as counseling, legal assistance, and simple compassion

In conclusion, violence in the workplace is a significant issue that has far-reaching consequences. By addressing workplace violence, we can help to break the cycle of violence that affects individuals and communities, and create a safer and more respectful work environment. The key to this is changing the cultural norms and values that perpetuate violence in our society, and promoting a culture of respect and nonviolence.

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

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