Archive for October 2012

Emotional Intelligence: The Power of the Sliver

October 1, 2012

Guest Post by Greg Stewart

Many of us loved the movie The Matrix. There were so many analogies and metaphors that resonated with how we experience life. One of my favorite lines came from Morpheus (played by Laurence Fishburne), the brilliant leader who searched his whole life for Neo, the messiah-like hero who was chosen to save the world (played by Keanu Reeves). In introducing the idea of the Matrix, Morpheus empathizes with Neo’s experience of knowing the Matrix exists, but not being able to put his finger on it. Intriguingly, he tells Neo, “It’s like a splinter in your mind.”

What an incredible statement. There are things that bother us, but we can’t quite put words to them, can’t figure them out; they are like splinters in our mind.

Allow me to create a splinter if one doesn’t exist. We spend a third of our lives sleeping. We are unconscious, not moving, watching movies in our minds of completely unrelated details smashed together like mom’s creative leftovers. Worse yet, we remember those dreams and try to figure them out. We also spend a third of our lives (many of us much more than this) at a job doing something for someone else. Wow. Now imagine you are on your deathbed and actually have enough time and mental capacity to reflect on your life. Are you at peace or not?

But both of these time-vacuums are unavoidable. People try to get less sleep than they need and end up having major emotional problems. Trust me, I have a PhD in Counseling. I’ve seen it. As well, we have to work. We tell our kids, “If you don’t work, you don’t eat.” Simple enough.

Do you like what you do? Does your job fit YOU? Are you passionate about a vision and does your job fulfill that vision? In the end, it’s about feeling accomplished, being at peace, and feeling like “you left the world a better place than you found it.”

Many are familiar with the book Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. Before they even get into the discussion about leadership, they coach the reader in the pre-requisite to leadership: Finding Your Voice. Your voice is your mission, your values, your reason for living. That voice is there, but it must be brought to the surface, analyzed, refined, and defined. Your values flow out of, but enhance your voice, your mission.

My point in all of this is that too many of our employees have a splinter in their minds. They have not yet made the connection between what they do and their voice. As hiring managers, we know we need to tell candidates about our company. How do we do that? We talk about our Mission Statement and Values.

Did you ever notice every value is a good thing and what candidate in their right mind would say they don’t agree with it and love it? But then the employee gets “onboarded” via a fire hose and within three months you actually find out if they will work out. Why do you enforce a probationary period? Is it really to find out if they have the skills for the job? In some cases, yes; in most, no. It’s because you need to find out if they will play nice in the sandbox with their peers and their boss. We say to ourselves that we need to see if they will be good at the job, but the resume should tell you that. However, to be honest, they may even have the resume, but “what got them here isn’t getting them there” and the “there” is where you need to be as a team and a company. You just found out they don’t have the problem-solving skills to pick up immediately at the point of where the company and take off or they can start well, but lack the critical thinking skills to move as fast as, or problem-solve to the degree of … well, what you need them to.

It could also be for another reason: The employee has a splinter in their minds that they can’t figure out what it is. They complain about the company, right? What are they complaining about? They are complaining about the leadership, the system, other people, or their boss. Say goodbye and move on to the exact same hiring process you had before, which will result in another situation described above.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could reproduce your top performers not only in education, experience, and skills, but also in the way your top performers think? If only you could reproduce your top performers in the way they do their jobs.

If only. . . new employees could know for sure that the job they are applying for matches their voice, their thinking, and the way they roll. If only you could know that before you hire them.

If only…