The quest to understand human personalities has been going on for 3,000 years, or more. The Big Five Personality Traits are just the latest in a long line of models that take us towards that understanding.
And, it would be as absurd to think that the Big Five Personality Traits will be the last word on the matter as it would have been to stick with the four humours. But perhaps what the centuries of scientific development, and acres of statistical analysis, can assure us of is that we are honing that understanding.
How like the Big Five our 22nd Century model will be, we cannot know. But, for now, the best representation we have, of the fundamentals of human psychology, are the big Five Personality Traits. So, what are they?
Key Performance Indicators – or KPIs – stem from an insight that is most often attributed to Peter Drucker, in his 1954 book titled, ‘The Practice of Management’:
‘What gets measured gets managed’
That attribution may be contested, but the central assertion seems pretty sound. If your organisation measures performance against a specific metric, then its managers feel an incentive to manage their parts of the business, so that they perform well against that metric. KPIs are nothing more nor less than the key – or most valuable – metrics.
Organisational life revolves around performance monitoring and measuring. Often it’s a single person who will assess your performance. But what if they had access to the observations of all sorts of people who work with you in different ways? That’s the big idea that 360 Degree Feedback represents.
The idea and practice of 360 degree feedback has been through rises and falls since it first appeared in the 1950s. And it really took off in the 1990s. But it is as important today as it’s ever been. So, let’s examine 360 degree feedback from a number of angles.
The Wisdom of Teams is a true classic among Twentieth Century business books. Based on detailed interviews with 47 teams across the US, it uncovers the wisdom of what teams can achieve, and how they can perform at their best.
The authors of The Wisdom of Teams acknowledge that what they discovered is both obvious, in that we recognise the truths straight away, and subtle, in that making sense of them in the real world can be hard. They rank their findings as both common sense and uncommon sense. And all this is as it should be. Teams are people. And people working together can be messy and hard to characterise.
So, while the book has been criticised for its obviousness, and also for being too long and sharing too many long stories, this is its nature. Real team stories show not just the obvious truths, but the subtle complexities too. Perhaps the biggest idea of the Wisdom of Teams is that there is no one Big Idea, but many smaller big ideas.
A lot of the formal descriptions of Positive Organisational Scholarship (POS) use dry academic language. Put simply, it’s the study of what makes members of an organisation perform at their best levels, by focusing on what they do well.
Cognitive Behavioural Coaching is not as well known as others among our Big Ideas. In fact, it’s more of a spin-off from a Big Idea, than one in its own right. But Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) would certainly qualify. It has had and is having a huge impact on people with serious problems.
But CBT is not designed for the workplace. It’s a tool for mental health practitioners. If only there were something that could apply its principles to lower level stress and self-efficacy problems than its older sibling, CBT.
This is where Cognitive Behavioural Coaching comes in. Drawing from the ideas and tools of CBT, it is ideal for problems like:
When I was an active Project Leader, I practised Management by Walking Around, long before I knew it was a thing. Then, when I learned about it, I was fascinated to learn that, if this idea has any formal origin, it was in a company I much admired.
But can something millions of people have done over many centuries by instinct, truly be a Big Idea?
Well, maybe I could argue that such a powerfully intuitive approach cannot be anything but a Big Idea.
So let’s dissect the idea of Management by Walking Around.
There are few models that are as beloved of management trainers as Robert Dilts’ Logical Levels of Awareness.
It is popular among those who have learned it as part of formal NLP training, through reading books, or by osmosis. The logical levels model is pervasive and hard to miss if you are alert to these things.
So, in this article, I want to explain what it is, how it came about, and why it is a big idea that merits your attention as a manager.
What are you really capable of? And what holds you back from achieving it? Competing against your own mental obstacles is the ‘Inner Game’.
Although many people in the world of work have never heard of the Inner Game, nor of Timothy Gallwey, its founder, this big idea has been extremely influential.
Because Gallwey and the ideas behind the Inner Game are very much the immediate progenitors of modern performance coaching. It it is hard to over-estimate the impact that has had on management and organisational life.