Why our emotions need space in a corporate world

Tabitha Cooper, Lead Business Developer.
18-10-19 14:18 | Digital banking | The Digital Hub

"One of the hardest things to do in life it seems, is change!  Therefore, most of us don’t do it...often not until we find ourselves in a personally impacting situation not in our control.

In my experience this is true whether you’re a Millennial, Zillenial or Changennial (the last two not actual ‘things’ by the way!), but there are neuroscience-based studies explaining why. I make this point simply to make clear that if you are a human being – whatever your age - you might not be as flexible to changing as you like to believe. Changing for people and organisations in general, is usually hard!

But why is that?

My conclusion is simply that many (or most) of us trust what we already think, believe or like to believe. It’s more comfortable isn’t it? Feeling like you already know? It makes you feel like you are in control and therefore on safe territory.

Operating in good balance

Neuroscience, which is the study of the brain and human behaviour, says that we are made up of thoughts, emotions, and our behaviour, meaning that a sanely operating human has these aspects operating in good balance. In addition, neuroscience has also proved that emotions are the body’s natural prediction mechanism. Often feelings or emotions help you assess a situation much faster than the brain can process, but in a situation of navigating the unknown and survival, they become critical tools.

Emotions can of course be wrong, as is the case with thoughts, but thoughts are certainly not “more right” than emotion, and often tied up messily between them both.

So, if – as I have found – the underlying message of most corporate cultures and society as a whole, is that emotions are somehow “not okay”. Then as conditioned and widespread as it may still be, we are in fact collectively distorting our behaviour and therefore the creative potential of every outcome. It begs the questions of what kind of decisions are we then making from that perspective? 

As Otto Scharmer (Professor at MIT) often says, in the context of his Theory U, where we must shift from “Ego system” to “Eco system” mindset and economies, because as a global society we are part of a system “Collectively creating results nobody wants”.

Result of decisions

But, there’s no escaping it, we are all ‘the system’. Life and its outcomes are in large part the results of our daily decisions, it is all about where we place our interest. Are we sitting on the  fence? Or are we interested, and as our CEO, Casper Von Koskull puts it, “leaning in and engaging”?

What would it be like to simply be interested in what we don’t already know? Free from how we like to do things or live, or how we want to see and feel about ourselves. 

Because the results or outcome of each internal position we individually or collectively take, makes all the difference to the overall outcome.

We need to strategically create the emotional space  to continue to change and innovate. If we are going to transform ourselves and the world for the better, we need to embrace emotions as part of our business toolkits and lean into possibility.

That’s what my gut tells me anyway! "

/Tabitha Cooper, Lead Business Developer.

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