The Resilience of Good

In these tough times, we see so much struggle around us. Our loved ones are struggling, our friends, our colleagues, many are struggling with what the pandemic is bringing about outside as well as within us. And we are struggling with them.

We get to hear of the shocking, the unforeseen, the unexpected, and the magnitude of the calamity reveals itself in new dimensions every day. The sheer deluge of information is often disturbing and unsettling, raising new and deeper questions as we read about happenings around us.

In this deluge we also hear of people’s response to the struggles they are facing.  So many of those responses build hope in the future of mankind, but we read about many more people who are callous, mismanaged, self-serving, or shortsighted at best, in their behavior.  It is very easy for us to lose sight of the goodness of our fellow humans in this deluge of negativity.  It doesn’t mean however, that the good isn’t there.

Good has always been less seen, less heard of, less spoken of, in the clamor for attention by the common Bad.  It has long been known, and we need to understand too, that Good loses to Bad because it isn’t loud enough, or juicy enough, or because Good doesn’t push itself ahead like Bad does.  This is the truth of this age of Kal-Yug.  It is also the reason why we need to pray for Good to emerge, for Good to be stronger, to be more prevalent, and to win over the world. 

We need to be discerning in the attention we pay, and in the winds of change we blow with every action of ours.  We have the power to cause Good, and to encourage goodness all around us.  Our power lies in our resilience, and how well we recognize, protect, and encourage Good!

May Good be with you 🙏

Beyond the SWOT – the ESHF Framework

Enjoy, Suffer, Hope, Fear (ESHF)

Human beings are peculiar phenomena.  More than ability and logic, our decisions and actions are defined by our emotions and feelings.  Dan Areily has written about how our irrationality sets us apart.  Jonathan Haidt, and other psychologists preceded Dan in researching how this leads to creativity and to our happiness.

The ESHF Framework can help us become aware of the motivation and velocity we are moving with.  Projecting into the future Horizons (near/far/distant) we can take charge of our journey towards the goals that are important for us.  We always achieve what we want!

ESHF for:  _______________________________________________

E-njoy

Horizon

S-uffer

Horizon
NO
S

A

R

NOSAR do I enjoy working towards, thinking about, helping others for>

1/2/3 NO
S

A

R

NOSAR do I suffer (tolerate) working towards, thinking about, helping others for>

1/2/3

H-ope

Need

F-ear

Need
NO
S

A

R

NOSAR do I hope to have achieved, thought through>

NO
S

A

R

NOSAR do I fear will come in my way, or bring me pain>

* N: Needs; O: Objectives; S: Specifications; A: Activities; R: Results (Requirements)

— O —

The Encouragement Inventory

Encouragement is the support and confidence that is needed when we are working at something new or difficult.  Even when it is not new or difficult, doing the same thing again and again becomes difficult or tiresome for us, and it is the new encouragement we get which keeps us going.

For any organization to evolve, people need to be encouraged to do what is correct for the desired change.  In trying to make scalable models, we ensure the encouragement is systemic, usually in the form of rewards of increments and promotions.  Fairness is attempted to be ensured through goal setting that is equitable, and measurements of results which are published.

Appreciating that monetary, tangible returns are not the primary drivers for sustained change, we know that people need encouragement which is more understandable by being closely connected to things they do and achieve.  Our basic instincts tell us that we should do more of what we are encouraged for.

Encouragement comes from all quarters – superiors, colleagues, subordinates, and customers.  Of these, we give the most importance to the encouragement we get from our superiors, our role models, our leaders.  It is therefore important for the leaders to know what is correct (needed for moving in the right direction), believe that it is right, and encourage that which leads the organization in the right direction.  This is one of their most important responsibilities, though little understood or practiced.  Encouragement is most simply provided by making it possible for people to do what they are good at, or can become better at, and acknowledging gratefully what they accomplish.

The book, Execution (p.24) says – “Lots of business leaders like to think that the top dog is exempt from the details of actually running things.  It’s a pleasant way to view leadership: you stand on the mountaintop, thinking strategically and attempting to inspire your people with visions, while managers do the runt work.  This idea creates a lot of aspirations for leadership, naturally.  Who wouldn’t want to have all the fun and glory while keeping their hands clean?…”

So it is that the leaders now, who once were engaged with operations with their own behavior directly impacting day to day work, disengage and “rise above” the “drudgery” of “work” and no longer encourage all the behaviors that are correct and necessary.  It is important to realize that lack of encouragement is very close to discouragement in the minds of people.  It is also important to remember that the strongest encouragement is to lead by example, by demonstrating the doing of what is correct, which leads to happiness.

Some tenets of Encouragement:

  • Know what is correct, what is incorrect, what does not matter – Critical Thinking
  • Ensure your beliefs – of what is right, what is wrong, and what does not matter to you – are mapped to what is correct and incorrect
  • Encourage what is correct as right, at the same time DO NOT Discourage what is not wrong.  This is imperative if we want our people to grow to the fullest of their potential

An Encouragement Inventory, taken by each ‘leader’ for themselves, can reveal the gaps and ensure they are plugged.

Taking an Encouragement Inventory

Each person does this for themselves.  They should work on a sheet of paper with a format similar to the following.  Both tables should be filled, one after the other, and then looked at together:

# My behaviors, which I consciously use to encourage others What does it encourage? What does it not encourage, or discourage?
# My behaviors, which I unconsciously use to encourage others What does it encourage? What does it not encourage, or discourage?

The filling of these formats should be first focused on the first and second columns, and once all/most behaviors have been captured, we should consider filling the third column.

Review your entries/responses for:

  • Am I encouraging things that are correct?
  • Am I discouraging things that are incorrect?
  • Am I encouraging only the things that are correct?
  • Am I discouraging only the things that are incorrect?
  • Am I encouraging all things that are correct?
  • Am I discouraging all things that are incorrect?

As you review, you should capture the gaps in your encouragement behaviors, and build your personal strategies to fill those gaps.

And you will have done a good job 🙂