If you want to avoid Mr Emotional make sure you are addressing the appropriate person(s), in an appropriate place at an appropriate time and there is a clear agenda.
“There is usually a rational explanation for irrational behaviour, the skill is to find it” James Banham
There has long been recognition of the emotional state, just think of the following sayings: “He will argue black is white and white is black”, “No shades of grey with him”, “Better safe than sorry” “Over my dead body”. Mr Em exists in us all, you cannot stop him he is several times stronger than Mr Rational, what you can do is to learn to manage him, and to be a successful business leader this is vital. When “the red mist descends” “sleep on it” ‘things usually seem better in the morning”.
For some people change is exciting, but for the majority of people, change that they have no control over, can be quite frightening and threatening, the two key elements which wakes up Mr Em. So when introducing change make sure you don’t just “go in like a bull in a china shop” and “put your foot in it” or you might just come up against “the drama queen” who is as “stubborn as a mule” and is willing “to cut his nose off to spite his face” and does not want to “act in haste and repent at leisure” although when taking everything into consideration what you are proposing is a “no brainer”.
Managing change effectively is not always hugely difficult it is often just a case of recognising that you have most likely been considering the change for a period of time and what is quite likely is that you started with an issue you wanted to improve on. You have been working with Mr Rational throughout the process. Mr Rational methodically collects all the facts together and comes to a logical and reasoned conclusion and then puts a plan of action together.
When introducing change create a process for the people who will be affected by the changes which enables them to understand the reasoning and logic of the proposals and afford them the same process that you went through there by keeping it all at a rational level. Make sure you are addressing the appropriate people, in an appropriate place at an appropriate time and there is a clear agenda. Too often people make comments which have far reaching consequences as an aside, as though it was nothing of any real importance. If this is used as a tactic to either see what type of reaction you are going to get or even worse, to say it when the person’s mind is on something else in the hope they may not pick up on it and then you can introduce the change with a clear conscience that you had told them but they had not listened, then don’t be surprised to see Mr Em at some stage.
If you do “Rattle their cage” and accidently “put the cat amongst the pigeons” “Back off” take some “Time out” “Give them space” to “let off steam”, you may need to take a “Chill pill” but eventually it will calm down and you can then have a rational discussion, whatever you do try not to wake up your Mr Em, two Mr Ems trying to come to rational conclusions won’t happen, and in the process a lot of collateral damage can occur.
In the section “Navigating a business through the 4IR” we look at the importance of:
- Having a clear vision, 3CirclesofSuccess.
- Knowing what your business stands for, The relevance of branding to SMEs.
- Having a deep understanding of your Customers and markets.
How strong and effective leadership ensures that everyone in the business understands what these are and that there is buy in to them. The greater these are embedded into the culture of the business then the stronger the platform is for introducing change and, when differences of opinion do occur, you can always fall back on to agreed and accepted objectives and principles thereby defusing the situation. Strong and effective leadership helps to minimise the feelings of fear and threat thereby playing a key part in managing the Mr Ems.
In the very dynamic markets that we now operate in, Mr Past-Experience can be even more challenging to manage than Mr Em. Whatever happens with Mr Em he does finally burn himself out, then you just have to deal with any collateral damage that may have occurred. With Mr Past-Experience you can be dealing with processes and beliefs which have been the very foundations of past successes, it is just that they now conflict with what is needed in today’s very different markets. The key to resolving this conundrum is to ensure that the business has clear strategic objectives which everyone has bought into, and to combine it with risk management. You must rationally go through a process whereby it becomes clear that the greater risk is not to change. Much easier said than done, especially when Mr Past-Experience does not want to change and he is at a stage in life when he is more focused on the short term than the longer term.