High AR

Mastering Turbulence through High AR

Being Purposeful

Hold Positive Identities & Seek Wellness

Being Purposeful — The Foundation Capability for High AR

Supported by Physical, Psychological & Social Wellness

Being and acting purposefully is the foundation capability for mastering turbulence. This is true whether for a single individual, team, entire organization, and, yes, the organization’s still larger ecosystems of interdependent organizations and groups. High AR is maximized when there are clear values and beliefs aligned across levels which forge a positive shared identity and sense of common purpose.

Purpose, however, is eroded and misaligned in turbulent environments, and that is why wellness must also be sought and aggressively sustained. Physical, psychological, and social wellness is essential at all levels. Physical wellness, including attention to nutrition, is essential for sustained peak mental and physical performance during stress. Psychological (cognitive and emotional) wellness similarly supports optimal brain performance which impacts sensemaking, information processing, and creativity. Social wellness refers to positive, supportive relationships in a family or with others, at work, and in the community; relationships and connectedness with others also promote psychological and physical wellness. Refer to Resources for links to valuable websites that promote all forms of wellness.

Figure 4.1 - Joeseph McCann & John W. Selsky, Mastering Turbulence

Being Purposeful as an Individual

Positive self-concept with a physically and psychologically healthy presence capable of sustaining them in highly ambiguous, stressful work situations.

At an individual level, Being Purposeful means that you maintain a positive self-concept and a physically and psychologically healthy presence. These are capable of sustaining you in highly ambiguous, stressful and demanding work situations. With High AR purpose and wellness, you also develop and maintain positive relationships with others at work, in your family or personal relationships, your community, and even larger world by staying in touch with what is happening to others elsewhere. These relationships become extremely important when conditions become most demanding.

Recommendations for Being Purposeful as an Individual

  • Create a personal vision statement that declares positive values and beliefs about who you are and want to become. That may require help so seek it. Post it at home and work.
  • Be responsible for acting in ways that promote that vision. Act when situations and decisions severely undermine it.
  • Seek physical, psychological and social wellness for yourself. Learn how wellness sustains your high performance. That knowledge is motivating once that connection becomes clear.
  • Demand wellness at work or find work that has it.

Being Purposeful as a Team

Shared values and beliefs support collaborative performance with no one compromised in psychological and physical fitness to limit team performance.

At a team level, individual team members have shared values and beliefs that support their collaborative work performance. Their values and beliefs are aligned and resonant such that they draw strength and vitality from each other. No single individual drags down the team’s ability to achieve its work goals because of a lack of wellness.

Team goal congruence is critical and members must work on their own purposefulness. High AR teams are self-reflective and skilled in assessing team dynamics and performance challenges. They also work to identify knowledge and skill strengths and gaps. They are provided opportunities and resources for developing essential knowledge and skills and building wellness in all its forms.

Recommendations for Being Purposeful in Teams

  • Recognize that teams are the basic way work is done in organizations. No individual can be effective acting alone for long – “It’s about the team!”
  • Create a team vision statement that declares what purpose the team serves and the values and beliefs that support that purpose. Explore how aligned individual vision statements are with that of the team.
  • Seek opportunities for developing knowledge and skills for assessing and correcting team performance issues, including team dynamics and member contributions.
  • Test, or at least be very conscious of, team physical, psychological and social wellness under a variety of challenging conditions – safely, of course, but learn and improve from those lessons.

Being Purposeful as an Organization

Vivid, frequently communicated and manifested shared values/beliefs within a compelling vision and sustainable concept of the organization within society.

At the organization level, the leadership team vividly and frequently communicates and manifests the organization’s set of shared values/beliefs within a compelling vision and sustainable concept of the organization within society. The organization expresses sincere commitment and support for wellness initiatives as one aspect of its pursuit for continuous improvement.

Being Purposeful at the organization level means being extremely sensitive to how values and beliefs are communicated and manifested not only every day, but particularly in critical situations and decision points. Facing eminent collapse, that identity and sense of purpose has to be so strong that individuals and teams in it, and members of the organization’s connected ecosystems, have to truly believe that there is something valuable and important worth preserving, regardless of effort and cost.

Turbulence clouds vision and identity when prolonged, dramatic change has occurred and the organization opens itself to its larger environment through new relationships and scale of operations. High AR organizations constantly work at stating, testing, and refining vision and identity, and the senior leadership teams and key individuals embrace and express that vision and identity through their words and actions. They promote wellness at all levels, knowing that it is not only good business sense but promotes High AR.

Recommendations for Being Purposeful as an Organization

  • Recognize that organization vision is not just words, but the compass that points direction for behavior and action. It needs to be clear, constantly communicated and appealed to in times of dramatic change, even possible failure.
  • Vision and purpose mean nothing if the organization’s top leaders do not act aligned with it. Behaviors and choices communicate meaning.
  • Wellness in all forms also makes good business sense. Build the business case to justify continued investments, but recognize the hidden costs associated with key decision makers and leaders making poor personal and team wellness choices. They can be tremendous.

Being Purposeful as an Ecosystem

Shared beliefs that their collaborative efforts yield valued economic and social contributions, supporting a sense of legitimacy, purpose and meaning.

For the ecosystem, purposefulness exists when a group of organizations shares the belief that their collective efforts yield valuable contributions to each other, the economy and society. As a result, there is a strong, shared sense of legitimacy among its members and stakeholders that affirms their collective sense of purpose and meaning. They create what Porter and Kramer (2011) call “shared value” for themselves and for society.

The ethical and moral breaches manifested in so many industries today — whether financial services, Internet or information services, energy production, or healthcare – cast shadows on single organizations and the individuals who work in those organizations. When times of great sacrifice are demanded, it undermines the capacity for swift and sufficiently resourced action. Think about “too big to fail,” resulting “bailouts” and regulatory response.

With companies and industries so transient these days, also consider the consequences of not investing in all forms of wellness. Workforce demographics and health profiles make a difference in location decisions. Organizations need to support community-level wellness initiatives to assure a productive workforce and growing economy.

Recommendations for Being Purposeful in Ecosystems

  • Recognize interdependencies with other organizations and groups and how their clarity of purpose and wellness impact you personally and as an organization. Positive, healthy communities and value chains mean that all within them can prosper, as well.
  • If an industry group, never accept ethical and moral breaches that damage the credibility and viability of all members within it. Speak out loudly and act based upon your own highest standards, consistent with you own identity and purpose.
  • Promote industry-level high standards that reward sustainable growth and positive performance.
  • If a community, promote wellness across all its elements since this creates competitive advantage when attracting organizations and workers.