Creating High Performance Through People
by Dr Malcolm Johnson FAIM
People want to flourish and be at their best but the reality is that barely 20% are succeeding in this objective. Approximately 60% are stuck in 'ordinary' mode. The remaining 20% of people are languishing, describing their lives as "hollow" or "empty".1
Listed below are a range of sentiments against which people and teams might assess the volume and tone of interactions in their everyday work environment.
The tipping point is a ratio of three positive sentiments/comments to one negative. Why the negative? Appropriate negativity is a critical ingredient within human flourishing that serves to help keep people grounded; in other words, a realistic balance to offset unbridled hubris.
Positivity ratios at or above 3:1 are associated with flourishing. The preferred ratio is 5:1 meaning that for every burst of irritability, tense exchange, or negative thought there need to be five times as many positives.
High performing teams exhibit ratios of 6:1
Poorly performing teams exhibit ratios less than 3:1
Just as negativity within the dynamics of human flourishing must be appropriate, positivity must be both appropriate and genuine.
How would your team assess prevalence of the following?
There is a catastrophic flip when the ratio of positive to negative falls below the critical threshold of 3:1. It becomes much more difficult to reverse as the subconscious begins to search out proof that the negative judgement is correct.
A change in negative tone also follows where negative feelings are more easily aroused and out of proportion to the incident.
Research2 has concluded that creating an environment where people flourish requires the optimal functioning of four key components:
At your next meeting a rule of thumb is to consider how open your team is to positive influence and open-ended questions posed to explore issues. If people are frequently defending their positions and are inflexible to change, it is likely that the ratio has fallen below 3:1.