Human Potential Project Online by Chris Majer

Our mission is very simple. We intend to revolutionize the practice of management!

Central to our work is the belief that the world does not exist as a permanent fixed reality. We human beings are not merely passive observers. We are intentional players, inventors, designers, and creators of our world. And to accomplish anything, we depend on everyday coordination with others. This is where HP2 makes its mark.

Silent Killer #1: Degenerative Moods

Welcome to the second post in our seven-part series on the “modern wastes” that are killing most companies’ productivity and profitability. The first of these is degenerative moods. A mood is a predisposition for action. As human beings, we are always living in one mood or another. This is an inescapable aspect of life. We are mood-driven creatures, and our moods are the foundations from which we assess and move in the world. Moods come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but they all fall into one of two categories: generative and degenerative. In other words, they do (or do not) generate possibilities, and it is in the world of possibilities that new futures are invented. However, too many organizations today are in the grip of degenerative moods—with a workplace culture marked by some combination of distrust, resentment, resignation, cynicism, arrogance, and complacency. These degenerative moods can lead to a wide range of unproductive behaviors, which in turn consume or waste vast quantities of resources while leaders are forced to work around or attempt to correct them. Degenerative or unproductive moods are tremendous, yet invisible, killers of productivity and profitability. People simply cannot or will not perform to their potential when their work environments are negative, unhappy places to be. Yet contemporary management theory rarely recognizes the importance of moods and the impact they can have on productivity and profitability. While much has been written about morale, which is closely linked with mood, the current common sense has little to offer beyond motivation and engagement work, both of which have proven to be largely ineffective. Today, a whopping 71 percent of American workers are “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” in their work, according to Gallup. This means they are unhappy with their organizations, emotionally disconnected from their workplaces, and less likely to be productive. In fact, Gallup reports that employee disengagement costs American companies about $350 billion annually. Mood is everything. It isn’t the only thing, but it is everything, because if you don’t get this right, nothing else you do is going to matter. There is no structural or process change that can overcome deeply entrenched degenerative moods. Shift Your Understanding In this newly-emerging business world, one key component for generating competitive advantage is being able to consistently design and deploy the generative moods of ambition, confidence, trust, and esprit. The success of future managers will depend on their skill at “mood management”—which means recognizing that the conversations taking place in the organization are not trivial utterances but are, in fact, the lifeblood of the enterprise. As such, it becomes imperative to develop competence at knowing how to listen for, design, and intervene in the critical conversations of the business as they literally shape the future. Most current management practices tend to devalue anything that can’t be measured. Traditional leadership wisdom treats mood as the dreaded “touchy feely” soft stuff. However, to be successful in today’s business world, one must know how to coordinate and collaborate with a diverse group of people—inside and outside our organizations. Thus, many of the skills that were once derided as being “soft” are now key drivers for success. And a lack of competence around designing and managing moods will seriously limit one’s career prospects—now and in the years to come.