My new TEDx talk: “Dare to Foster Compassion in Organizations”

I´m super happy. After my official TEDx premiere at TEDx Bergen/Norway in 2014 (How to be the architect of your own fortune), as of today, my second TEDx talk is available on YouTube. It was filmed at the very first edition of TEDx EBS late in 2016. EBS University (or European Business School Oestrich-Winkel) is one of the premier business schools in Germany and, coincidentally, the place where I obtained my Ph.D.

The talk is named “Dare to Foster Compassion in Organizations”. It draws on research by luminaries such as Jane Dutton, Monica Worline, Adam Galinsky, Laura Little, Jennifer Berdahl, and the late Peter Frost (and even though they are neither mentioned nor referenced on a slide explicitly, Esa Saarinen, Adam Grant, and Robert Quinn).

I hope you will enjoy the talk! And if you do, please consider sharing the news. Thank You!

If you are interested in a (sort of…) transcript of the talk: this was published here a while ago.

Compassion and Business: How does that go together?

The word compassion sounds “soft”. It invokes images of praying Buddhist monks, nurses taking care of the feeble, or a priest administering the last rites to a dying person. What surely doesn´t come to mind is the picture of a corporate boardroom, right? But why?

When we walk into to the office in the morning and someone asks us “How are you?” we´re supposed to say something along the lines of: “Fine! How about you?” It´s part of the language game in the corporate world. We know this. At the same time, we all know that quite often, people are presenting a white lie at this point. We know this very well precisely because we do the same every once in a while. We say “I´m fine” even when things clearly aren´t fine at all.

Life can be a bitch. Our loved ones become sick or pass away. We fight with our spouses, our children, our parents, our neighbors. There are bills to pay and sometimes the end of the month is still too far away. Hell, the Warriors lose to the Cavs after a 3:1 lead in the NBA finals. It´s tough.

This emotional load – we bring it into the office, no matter if we admit it or if we decide to cover up. Most people indeed choose to cover up – as somehow, someone decided a hundred years ago that businesses ought to be rational places, spaces where emotions don´t belong or even disrupt normal functioning (whatever that is…).

The problem is: It´s just not possible. People cannot shut down their emotions at discretion. At least not for longer periods of time – and certainly not without paying a price.

There is always pain in the room.

This sentence was coined by the late management professor Peter Frost, one of the pioneers studying and advocating compassion in business settings. It´s a quite powerful proposition, even though (Or maybe: because?) it states something very obvious. Shit happens to the best of us. We suffer – and sometimes, it takes us a long time to cope. We feel pain and sorrow and those feelings don’t bother to ask us if we are currently at work or at home.

So, how should managers and co-workers react? The common rules of business tell us to ignore or downplay the issue but in most cases, that´s not what really helps.

Not showing our suffering or downplaying the suffering of our colleagues is a perfect example of what Finnish philosopher Esa Saarinen calls a system of holding back in return and advance. We don’t openly display our suffering because we expect from prior interactions that it will not be acted upon appropriately. Meanwhile, the others see no need to act compassionately as everything seems to be OK. Ad infinitum. And the longer this “non-reciprocity circle” is in place, the harder it becomes for an individual to make a first move in order to interrupt the chain of neglect.

Another way would be to act compassionately: To notice the negative feelings of our co-workers, to feel empathetic concern, and to act accordingly. Compassion does not equal to fully experiencing the same feelings as the person we´re compassionate to.

Put in a straight-forward way…

…being compassionate means to be willing to imagine how it would feel like to walk some miles in another person´s shoes – and then, upon recognizing this would probably be hurtful, trying to appropriately mitigate that pain or suffering.

That´s it. It´s not a mystic thing – and we don´t have to mediate in a cave for 20 years before we´re able to pull off that stunt.

We know how to be compassionate even before we can ride a bike. Small children act compassionately by nature. When they see another child crying, they instinctively show signs of distress – and then they try to help with their restricted means, e.g., by caressing their counterpart or sharing a toy.

But somehow, this get´s lost as we get our high school diplomas, university degrees – and then move on to become business people. Which is a pity, because businesses create a lot of pain themselves – it´s not all from our private lives. People suffer because they don’t get that promotion, because their buddies get laid off, or just because co-workers, or even worse, bosses behave in outright toxic ways. Again, we all know this to some degree.

Here´s the point: Science shows over and over again that by carelessly ignoring these emotional dynamics, businesses are hurting the bottom line. If you want to know how, I´d like to point you towards this superb review article written by science rock star Jane Dutton of University of Michigan´s Center for Positive Organizations and some colleagues (that´s also where I “stole” the graphic from):

Dutton, J. E., Workman, K. M., & Hardin, A. E. (2014). Compassion at Work. Annual Reviews of Organizational Psychology and Organizational Behavior, 1(1), 277-304.

annurev-orgpsych-031413-091221_f1

5 short Videos on Positive Psychology

Dr. Nico Rose - Other People MatterIn April 2015, I gave a keynote on Positive Psychology for several hundred people at the BMW-Arena in Munich.

The talk was recorded and I received a DVD a couple of weeks later. Finally, I’ve found the time to cut and edit some of the parts – these are the videos displayed below.

They’re in German of course and due to the sound equipment, I seem to have a slight lisp (which is not the case) – but nevermind.

The first video is a general introduction to Seligman’s PERMA framework, the second talks about positive emotions and especially, emotional contagion. The third video talks about the importance of social support (Other People Matter), the fourth about Esa Saarinen’s concept of systems of holding back, and the final one is about Daniel Kahneman and peak-end-theory.

Share and enjoy!

77 Positive Psychology People and Institutions to follow on Twitter

Positive Twitter Update 2: If you´d like to follow all of the accounts mentioned below, you can do so by following this Twitter list I´ve created this morning.

Update 1: Thanks a lot for all the positive feedback to this post. Within just 12 hours, it has become one of the most-read on Mappalicious. Via your suggestions, the list is now at 90 Twitter accounts. Therefore, I´ve decided to copy/paste this post to the (permanent) Positive Psychology Resources section. Further suggestions to the list will be added there, not here.

Over the last four years, Twitter tweets could not be found via Google. Now, both companies announced a new partnership which makes sure tweets will be part of the search results again. This means Twitter will become (even) more important in the future. So I guess that’s a good reason to see what Twitter has to offer with regard to Positive Psychology. Below, you’ll find 77 Twitter accounts of researchers, consultants, coaches, writers, bloggers, instititions, associations, news outlets, and software tools. As always, this is meant to be work in progress. So if you feel you know somebody (or an institution etc.) that belongs on this list, please leave a comment below this article. If you want to make a suggestion, please stick to people that either are in research, or otherwise display an in-depth knowledge of Positive Psychology (visible through e.g., a corresponding university degree).

Researchers/Authors

Consultants/Coaches/Speakers/Writers/Bloggers etc.

Research Groups/Institutions/Association/Movements

Apps/Tech/Media

Footage from Aalto Systems Forum 2014 feat. Peter Senge and Esa Saarinen

On November 20, 2014, the University of Aalto, Finland hosted a conference by the name of “Being Better in the World of Systems” in order to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Systems Analysis Laboratory. The keynote speaker was internationally acclaimed management “guru” Peter Senge (author of The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization). His one-hour-long lecture is now available online:

Additionally, you can watch a lecturer by Esa Saarinen by the name of “Systems Intelligence as Life Philosophy”.

All the other lectures of that day are available on Youtube as well. Additionally, I advise downloading and reading the book Being better better – with Systems Intelligence.

 

Top 10 Articles for 2014 on Mappalicious – Positive Psychology

Top 10I´ve written 157 posts on Mappalicious in 2014. My learning: Content curation (when it´s well done…) really draws large audiences. Posts No. 1, 2, 4, 6, and, to a lesser degree, 10 are lists of Positive Psychology articles, books, and videos.

Then, video content obviously works: No. 7 & 9 are beautiful video clips on Positive Psychology topics.

Additionally, there´s a lot of “Finn-Power” in this list. No. 5 is my first Mappsterview featuring the “Queen of Sisu”, Emilia Lahti, who´s recently given her first TEDx talk (must-watch). No. 8 is a fun article based on the marvelous work of Finnish super-hero philosopher Esa Saarinen.

Last not least, I´m happy to see that a very personal, slightly off-topic, post has made No. 3.

  1. Positive Psychology Articles
  2. Positive Psychology Constructs
  3. SCHLAAAAAND! How the Soccer World-Cup helps to Build a Likeable Version of the “German Nation”
  4. Positive Psychology at Work: A Book List for the Layman
  5. Mappsterview No. 1: Emilia Lahti, the Queen of Sisu
  6. My Top 20 TED(x) Talks on Happiness, Well-Being, Meaning & Co.
  7. Positive Psychology in a Nutshell: Watch this beautiful 5-minute Instructional Video
  8. The James Bond Philosophy of Life – in 007 Chapters
  9. A little Kindness goes a long Way: heart-warming Short Film about the Power of being a Giver
  10. My Mind´s MAP(P): The 4-minute Ivy League Diploma in Positive Psychology

 

Thanks a lot to all friends, frequent as well as less frequent visitors, and all those who “stumbled upon” Mappalicious by chance. See you in 2015!

 

Source for Top 10 graphic

Being better better – with Systems Intelligence

IMG_4016-0I’m a big fan of the idea of Systems Intelligence, a concept by Finnish philosopher Esa Saarinen and his collaborators that I’ve explored Systems Intelligence here on Mappalicious.

Recently, together with some colleagues from Aalto University, he has published a new book by the name of “Being better better” that explores Systems Intelligence in a way that addresses the layman. You can download a free PDF of the book here. I highly suggest reading it. Enjoy!