21 Aug The stress free organisation
Using science to liberate the human spirit.
There is a simple and powerful way to transform productivity, employee engagement and overall performance. And that is to create the stress free organisation.
In ‘Reinventing management thinking’ Jeremy Old takes a robust approach with organisational performance. He drills down to the root cause of business failure and under performance. Following this path he ends up studying the inherent frailties of the basic building block of any organisation – the human being. Or more precisely the tendency of the human brain to become stressed under certain conditions. This approach has uncovered some primordial reasons why organisations under perform and all too often fail.
A major outcome from the author’s root cause analysis is his ‘thirty stressors model‘. This innovative way of looking at stress provides managers with a comprehensive and easy to use analytical tool. Using the thirty stressors model you can quickly find out why your organisation is not functioning in top gear. Just as important the author tells you what to do about it.
This powerful analysis of the failings of modern organisations resonates with anybody who finds themselves asking questions such as WHY …
- … Is it such a struggle to achieve anything worthwhile here?
- … Am I so exhausted?
- … Are so many people apparently working against the common purpose?
- … Do people resist change and improvement?
- … Are the most unsuitable individuals getting to the top?
- … Is the place riddled with political intrigue?
- … Do we lose the plot from the customer’s point of view?
- … Don’t our plans seem to work?
Jeremy Old answers these perennial questions by applying systems thinking to modern psychotherapy and practical neuroscience. The result is his concept of the stress free organisation.
Be warned, this may not be a comfortable read for a lot of senior managers. This carefully researched book demolishes the case for top down command and control management and the prevailing target culture in the public sector and many large corporations.
An underlying theme is the subversive influence of stress on organisational life
An underlying theme is that the root cause of business failure and organisational dysfunction is the subconscious stress response. Stress is the precursor to crass decision-making, operational mistakes and an array of sub-optimum behaviours found at every level of organisational life.
Unfortunately, it is so often the thinking, behaviour, attitude and actions of managers themselves that trigger the stress response. This new understanding explains why so much of what managers do for a living unwittingly stifles innovation, disrupts flow, trashes teamwork, demotivates staff and works against organisational objectives.
Jeremy Old uses research evidence and a rich catalogue of real life case examples from both the public and private sectors. From these you will see how organisational stress reduces our capacity to think coherently. And also learn how stress harms our ability to work productively, creatively and compassionately. Of particular interest is the practical impact that thirty different ‘stressors’ have on employees’ psychological needs and what his costs the average organisation. Uniquely the author explains how to identify and measure the likely cost of these stressors to the organisation. He then provides simple practical remedies for each stressor, most of which are essentially cost free.
The ‘Thirty Stressor’ model of organisational stress
Jeremy Old recommends that the easiest and quickest way to motivate people is to avoid demotivating them in the first place. Enthusiasm, creativity, collaborative working and creative problem solving are instinctive survival traits that healthy human beings have in abundance, but only when they are in their natural brain state (i.e. not stressed). The thirty-stressor model helps you avoid these classic thirty mind traps so prevalent in organisational life today.
These new insights into the stress response and its harmful consequences challenge accepted norms about leadership and the management function. For a new generation of managers, who possess the right attitude, these insights provide a distinct competitive advantage. If you any reasonably competent individual adopts these practical guidelines they will quickly transform both business growth and organisational competence.
Collaborative leadership creates the stress free organisation
There is a fundamental reason for this transformation. And that is that a powerful antidote to organisational stress is collaborative leadership. The point being that within our DNA is the key human attribute that we are highly socialised, collaborative, problem-solving mammals. When, the usual top down command and control environment, prevents us from collaborative problem solving on behalf of our own group we become stressed. When we become stressed we start under-performing in random ways. And when we under perform so does the organisation around us.
On the other hand, when managers facilitate this innate collaborative faculty they trigger rapid turnaround in both culture and performance. Here, the first step is for managers to appropriately address the structure, function and style of their leadership. When they do this they not only free up information flow and facilitate improved working. They also mobilize the intelligence, energy, focus and problem-solving ability of everyone in the organisation. The result is the stress free organisation. And what that means in practice is vastly higher productivity, faster growth and a much happier and healthier workforce.
Some practical points from the book
The book gives you practical advice and examples to help you re-energise your organisation or work group. Among other gems you can discover:
- How to tap into people’s instinctive needs to unleash their enthusiasm; commitment and creativity;
- The psychotherapy model that explains why so much of what management does, demoralises people
- How targets distort operational focus;
- The ten findings from neuroscience that underpin the case for a more collaborative style leadership;
- The universal principle that taps into people’s innate enthusiasm and commitment;
- The twelve qualities of motivational leaders;
- Why the wrong people often get to the top;
- Why one in six managers are inherently destructive to their organisations;
- How beliefs and particularly self beliefs can obstruct organisational learning and progress.
Contact Jeremy Old for an informal chat about creating the stress free organisation. In particular you may like to learn about our stress audits. Tel: 0845 0945 819 or email email@example.com