EU sees best practice in our innovation labDecember 30, 2016
HOW OFTEN DO you marvel, as you shut down your computer for the day, at the high performance of your team and how much you've achieved together? If the answer is 'not very', you're most certainly not alone in the world. If you leave each day with a smile and a feeling of immense satisfaction and achievement, you might be German.
With global productivity in the doldrums around much of the world, businesses are scratching their heads. How can we improve productivity? What might the rest of us learn from the Germans, the Yanks, and even the French (with their legendary long lunches)?
My starting assumption, which stems from my personal experience and reading, is that there is a relationship to mental health - or wellbeing. As a business leader (at least, I'm someone in a business who tries to lead people), it seems obvious to me that people work and produce their best when they are are well, and feel so. However, even as I start to think about it, it's clearly much more complex than that.
With my interest in organisational behaviour and development, particularly as applied to future places, I wonder how the physical and mental health of our communities might affect their economic success. At a national level, our scientists usually measure the latter as Gross Domestic Product, the total value of goods produced and services provided in a country during one year. We can see immediately that there's a focus here on productivity as goods and services provided. We may want to return to unpick this sentence.
One way of understaning mental health or wellbeing, is as emotional intelligence or quotient (abbreviated to EI or EQ). Traditional tests of our intelligence quota (IQ) measure especially logic, reasoning, language, and mathematics. If IQ measures how clever you are, then EQ determines how you will use this gift. So, in order to measure our personal potential for success, we might propose that we measure both emotional and intelligence. This is the balancing act between results and relationships. It seems to me that goods and services provided are a measure of results. In which case, emotional intelligence doesn't factor in our measurement of productivity.
High performing or productive workplaces might be referred to as High EQ environments. These are unusual places - anecdotally, perhaps stereotypical of a Danish architects' practice - where staff are trusted with a high level of autonomy. So how can we measure on monitor high EQ enviroments? By their nature, key performance indicators may seem incoherent with the idea of high levels of trust. One imagines a dashboard with a matrix of red, amber and green dots.
So, what role can data play in High EQ businesses?