UNDER YOUR NOSE
An invisible factor at work that determines your results
I remember a conversation with my grandfather that went like this:
Him: What is the most crucial infrastructure to develop for a country to succeed?
H: No. Try again.
H: Close, but no.
M: I give up. Tell me.
H: The Human Infrastructure. If that is not developing in a healthy direction, everything else you do will be ineffective in the long run.
Curiously, 5 years on from that conversation I find myself specializing in the human dimension in crisis response, education, social change and business.
LOOKING WHERE THE PROBLEM IS NOT
When we ask the question what is preventing me, my company or my country from succeeding or thriving, the answer is rarely “lack of information”.
Yet, when we train people we train them as though presentation skills and sales targets will be life changing.
There is no shortage of information, the gap is at the end where the human being is supposed to do something with that knowledge (and often doesn’t)- reflect, engage, apply, implement consistently etc.
We all know things that we should do but haven’t done, yell at the girl at the airline desk even though we know a cancelled flight is not really her fault, panic over something we can’t change…all of these common occurrences highlight the fallacy of a worldview where we think the next expert, technique or idea is going to solve all our problems.
Information alone does not solve problems.
The things that solve problems are related to the potential built into the human mind- creativity, perspective, motivation, foresight, resilience, connection.
The biggest challenges we face in business, society and our lives are human ones- apathy, cynicism, overwhelm, isolation, aggression.
And yet, in our quest for solutions, we have looked everywhere else but barely passed a cursory glance at the factor that drives it all- the mind of a human being.
THE SECRET SAUCE
While it seems ‘common sense’ that the mental clarity and perspective of a person affects how they show up in the world and what kind of results they produce in their lives, organizations and communities, it is a factor that most often goes un-addressed.
Most senior leaders I work with tell me they hadn’t realized there was an understanding of the human mind that is easily teachable, relevant and immediately impactful.
Once they do get insight into the workings of the mind -their own and that of every single person on the planet (turns out we all work the same!)- they often say:
Understanding the human dimension at work in creating conflict or harmony, stress or creativity, failure or breakthroughs has given them and their teams an unfair advantage in the world of work.
The human being is the ultimate wild card in the system and there is no greater leverage point than understanding and affecting that dimension directly.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Nothing meaningful can be achieved without affecting the hearts and minds of the people involved. Systems and cultures are made up of the quality of thinking and interaction between people- it’s the only place true, sustainable and breakthrough change can happen.
It’s unfamiliar territory for those of us in business and policymaking who are used to speaking of change in intellectual wordings and complex frameworks but the bottom line is:
Mental clarity is Step #1 in creating the results you want. It’s the biggest game in town.
THE ART OF WONDERING: an inquiry into where solutions to your most pressing problems actually come from
HOW TO CHANGE THE WORLD: shaking up the status quo in your organization and communities
LOSS, RESILIENCE AND THE THREE PRINCIPLES: the part where I tell you you can handle your life and you have more going for you than you realize