Organisational Intelligence

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About the Series

No one does workshops like us.

Organisational Intelligence

You deal constantly with two levels of complexity. Finite internal complexity and infinite external complexity. Organisational intelligence is the science of using internal resources to absorb external complexity and produce value.

Who Should Attend?

Are you responsible for:

☐ Employee Engagement?

☐ Increasing Value?

☐ Long Term Planning?

Then you are either the owner of a fast-growing company or a senior manager in a large organisation.

Benefits

☑ Consistent Ideal Performance
☑ More passionately engaged employees
☐ Psychological Flexibility
☐ Resilience
☑ Save €2,213.28 on each employee, every year.

What to expect

Interactive participation

Inductive learning experience

Problem-based learning

The first three workshops in the series focus on the most expensive issue for German companies: employee engagement.

No single factor drains your organisation more than this. Starting with Organisational Stress Management, you will learn how to rescue your organisation’s potential from disengagement.

Topics

1. Organisational Stress Management

2. Complex Adaptive Systems

3. Personnel Selection and Placement

4. Building a Learning Organisation

5. Safe Innovation

6. Leader Development

7. Reward Management

8. Social Performance

2. Complex Adaptive Systems

4. Building a Learning Organisation

6. Leader Development

8. Social Performance

Upcoming Workshop: Organisational Stress Management

Introduction

Organisational stress management, through deep investigation and integration of the current literature in performance psychology, stress physiology, and functional contextualism, provides a practical understanding of stress at varying levels of analysis.

Our method improves the psychological well-being and productive performance of high-level of you and your employees. Organisational stress management is a guide to understanding the processes involved in ideal performance, you will understand each performance process and target the specific areas that demand improvement. This means we do not aim at specific outcomes, instead we work on the processes that produce ideal performance.

We start with stress because it is an area of massive social importance. Organisational stress intensifies as modern work continues to place unprecedented demands on employees. We investigate the causes and consequences of organisational stress to develop more effective responses. The goal is to improve quality of experience while increasing productivity through:

• The identification and development of human potential
• Promotion of ergonomic working environments
• Assessment of individual performance with transparent appraisal systems.
• Motivating employees through intrinsic reward systems
• Measuring psychological key performance indicators like job satisfaction

Although occupational stress is a universal experience, it is a complex scientific construct that requires knowledge of its mother construct: stress.

Stress is a psychophysiological reaction to stimuli that overloads one’s adaptive capacities. Organisational stress increases where there is a misalignment between work demands and your ability to cope with those demands.

There are two forms of stress: eustress and distress. The label applied depends on your interpretation of the stressor as either challenging or threatening. Eustress helps us meet our goals and stimulates positive productivity; however distress can cripple and lead to burnout.

The worst outcomes from organisational stress correlate with the greatest  reward dissonance.

When an employee’s high production does not lead to reciprocation, then it is likely to fuel ongoing distress. Work stress often spills over into non-working life causing relationship issues and health problems.

The work-life dissonance arising from occupational stress often reveals itself as an inability to detach from work. That is why we focus on the active management of stress within the organisation to reduce the negative spillover that damages employees’ personal lives.

The key outcome of organisational stress management is psychological flexibility: the ability to surprises investigate ongoing experience and uncover information that guides behaviour in consonance with your chosen values.

Learning is additive so you can become more flexible by accepting negatively valenced cognitive events such as a stress reaction, burnout, or performance slumps.

Our method produces measurable improvement at every stage of the stress cycle.

Economics of Stress

Stress contributes to disease globally. By 2020, stress will be the leading cause of disability according to the World Health Organisation Global Burden of Disease Survey. The price of stress extends beyond healthcare costs.

Organisations rarely maintain an accurate account of how much value organisational stress is wasting through: absenteeism, compensation claims, litigation, accidents, errors of judgement, conflict, interpersonal problems, customer service problems, resistance to change, insufficient time, and loss of intellectual capital.

◈ What type of stress impacts organisational value?

◈ Does domestic stress impacts job performance?

◈ Are there any benefits to stress?

◈ How may stress impacts the cost of employee healthcare?

 

Things are looking great for Germany…

Trade surplus ☑

Low unemployment ☑

Strong Worker Protections ☑

 

Most employees seem to feel good:

☑ 57% of German employees describe themselves as “thriving”

☑ Only 8% feel insecure in their jobs

☑ 77% are confident in the financial future of their organisation

☑ 73% satisfaction with their place of work

☑ 64% agree they receive fair pay

but there’s a problem…

Actively disengaged workers in Germany

%

Engaged German Workers

%

Disengaged Employees Looking for New Work

German companies employ 5,400,000 actively disengaged workers. For many of these employes a disengaged environment as work has become so normal they do not notice it until surveyed, this is a hidden problem that impacts all levels of society.

Only 16% of German workers are engaged in their job. This is a major problem. 68% of employees are passively disengaged which means they put no passion into their work. The remaining 16% are actively disengaged which means they come to work each day with malicious intent.

Fortunately, from a high of 24% in 2012, the share of actively disengaged employees has been falling. The problem is that the rate of engaged workers has remained low since Gallup collected records in 2001, never rising above 16%. This disengaged 84% represents a great opportunity to produce more net value and improve the lived experience of the employees making up the 84%.

Regardless of industry or job role, it is possible to design work to align organisational objectives with the intrinsic motivations of each individual employee and increase the number of passionately engaged employees in your organisation.

Average Days to Fill a Vacancy

Manage this expensive problem

Badly managed occupational stress disengages employees from work, causing long terms damage.

Most German workers say they are feeling satisfaction with their jobs, but for engagement the numbers are confusing. An imperfect analogy is that of a smoker, even a declared satisfaction with their current health does not rule out underlying damage.

Engagement is the key indicator of organisational stress management, not satisfaction. This may seem strange, but it is much easier for employees to voice satisfaction than to work passionately each day. Since engagement is action, it is a more reliable and relevant measure of an employee’s response to ongoing organisational stress.

 

Gallup Study of German Workers 2016:

➘ Mental or emotional distress drains €9,005,760,000 of German productivity annually
➘ 46% of German Workers felt stressed the previous day
➘ 32% of them felt burned out the previous day
➘ 30% reported behaving badly with family or friends on three or more days in the past 30 days due to stress
➘ Over 4,100,000 German employees are experiencing mental or emotional distress
➘ Between 1,500 and 3,300 workers at each 30 DAX company are treated for burnout each year
➘ Employees with burnout, depression or anxiety disorders missed 15.8 days of work per year due to illness, while the rest missed 7.1 days
➘ Employees in Germany suffering distress miss 35.4 million more days of work each year than their undistressed counterparts.
➘ Gallup estimates each missed workday costs German companies €254.40
➘ Distressed employees miss an average of 8.7 extra work days each year, costing an additional €2,213.28 on average, per employee, per year

Low Engagement Poisons Organisations

Hurts your employees:
➚ Engagement levels affect the extent to which people enjoy their lives.
➚ 83% of engaged employees say they had fun at work during the last week, versus 5% of actively disengaged employees.
➘ Actively disengaged workers are more likely to feel burned out due to work stress: 60% versus 21%.

Damages your employer brand:
➘ Only 3% of actively disengaged employees would recommend their organisation as a place to work to friends and family members, versus 75% of engaged employees.
➘ Only 15% would recommend their organisation’s products or services to friends or family, versus 78%.

Lowers loyalty and retention:
➘ Just 30% of disengaged German employees plan to remain with their current organisation three years, versus 87% of engaged employees
➘ 21% of actively disengaged plan to spend their career with their current organisation, versus 84%.
➘ Right now, 14% of actively disengaged employees are looking for new jobs, versus only 1% of active employees.

That’s about 760,000 actively disengaged employees looking for new jobs in Germany, but shouldn’t organisations say “good riddance” to disengaged employees? Well, perhaps. But these employees are often highly skilled.

The cost of replacing an employee in Germany is about 1.5x their annual salary and, according to the Bundesagentur für Arbeit, it takes 84 days on average to fill a vacancy. All organisations want to reduce turnover. Increasing engagement is the most efficient way to reduce turnover.

The Financial Impact of Disengagement

Lack of engagement costs Germany up to €275Bn per year but we can’t solve this billion euro problem with the same thinking causing the ongoing problem. Managers need to understand extrinsic motivation can never produce engagement. Managers need the skills to motivate employees intrinsically.

Actively disengaged employees are not just unhappy in isolation, they degrade the work of engaged team members each day. Actively disengaged employees costs the German economy between €73Bn and €95Bn in annual lost productivity, according to Gallup. When we combine the damage caused by workers who are passively disengaged, the loss is between €210Bn and €275Bn each year.

Annual cost of distress in Germany

Annual cost of active disengagement

Annual cost of passive disengagement

Annual cost of disengagement

Defining Stress

Stressors and Strains

Stressors: events that cause stress
Strain: an employee’s response to stress

Stress is an ongoing state of disequilibrium which the tools of physics cannot measure. Stress management involves a thorough analysis of the underlying systems that produce stress over time.

Personality factors are important for a full understanding of how employees respond to the ongoing environment. Personality differences contribute to the psychological meaning attributed to an event.

Four Misconceptions:

1. Organisational stress relates to negative affect. The public believes organisational stress produces negative feelings regarding work. Paradoxically, our research shows this to be false.

2. Managers often assume stress arises from a lack of positive effect, that an inverse relationship between positive and negative reactions exists. This implies that stress and positive behaviour occupy opposite ends of the well-being spectrum, but this is not the case. Employees can behave positively even under intense stress.

3. Stress is a single variable construct. Response-based measurements strain,accepted as the sole measure of organisational stress: anxiety, depression, job satisfaction, etc. This unbalances one’s understanding of organisational stress and leads to band-aid solutions.

4. Negative work experiences are causing organisational stress. There is a common belief that negative experiences at work contribute to organisational stress. This leads to a myopic focus on the relationship between stressors and negative outcomes while ignoring challenge, eustress, and positive outcomes.

The Stress Cycle

A mixture of genetics, experience, and reinforcement produces a hierarchy of values. This determines an individual’s equilibrium. Stress creates strain when equilibrium breaks without being restored. This occurs through a feedback relationship between equilibrium setpoint and current experience.

Stress cycle:
1. Detection
2. Adaptation
3. Action
4. Review

1. Detection

What framing are you trying to maintain at work?
How do you determine actual ongoing conditions?
How do you perform ideal-actual comparisons?

Depending on your cognitive appraisal of the environment. If you appraise an event as stressful, then you will experience a stress reaction independent of any objective facts regarding the experience.

The detection process measures a lack of consonance between your present experience and personal equilibrium. Dissonance signals stress.

The personal equilibrium is the state we would remain given the choice. Understanding your personal equilibrium, and that of your individual employees, gives you context to identify what may tax your psychological resources.

Stressors correlate to stress responses with coefficients recorded between .06 and .5 – This is a huge variability in how individuals respond to stress. Much of the variation is due to personality and personal experience. Regardless of the cause, such variability makes it challenging to response determine the conditions likely to cause an individual employee strain.

Employee variability in work values framing guarantees wild variability in terms of which stressors produce strain for whom. The challenge is framing work values in a way that allows managers to identify which framing an employee is trying to maintain. To do this, managers should understand each employee’s unique hierarchy of values.

Two factors influence employees’ ongoing values framing:

1. Perceived uncertainty
2. Perceived efficacy
According to these measures, employees frame a hierarchy of work values based each event’s potential to cause strain.

efficacy
÷
uncertainty

= hierarchical work values

 

Ongoing Experience

To detect strain, you need knowledge of your ongoing experience to compare with a preferred experience. Analysing your ongoing experience is tricky due to information asymmetry in organisations.

Even the most talented employees can only focus on limited slices of of the ongoing environment. This strain detection challenge is due to the opacity and temporal caprice of ongoing environmental cues such as: work demands, relationships, and decision-making participation. The dynamic nature of your ongoing environment makes it difficult to discern what is relevant.

2. Adaptation

What is the effect of error, lag, and gain on your choice of action?
How are you dealing with various ongoing work stressors?
Do you increase work to increase your response repertoire?

Learn the relationship between strain detection and adaptation. When you detect strain, an automatic adaptation process prepared you for action. Three properties affect the adaptation process: error, lag, and gain.

 

Error

Selecting the correct action depends on the accuracy of the information you receive about the causes of strain. Such detection errors can delay decision-making or lead to maladaptive action strategies.

Opacity of environmental cues
Insufficient information to detect strain
Perceptual distortion
Dysfunctional ideal-actual comparison
The common thread is that each of these force employees to select action strategies based on insufficient data.
Develop employees that are more adaptable, reality-oriented and resilient.

 

Lag

Causes: Difficulty analysing relevant information + Dysfunctional ideal-actual comparisons

The temporal nature of feedback has significant consequences for your action options at any point in time. Longer lag results in slower strain detection and speed of detection dictates how much time you have to develop, critique, and execute an action in response.

When lag is too short, it causes cognitive overload and overwhelms your adaptive capacity. When too long, it’s difficult to make the causal relations necessary for automatic adaptation.

 

Gain

Gain affects ongoing choice of action by providing feedback about ideal-actual harmony. This process is dynamic and not a simple Boolean value applied to strain.

Your ability to interpret gain feedback improves the probability of selecting an adaptive response. Each action in your repertoire, responding to different sources of stress, experiences variance in selection probability.

A limited ability to generate action options limits the variety of stressors you can cope with. That’s why we focus on stress management and strain reduction. Never stress reduction, because stress is not a single variable that responding to direct manipulation, rather it is an emergent phenomenon.

3. Action

In what ways do changes in strain affect your ongoing action?
How does your skill level and the task difficulty influence the effects of strain?

Imagine a middle manager receiving an ambiguous message from the CEO. The manager may react in an adaptive or maladaptive way. One response would be to seek clarification, and to keep seeking until the ambiguity disappears. Another response would be to ignore the message hoping the problem resolves itself.

We all adjust ongoing action as the rate of strain changes. Those with more skills are better able to keep the behaviour coordinated with changes in strain. As the complexity of a situation increases, it becomes more difficult to coordinate behaviour with the ongoing environment. Limitless options limit action.

4. Review

How have specific actions affected strain?
What are the cumulative effects of repeated responses?

Regular review allows you to analyse the cumulative effects of past actions. In high stress situations we don’t always select the most adaptive action, an autonoetic review is important for considering the events leading up to the maladaptive response, the possible future effects of the response, and an action plan for dealing with similar events.

The purpose of the review is not punitive, it is an important learning step that allows you to expand your repertoire of adaptive action. This means surprises will be less surprising for you, enjoy spending more time each day experiencing ideal performance.

2. Adaptation

What is the effect of error, lag, and gain on your choice of action?
How are you dealing with various ongoing work stressors?
Do you increase work to increase your response repertoire?

Learn the relationship between strain detection and adaptation. When you detect strain, an automatic adaptation process prepared you for action. Three properties affect the adaptation process: error, lag, and gain.

 

Error

Selecting the correct action depends on the accuracy of the information you receive about the causes of strain. Such detection errors can delay decision-making or lead to maladaptive action strategies.

Opacity of environmental cues
Insufficient information to detect strain
Perceptual distortion
Dysfunctional ideal-actual comparison
The common thread is that each of these force employees to select action strategies based on insufficient data.
Develop employees that are more adaptable, reality-oriented and resilient.

 

Lag

Causes: Difficulty analysing relevant information + Dysfunctional ideal-actual comparisons

The temporal nature of feedback has significant consequences for your action options at any point in time. Longer lag results in slower strain detection and speed of detection dictates how much time you have to develop, critique, and execute an action in response.

When lag is too short, it causes cognitive overload and overwhelms your adaptive capacity. When too long, it’s difficult to make the causal relations necessary for automatic adaptation.

 

Gain

Gain affects ongoing choice of action by providing feedback about ideal-actual harmony. This process is dynamic and not a simple Boolean value applied to strain.

Your ability to interpret gain feedback improves the probability of selecting an adaptive response. Each action in your repertoire, responding to different sources of stress, experiences variance in selection probability.

A limited ability to generate action options limits the variety of stressors you can cope with. That’s why we focus on stress management and strain reduction. Never stress reduction, because stress is not a single variable that responding to direct manipulation, rather it is an emergent phenomenon.

4. Review

How have specific actions affected strain?
What are the cumulative effects of repeated responses?

Regular review allows you to analyse the cumulative effects of past actions. In high stress situations we don’t always select the most adaptive action, an autonoetic review is important for considering the events leading up to the maladaptive response, the possible future effects of the response, and an action plan for dealing with similar events.

The purpose of the review is not punitive, it is an important learning step that allows you to expand your repertoire of adaptive action. This means surprises will be less surprising for you, enjoy spending more time each day experiencing ideal performance.

Well-being

Only 29% of German employees believe their company cares about their overall well-being. – Gallup

Well-being directly impacts performance. Positive and negative experiences operate independently, positive experiences increase engagement and negative experiences cause distress.

Culture can contribute to both positive and negative experiences. Action options determine the harmony between organisational culture and an employee’s work experience.

Emotion-based action is maladaptive. Challenge-based action is adaptive. Most employees will use a mix of challenge and emotion-based action. Our goal is to increase the frequency of challenge-based responses.

Resilience

A major goal of organisational stress management is to describe how to increase in net value in spite of accelerating complexity.

Resilience is an organisation’s ability to withstand repeated and varied crises and emerge improved. Effective crisis management requires allocating latent resources as challenges arise.

Resilience requires ongoing proactive preparation for adverse events. Resilient organisations predict future events with pragmatic accuracy. Such predictions assess how the organisation is performing compared to its performance limits.

 

Observation and simulation help organisations adapt to future crises earlier when they are more manageable while adapting the organisation to recover from shocks. The focus is not on eliminating crisis events because crisis is inevitable. The focus is making the organisation so adaptable that even major shocks have a hermetic effect.

Resilience allows organisations to learn from the unexpected.

Treat success with stoic appreciation because:

⚑ Your organisation’s risk models need updating
⚑ Your organisation’s countermeasures are, by definition, insufficient
⚑ Your organisation’s present position is fragile

 

Weak organisations die from severe shocks or even a series of minor shocks. This vulnerability stems from the following common belief:

“We are not experiencing a crisis. Therefore, there is no threat of crisis and so our current countermeasures are sufficient.”

Weak organisations place a burden of proof on reports of problems. In these organisations managers practice motivated scepticism against any negative evidence. Conversely, resilient organisations treat threat signals as fitness indicators.

A common initial criticism is that the resilience framework focuses too much on failure, but it is better to think of this as pragmatic wariness. Resilient organisations seek to disprove their assumptions making use of OAAR Projects to stress test the organisation. In such projects every employee has an equal voice to identify errors, threats, and maladaptive conditions.

Resilient organisations operate with the belief they can absorb the complexity of the operating environment. They invest in expanding complexity capacity.

Resilient organisations treat crises as opportunities, not threats. Near misses provide precious lessons about organisational fitness. Understanding organisational imperfections allows resilient organisations to make incremental improvements over long time horizons.

Developing resilience helps your organisation emerge stronger from shocks and crises. To ensure ongoing resilience, a resilience framework team should meet quarterly to stress test the organisation.

1. Analyse Vulnerabilities
2. Challenge Assumptions
3. Discussion Value Generation
4. Autonoetic Problem-solving
5. Responsibility-based Delegation

Standard Interventions

A stress management intervention is any purposeful action taken to reduce the distress of employees as they execute their responsibilities. These are the current organisational best practices for primary, secondary, and tertiary interventions:

 

Primary Interventions

Changing the work environment to reduce psychosocial hazards:

• Clear Roles

• Ergonomic Social Structures

• Hazard Identification

• Job Redesign

• Stress Awareness Training

• Wellness Culture

• Work Flexibility

 

Secondary Interventions

Assisting employees in coping with work stress:

• Development

• Recreational Facilities

• Social Events

• Stress Management Training

• Wellness Programs

 

Tertiary interventions

Therapy for sufferers of stress-related illness:

• Counselling

• Employee Assistance Programs

• Compensation Payments

• Rehabilitation Costs

The costs are much higher with secondary and tertiary interventions compared to proactive primary interventions. Organisations should focus on prevention.

Our Approach

Organisational stress management is an overarching model of effective interventions based on the science of language and cognition.

As pragmatists, we adopt a functional approach to meaning based on prediction and results. We value precision, scope, and depth in the analysis of organisational dynamics in both a historical and situational context.

Our main performance indicator is contextual engagement. Influencing behaviour means understanding the context in which the behaviour is to occur. Our measure of success is your meaningful progress towards valued goals. We provide organising principles you can use to offer more value.

We take a functional contextualist approach to human language and cognition. The core of our language and cognition is learning to connect events by either formal or abstract attributes. These relational frames have two features:

1. Relational context – How and when are events, in your current framing, related?

2. Functional context – How does your relational framing change your actions?

For example, a newly promoted manager may delight at the bonus and extra salary, but later more abstract attributes such as stress, pressure, and fatigue may take hold and change the functional context.

In this simple example, we have a relational frame made up of several events: the new promotion; extra money; extra responsibility. Money and promotion connect temporally, and a wide range of actions may spring from such an event: shopping spree, investments, gifting.

Likewise, the relationship between the promotion and the extra responsibility are not as connected in the temporal sense but the functional context is stronger. Actions may include: increased drinking, shortness of temper, and avoidance. Because of the loose temporal connection between the promotion and the delayed discomforts of responsibility, the new manager does not realise the connection.

The relational context influences what you think and the functional context determines the psychological impact of those thoughts.

Attend this workshop and learn to investigate your ongoing experience in a flexible, focused, and adaptive way that aligns with your values. Learn to use language as a tool to analyse private events rather than trying to predict or alter them. Your ability to move between ongoing perspectives increases your action options so you can maintain poise under pressure.

Learn to Remove Strain

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Venue

Factory Berlin

Rheinsberger Straße 76/77
10115 Berlin

February 6th, 2018

Tickets Still Available

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