Those of you who we work for, know that we use a lot the three levers of engagement (named after Aristotle famous “modes of persuasion” or rhetorical strategies):
- Logos (the clarity/sanity test): The intellectual lever, absolutely vital, creator of energy. People will not follow nor engage behind a leader who lacks intellectual clarity.
- Ethos (the credibility test): People don’t listen to what we say; They listen to what we do! Followers will scrutinize their leaders in order to decide whether or not these truly believe in what they say and if they “walk the talk”.
- Pathos (the energy test): Following leading neuroscientists, we only move “from intention to action” when our emotions support or fuels energy behind our intellect. Tools such as stories, metaphors, gestures and symbols talk directly to our emotional brain without being hijacked by our rational thoughts.
We have understood the Losada Model (disputed by some for its mathematical side but not for its logic, observations or conclusions) to build on those blocks in the following manners:
- Behaviours (Ethos) may be toxic (criticizing, mocking, rejecting, diminishing, segregating, trivializing, disrespecting, etc…) or positive (which we call in our book, Value Building Behaviours, after the work of ex IMD faculty, Chris Parker).
- Those behaviours, will rapidly create an atmosphere, a culture, a “smell of the place”, which Losada calls “The emotional space” (our Pathos, or emotional agenda). The culture of a team may be self destructive, negative, anxious (which Losada calls “fixed point” as it is obsessional, positional or oppositional), or flat, boring, disengaged like a “Monday morning meeting”. People go and do “Presenteism” (called “limit cycle” by the Chilean Professor, we call it “neutrality”) or energetic, daring, audacious, creative, demanding and benevolent at the same time(“flourishing” for Losada).
- These cultures, frankly destructive, neutral or constructive will strongly influence the quality of the intellectual (Logos) dialogue in a team or a whole organization.
This is how I see those two “models” combining.
It usually makes a lot of sense for the people we work with but, at times, comes a question which, to date, embarrassed me: How do I change my behaviours or is there something before the behaviours?
Not so long ago, when I was dispersing on the floor 300+ cards that we use to start an intimacy building seminar (classical exercise: People choose a picture and a quote that resonate with them and explain why to their team), a quote (that I didn’t know was there) from a Buddhist sacred book (the Dhammapada) caught my attention:
The thought manifests as the word;
The word manifests as the deed;
The deed develops into habit;
And habits hardens into character;
So watch the thought and its ways with care,
And let it spring from love,
Born out of concern for all beings…
As the shadow follow the body,
As we think, so we become.
Sadly, I am still way behind in terms of developing my spiritual side. But this quote made a lot of sense to me: My behaviour will not authentically change, if my thoughts remain the same. In other terms, if I want to change my behaviours, I need to “watch my thoughts with care”.
I still have a long way to go, but found it helpful and wanted to share it with you.