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“Progress is impossible without change
and those who cannot change their minds,
cannot change anything.” ~ George Bernard Shaw

What are your people really thinking?

Wouldn’t you like to know?

ios_performance_chartDeep within the human psyche, below the level of personality and behavior… even below the level of goals, choices, values, and beliefs, there is something I call the “inner operating system.” This “inner operating system” is what actually drives everything else about human behavior and “personality.”

It works a lot like a computer operating system: it takes in some bit of information (i.e., from your senses) and then gives it some kind of meaning. It also makes a value judgment about the information. For example, it judges whether it is good or bad, relevant or irrelevant, urgent, or important and then send it on to other parts of your brain to either react to it, make some kind of choice about it, ignore it, or store it.

The interesting thing is that every person’s inner OS makes these judgments based on slightly different criteria. As a result, one person can come to very different conclusion and then act or react quite differently than another person. For example, one person might perceive a mistake as a major problem, while another sees it as no big deal. So the inner OS determines HOW a person thinks and, as a result, what a person thinks and does.

The culture of an organization is an amalgam of the inner OS of all its members and the unique dynamics created by the similarities and differences. In a healthy culture, there are enough good similarities to allow everyone to get along, but also enough diversity to foster synergy, creativity, innovation, and growth.

Of course, leaders can have a significant impact on culture. More precisely, how a leader uses their inner OS can have both a positive and negative impact on how the people within the organization think and respond. In a not-so-healthy culture, the way people are thinking is creating dissonance, disconnection, distortion, discomfort, disvaluation, and disengagement.

A good culture is not just a happy culture. It’s also one where the predominate mindset is one of excellence, value-creation, quality work, quality interactions, contribution, a clear vision, AND being happy. All of these attributes (or the absence of them) can be tracked back to how the people think, especially in relation to how the leader thinks.

What if you could objectively assess and measure a person’s inner OS (how they think) and identify the unique way in which they “see” things? What if you could assess the interplay between a leader’s inner OS and the team’s.

Personality and behavioral assessments don’t get to this level of depth. They only identify, with varying accuracy, the ultimate “output” of a complex inner OS, not how the person actually thinks or why they do what they do.

For a number of years, we’ve been working with a cutting-edge new science called neuro-axiology. It is the fusion of brain science and value science. Based in part on the little-known, but ingenious work of Robert S. Hartman, Ph.D. in the 1960’s (who’s work, interestingly, is one of the reason we have the modern 401K profit sharing plan), this new technology is also informed by modern neuroscience. In particular, cognitive-emotional neuroscience and neuroplasticity.

Using a scientifically validated assessment instrument (the Hartman Value Profile) and a proprietary analysis methodology (“VQ Profiling”) we are able to objectively measure how a person thinks from 36 unique perspectives in about 15-20 minutes. We don’t assess “WHAT” they think, but rather, HOW they think (which is even more important). Then, by combining and analyzing the individual results of a group of people, we can get very powerful and actionable insights into the never-before-accessible “inner workings” of an organization’s culture and its leadership.

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If you are a leader of a group of 15 or more people (including indirect reports) …
…or if you are involved in HR/OD/LD/TM for your organization…
.. or if you are an external consultant providing OD/LD services…

and are interested in having us analyze the culture of your team through the lens of neuro-axiology, give us a call at 484-840-1095 or 517-626-6628 your learn more.

For the Love OF Life

The human mind, YOUR mind, has tremendous untapped potential. At Axiogenics, our goal is to help people and organizations unlock that potential. Ultimately, to enable people to live a life they love and to love the life they live!

The basis of our work is the complex science of neuro-axiology (brain science + value science) made simple and actionable. As you may know, one of our core concepts is that we invite people to consciously and conscientiously make “The Central Question of life, love and, leadership” a central part of everything they do:

What choice can I make and action can I take,
in this moment, to create the greatest net value?

This question has been enormously powerful for a lot of people. Now I’d like to offer another little snippet of insight that may make it even more useful and powerful for you.

Go for the Good

Have you seen the “People Live for Good” TV commercial from Allstate Insurance? I still get choked up when I see it and hear the little girl saying “Deep down we know, all the bad things that can happen in life, they can’t stop us from making our lives.. good.”

Click the image to watch it →

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It is, of course, a TV commercial, but it’s message is SO much more. “People Live for Good.” That’s not just a catchy marketing line, it’s a universal and even scientific truth. Good is what we live for. Good is what we want. Our desire for good is what drives our every thought and action.

Does that mean we always do good? Does that mean we never do anything bad or badly? Of course not. We all make mistakes. We’ve all done or said things that are “bad”, or at least “not good”, by most social standards.

How curious that in the English language, the word L-I-V-E (as in “People Live  for Good”) spelled backwards is E-V-I-L. Is this a conspiracy? Is there some esoteric message hidden within this strange twist of etymological history, encoded by an ancient secret council worthy of a Dan Brown novel?

A Fundamental Law of Life: C+R=O

dad_mandela_infinityI went to visit my 92 year-old Dad, this past weekend. On CNN they were interviewing someone who knew Nelson Mandela and the interviewee said, “Nelson Mandela believed in infinity.” My father asked me if I believed in infinity. I said, “yes.” He then asked me what I thought infinity was.

I thought about it a moment and said, “I think of infinity as the ever-present potential for creating greater goodness, both in ourselves and in the world. No matter how good or bad we think things are, they can always be better. All we need to do is figure out how.” “Hmm,” he replied. “It’s the ‘how’ part that’s hard, isn’t it?”

This led to a discussion about something we call “A Fundamental Law of Life.”

Don’t fake it! SHIFT-It!…

big_smile_150..-And-You’ll-Make-It!

I was recently having a conversation with an associate about some articles touting the power of the “fake it-till-you-make-it” approach to changing how we think. The articles cited scientific studies that suggested that you can, in fact, change how you think just by “acting as if.”

For example:

  • If you want to be happier: just force yourself to smile and you will be happier.
  • To increase your self-confidence: stand up, shoulders back, chin-up.

But, does it really work?

Gaps: The Source of All Good and Evil?

“My wife is such an idiot. How in the world she can think that I would be OK with her ex-husband moving into our in-law suite is beyond me. What, kind of idiot does she think I am? Clearly there a big gap between she and I about this.” Unsurprisingly, that was my client’s first reaction when his wife of 5 years told him she was thinking about it. In fact, most people would see such an idea as a significant threat. However, from another perspective, the idea was filled with all kinds of opportunities. The ex-husband was a good guy, a devoted father, and there were many ways he could help out around the house. Particularly, with his 15-year-old son (my client’s step son) who was active with sports and other extracurricular activities. The divorce was quite amicable and there was no bad blood between any of the people involved. As it turned out, having him move in proved to be a fabulous decision made possible by the willingness and ability of my client to shift his perspective from one of threat to one of opportunity.

From time to time, we all deal with conflicting opinions, ideas, desires, beliefs, and agendas. Sometimes we wrestle with insufficient knowledge, information, skills, or resources. Other times, we’re absolutely convinced we’re right about something only later to discover we were wrong.

All of the above are examples of “gaps.” Gaps are the cause of virtually all stress, confusion, conflict, failure, and under performance. They are also the driver of all competition, innovation, creativity, productivity, and growth.

If you want to maximize your success and the quality of your life,
maximize your ability to reconcile gaps.