Self-care and Enclosure

Self-care isn’t impossible in culturally unsustainable environments of enclosure (difficult, even toxic working environments), but it does tend to be rendered unlikely, unless you make ready, strengthen your sense of presence and resolve, and clarify what’s important to you before entering the arena.  When all around you is swirling, it’s important that you don’t start swirling too. You can go into it convinced that all will be well, that the integrity of your ego and confidence will remain intact. Some people go the other way, actively wanting their personalities to be displaced, dissolved, and reformed, but the consequences of that can be disastrous. People work in difficult environments for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it’s because they love the buzz, the conflict, and the drive. That stress can get addictive. Sometimes it’s because they feel like they have no option but to, on account of financial necessity. Sometimes it’s out of a sense of family loyalty. Whatever the reason, the most difficult work environments often shroud their cultural unsustainability through high employee turnover. Staying in a difficult environment for a number of years will grind anyone down, even if you rise to the so-called top of the pile. Sometimes it’s as simple as your adrenal system

The 2015 Behavioural Finance Forum

I won’t be able to get over to it myself, but tomorrow morning (8am – 10am) there is a very interesting Culture Change event happening in London, the 2015 Behavioural Finance Forum: “Since the financial crash of 2007 and 2008 there has been huge pressure for reform and change in the culture of the financial services industry – and how it recruits, rewards and motivates its people, how it treats its customers, and how it communicates with its shareholders. The Forum will bring together thought leaders from the leading financial and professional services companies, universities, business schools and the media, to discuss and debate: A war for talent: why recruitment models need to change Culture change in action: the balance of ethics, risk and profit Serving, not selling: culture change and customer relationships Big Data tsunami: HR, technology, change” For more information and some interesting Culture Change resources, visit:  http://www.behaviouralfinanceforum.com

“How Wall Street Corrodes Your Soul” – The Cultural Priming of Enclosure

Cultural climate matters. There are lots of buzzwords in the consultancy wordpool at the moment – among them, employee engagement, employee cynicism, intrinsic motivation – but what it comes down to is that how a workplace feels, generally, makes a difference to how a person will feel, specifically, while working there. That sounds like a rather banal truism, but it’s a rather banal truism that makes a huge difference in practice. As indicated in a previous post, I was in Toronto last week giving a keynote on cultural climate and culture change. On the morning of my talk I was delighted to see that Michael Lewis, the author of Moneyball, had an article in the National Post entitled “How Wall Street Corrodes Your Soul”.  I find that the article resonates nicely with some of my work on the process of what I call ‘enclosure’ (simplistically, how good situations go bad and how bad situations get worse) and the emergence of ‘environments of enclosure’ (culturally unsustainable environments). The core of the article is the statement, “People are vulnerable to the incentives of their environment, and often the best a person can do, if he wants to behave in a certain manner, is to choose carefully

Frog Soup

The most significant unhelpful changes in any environment aren’t usually heralded by drumrolls or the sound of trumpet fanfares. Although it would be terribly helpful if they were. Frog soup. It is widely reported that if you take a frog and drop it into a pot of boiling water it will immediately jump out of it before it has achance to say “rebbit!” However, if you were to put a frog in a pot of cold water and slowly raise the temperature of the water in increments, the wee frog will swim about quite comfortably in the water, not noticing the subtle changes as the temperature rises, until such time as he’s not noticing anything at all, having been boiled alive. I’m guessing this story may not have been tested under laboratory conditions, or even have been certified by the Humane Society, but the meaning of it is hard to ignore – if changes and escalations are small, slow, and subtle, it is very easy to miss the woo d for the trees and not be aware of the bigger picture, that conditions can become harmful to us without us even noticing. If we’re going to be frogs we need