We all need to RESPECT Creativity

As one of the most innovative companies in recent years, Apple does not fit any of the traditional criteria for innovation. It does not invest large amounts of money into research and development, nor does it have a formal innovation funnel. Instead, it produces a small number of innovative products. The social dynamics leading to Apple-style innovation, including serendipity, connection, discovery, networking and play, are more typical of a college campus than a big corporation. According to a 2010 IBM survey of 1500 CEOs, creativity ranks among the most valuable management skills in the contemporary business environment. It has become something to train for and an accessible skill.P

The work of Teresa Amabile of Stanford University in the 1980s revealed that creativity has a social context. People in different career fields interpret the ability for original thought by different criteria, making domain knowledge a prerequisite for creative innovation.

Cognitive psychology theories about the mental processes of creative people produced psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of “flow”–a distinctive, cognitive state of mind people enter when they create. The elements of flow include:

*Absent sense of time

*Extraordinary focus

*Feeling of great confidence

*Intrinsic motivation

*Absent fear, hunger, and fatigue

*Joy or rapture

In the 1990s, brain imagery technology showed psychologists images of brain functions while people were creating. It debunked the belief that creativity is exclusive to the right brain. In fact, during a creative task, a person’s entire brain is involved.

The best way to decode creativity is to learn from creative individuals and organizations. In Florence, Italy, during the Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, and Donatello were at the forefront of a group of great painters who frequently collaborated in a society highly appreciative of their work. The super creativity of this group of masters was largely due to the social and cultural context in which they were working.

Three elements are essential to creative teams:

  1. Trust
  2. Familiarity with each other
  3. Shared commitment to similar goals

If cognitive psychology and neuroscience have shown that individuals have the ability to be creative, then a sociocultural approach demonstrates how to act within groups to foster creativity. Rather than search for a specific spot in the brain where an individual’s creativity originates, people should team up with others to multiply their creative abilities.

Creative intelligence exists across several disciplines and in all spheres of life. It is a social activity that grows through collaboration and sharing. With the rise of social media networking, corporations, schools, hospitals, and all other large organizations must adapt to social technology or be phased out.

Facing an uncertain future, people must be innovative and agile. They must seek ways to create things that change their lives. Five competencies are essential to this endeavor:

1. Knowledge mining to discover what is meaningful to themselves and others.

2. Framing, a lens that helps people focus and adapt to changing situations.

3. Playing to open up creativity, free people from rules, and find new ways to solve challenges.

4. Making products locally.

5. Pivoting to bridge the gap between innovation and creation.

People using creative intelligence are building a new business model called Indie Capitalism. It is free of many of capitalism’s traditional constraints, and it is a social system that is local rather than international.

Creativity is not a lightning bolt, but a light bulb. It can be common and routine. It is a means of expressing humanity and the uniquely human ability to create, connect, and inspire.

Respect Emotions in Negotiation

Negotiation is one of the most common and constructive ways of dealing with conflict. It can be defined as the joint decision making between interdependent individuals aimed at resolving a perceived divergence of interests (Pietroni et al., 2008). Negotiation is a part of our life and we negotiate every now and then, consciously or subconsciously, for creating value and/or claiming value. We negotiate in an informal way with our friends and family or we take a formal approach to negotiation in a work environment which IMG_3704includes business deals, dispute settlement, conflict resolution etc. But wherever we negotiate or whenever we negotiate, just like any other social interaction emotions are inherent to negotiation. Negotiations involve people and people are indispensable from emotions. The things that people care about are not just the outcomes but also respect, power and identity which are bound to incite strong emotions.

As an emotion emerges, it entails coordinated changes in physiology, motor readiness, behaviour, cognition, and subjective experience. Emotional reactions emerge in response to perceived or actual alterations in the person’s environment (Mayer et al., 2007). Emotions intertwine with rational thoughts to make us human. Reasons cannot easily operate without feelings, or vice versa. We need to understand, channel and learn from our emotions in order to adapt to the situation at hand and engage others successfully. The key to a successful deal most often lies not in technical details, or even in price, but in the proper treatment of the emotion and psychological motivations that drive the buyer or the seller (Garai and Pravda, 1993). Even when the economies or the strategies are right, a transaction can break down if critical personal concerns are not recognized and addressed (Garai and Pravda, 1993). Being emotionally prepared is as important as any other aspect of the negotiation planning.

Effect of Emotions on Negotiation

In Greek myth, many of the ills that plagued mankind were creatures of emotion, such as revenge, spite, and envy. Released by the goddess Pandora, they sought to torment the world (MacDonald and Matthew, 2008). To be able to use emotion as a weapon in negotiation, we must first understand the effect of emotions on negotiation. Acknowledging the critical role emotions can play in the negotiation, more and more studies are focussing on emotive other than cognitive aspect of the negotiation.

Both cognitive and emotional approaches to negotiation have highlighted not only outcomes related to the negotiable items on the table, but also outcomes related to the social relationship between the parties at table (Kopelman et al., 2006). Effect of emotions on negotiation can be studied as intrapersonal effect of emotions on a negotiator and interpersonal effect of emotions on other negotiators around the table. Various models such as affect-as information model, affect-priming models, affect infusion model etc. have been developed guiding the research on intrapersonal effect and various models such as motivated information processing model, social information model, actor-partner independence model etc. have been developed guiding research on interpersonal effect.

Intrapersonal effects of emotions in negotiation is the influence of a negotiator’s emotional state on his or her own behaviour (Van Kleef et al.) Studies have shown quite consistently that negotiators experiencing positive affect tend to be more cooperative and conciliatory, whereas negotiators in a negative affective state tend to be more competitive and reluctant to make concessions. Positive affect of emotions has shown to increase concession making, stimulate creative problem solving, increase preferences for cooperation, reduce the use of contentious tactics, and increase the use of cooperative strategies. Conversely, negative affect has been shown to decrease initial offers, decrease joint gains, promote the rejection of ultimatum offers, increase use of competitive strategies and decrease desire to work together in future (Van Kleef et al.).

Negotiation is a complex process which demands high level of attentiveness and awareness of the environment. Emotional effects of a negotiator are not only intrapersonal but also interpersonal that is our emotions not only influence us but also people whom we are interacting with. Negotiation is a social phenomenon whereby emotions of one negotiator not only affect themselves but also their counterparts (Van Kleef et al.). Negotiators use their opponent’s emotions to infer the location of his or her limits and subsequently used this information to make a counteroffer (Van Kleef et al.). In other words, negotiators who are confronted with an angry opponent estimate the opponent’s limit to be high, and to avoid costly impasse, they place low demands and make the large concessions. Conversely, negotiators with a happy opponent, judge the opponent’s limit to be low, feel no need to concede to avoid impasse, and accordingly place high demands and make small concessions. But anger is considered to be a negative emotion and negative emotions are highly contagious that they can anger the opposite party resulting in an impasse.

Disadvantages of communicating anger in a negotiation could be that the negotiator may be perceived with a negative personality, may anger the counterpart and/or negatively affect the future relationship. But communicating anger can have positive affects financially with the angry party claiming higher concessions. Studies by Beest et al. (2008), revealed that communicating anger has profound impact on multiparty negotiation and may trigger negative impressions in multiparty negotiation. But if the parties are forced to include an angry counterpart then the angry party tends to claim higher value than others.

Positive emotions lead to better cognitive thinking and result in better results whereas negative emotions influence the parties to focus on distributive approach resulting in one party gaining more than the other or reach an impasse.  Negotiations are best when they are integrative and result in added value instead of a fixed pie approach. Fixed –pie perceptions lead negotiators to engage in distributive negotiation[i] and to forego possibilities of an integrative negotiation[ii], typically resulting in sub-optimal agreements (De Dreu, 2003). But there may be some instances where fixed pie is an actuality and distributive bargaining is the most appropriate approach to take. In these negotiations strategic display of anger can yield better results for the party expressing anger.

The effect of emotions in negotiation cannot be generalised but is influenced by various other factors

Effect of Power

Negotiation parties often differ in terms of power, and power differences exert an important influence on the way in which negotiation processes develop and conclude (Van Kleef et al.). The effect emotions have on a negotiation depends on the power level of the parties involved in the negotiation. The party with a higher power will be more expressive of their emotions and less or not affected by the emotions of the counterpart. This resonates with the theory that negotiators with higher power are found to be more demanding and less conceding since their BATNA[iii] is relatively stronger.

Effect of Epistemic Motivation[iv]

The effectiveness of the use of emotional deception as a strategic ploy depends on whether the target of the influence attempt is motivated to think about the implications of the other’s emotions for his or her goal attainment (Van Kleef et al.). Negotiators’ tendency to concede more to an angry opponent than to a happy one is moderated by individual differences in epistemic motivation. The epistemic motivation is another factor that governs the extent to which emotions play a role in negotiation.  The higher the epistemic motivation the more the parties will be willing to achieve an outcome. Hence, the parties will be more receptive to emotions.

Whether individuals will engage in a systematic and thorough information processing depends on their epistemic motivation – the desire to develop and maintain a rich and accurate understanding of the world, including negotiation task (Van Kleef et al.). Epistemic motivation depends upon need for cognitive closure, attractiveness, environmental noise, mental fatigue, time pressure.

Effect of Emotional Transition

In a negotiation, a party can maintain a steady state emotion of being happy or angry throughout the negotiation or transition from a happy to angry or angry to happy emotional stage. The transition from happy to angry has been found to be the most effective where the negotiator started with a happy emotion transitioning to angry emotion (Filipowicz et al.).

Managing Emotions in Negotiation

History is riddled with instances where emotions overpowered reasoning. In contrast to the historically dominant view of emotions as a negative influence in human behaviour, recent research in neuroscience and psychology has highlighted the positive roles played by emotions in decision making (Shiv et al., 2005). The automatic emotions triggered by a given situation help the normal decision-making process by narrowing down the options for action, either by discarding those that are dangerous or by endorsing those that are advantageous (Shiv et al., 2005). This process can be lifesaving in certain events but when it comes to negotiation, relying on automatic emotive triggering can lead to damaging results. Here, we must inhibit the trigger and take a cognitive approach with emotions being used strategically. Emotional Intelligence (EI) [v] will enable us to accurately perceive and express emotion in the self, recognize and appraise the emotion in others, regulate emotion in the self, and use emotions to facilitate performance by guiding them towards constructive activities and personal performance.

Before walking into a negotiation, every negotiator must assess and accept the emotional complexity of the negotiation. They should follow the six-step warm-up exercise suggested by Kimberlyn Leary (2013) to emotionally prepare themselves for negotiation.

Strategic Control of Emotions

People sometimes are unable to control the emotions sparked by a negotiation. More often than not they end up conceding major concessions to the opposite party or the negotiation fails to materialize. The two most intense emotions that confront negotiators are fear and anger (Adler et al., 1998). Anger and fear in negotiations can be good and bad. The emotions in themselves are not negative; they affect us negatively if we let the emotions control us in situations which also demand certain level of rationalisation, whereas if we are aware of our emotional state, control it and use it for our own benefit, results can be positive. Adler et al. (1998) have suggested following ways to successfully deal with anger and fear arising in conflict situation:


·         The critical need for self-awareness

·         Determine situations that trigger inappropriate anger

·         Decide whether to display anger

·         Behavioural techniques to reduce anger like calling for a temporary break

·         Express anger and disappointment affectively

·         Avoid “negotiators bias”

·         Try to promote trust


·         Defuse beated emotional buildup

·         Assess the significance of angry displays

·         Address an opponent’s anger

·         Respond to anger in strategic ways

·         Help an angry opponent save face

·         Involve a mediator where we anticipate anger


·         Know your warning signs

·         Understand that fear is often a normal reaction

·         Determine how visibly you display fear

·         Determine situations that trigger fear

·         Behavioural techniques to reduce feelings of fear like thinking about a positive thought from the past

·         Careful preparation reduces fear (refer to (Kimberlyn Leary, 2013))

·         Act confident even if you do not feel so

·         Avoid quick agreements motivated by fear

·         Try to reduce stress level by exercising etc.


·         Monitor all negotiations for emotional build-ups

·         Show flexibility in how we react to your opponent’s fear

·         Where helpful, share your fears and anxieties with your opponent

·         Help your fearful opponents save face

Emotions as Strategic Information

Negotiators must use the information about the other’s emotion to design their own negotiation strategy. When negotiators lack information about counter parties, they bend towards distributive negotiation instead of an integrative negotiation (assuming win-win situation is a possibility). Studies by Paul Ekman, helps us understand the basic emotions and universal language of facial expressions. The study can be very helpful in face-to-face negotiation (assuming counterparts do not maintain a poker face[vi]) which is the most common setting especially for high level negotiations, dispute settlements and conflict resolutions.

Even though negotiators may not explicitly and deliberately inform others about the structure of their preferences and payoffs, an emotionally intelligent negotiator may extract this information from other’s emotional displays. Accurate recognition of particular patterns of emotional expression may help negotiators to revise their fixed-pie perceptions and discover mutually satisfying win-win agreements (Pietroni et al., 2008). For example, if a counterpart expresses anger in response to a particular issue, the focal negotiator can infer from the emotion that the issue is of high importance to the counterpart, and vice-versa. Hence, by gaining information about the high importance and low importance issue, the negotiators can work towards an integrative agreement.

Strategic Display of Emotions

Both cognitive and emotional approaches to negotiation have highlighted not only outcomes related to the negotiable items on table, but also outcomes related to the social relationship between the parties at table(Kopelman et al., 2006).  Emotions are deliberate behavioural strategy that is available to the negotiator. Strategic display of emotions refers to emotions intentionally expressed by the focal negotiator to attain a desired outcome. The displayed emotions may convey information and may influence strategic information processing or it may pursue the counterparty to act in a different way they would not have acted otherwise. This strategic display of emotions can be achieved by deep acting where internally experienced and externally displayed emotions are aligned or surface acting where displayed emotions are purely strategic and are at odds with internal experience. In his research (Kopelman et al., 2006), has shown the effects of strategically using positive or negative emotions or maintaining neutral emotion. His study resonates with the effects discussed above.


We have discussed the powerful role emotions play in the negotiation and how emotions can be manipulated and used as a weapon in tough negotiations. Strategically using emotions can be argued to be an unethical approach to a negotiation. But I feel that it is an art that negotiators develop to achieve better outcomes and since the emotions are used under a controlled setting the rationale is never lost.  So, instead of accepting the consequences of uncontrolled real emotions, the approach of gaining strategic information from emotions and using emotions strategically are tools which should be cognitively practiced by the negotiators.

Two goals primary in negotiation situations are those of creating value and claiming value. We talk about creating value in a negotiation but at the same time we must stress upon effectively claiming that additional value. Effective negotiation depends on the ability of parties to manage both the integrative and distributive component  of the task (Kumar, 1997).  Many of the abilities within emotional intelligence that assist negotiators in creating joint value might also assist in claiming individual value for themselves (Foo et al.).  Hence, negotiators must work on raising their Emotional Intelligence.  A research by Peter Salovay (2002) shows us how we can improve Emotional Intelligence.

Still a lot needs to be done in assessing the role of emotions in different scenarios.  The studies and information on which this essay is based has been conducted in specific settings in an experimental environment with limitations, hence the results cannot be generalised but helps us in getting a fair idea of the role emotions play in negotiations. One important limitation in the studies on effect of emotions on negotiation is that they do not take into account the social or cultural diversity of the experimental group which is another important indicator in this area. Cross-cultural negotiations are very important in today’s globalised environment. Hence, a negotiator should work on developing his or her Cultural Intelligence (CQ)[vii].

[i] Distributive negotiation is also sometimes called positional or hard-bargaining negotiation. It tends to approach negotiation on the model of haggling in a market. In a distributive negotiation, each side often adopts an extreme position, knowing that it will not be accepted, and then employs a combination of guile, bluffing, and brinksmanship in order to cede as little as possible before reaching a deal. Distributive bargainers conceive of negotiation as a process of distributing a fixed amount of value. BRAZEAL, G. 2009. Against Gridlock: The Viability of Interest-Based Legislative Negotiation. Harvard Law & Policy Review (Online), 3, 1..


[ii] Integrative negotiation is also sometimes called interest-based or principled negotiation. It is a set of techniques that attempts to improve the quality and likelihood of negotiated agreement by providing an alternative to traditional distributive negotiation techniques. While distributive negotiation assumes there is a fixed amount of value (a “fixed pie”) to be divided between the parties, integrative negotiation often attempts to create value in the course of the negotiation (“expand the pie”). It focuses on the underlying interests of the parties rather than their arbitrary starting positions, approaches negotiation as a shared problem rather than a personalized battle, and insists upon adherence to objective, principled criteria as the basis for agreement. . Ibid.


[iii] Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement


[iv] Epistemic Motivation can be defined as the desire to develop and maintain a rich and accurate understanding of the world, including the negotiation task. DE DREU, C. K. W., CARNEVALE, P. J., DE DREU, C. K. W. & CARNEVALE, P. J. 2003. Motivational bases of information processing and strategy in conflict and negotiation. ADVANCES IN EXPERIMENTAL SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY, VOL 35, 35, 235-291.


[v] Emotional intelligence concerns the ability to carry out accurate reasoning about emotions and the ability to use emotions and emotional knowledge to enhance thought. MAYER, J. D., ROBERTS, R. D. & BARSADE, S. G. 2007. Human Abilities: Emotional Intelligence. Annual Review of Psychology, 59, 507-536.


[vi] A face on a person that shows no emotion, often called poker face because in the game of poker it would be foolish to show any emotional traits that might screw the game for you.(www.urbandictionary.com)


[vii] Cultural Intelligence is defined as an individual’s capability to adapt effectively to situations of cultural diversity. IMAI, L. & GELFAND, M. J. 2010. The culturally intelligent negotiator: The impact of cultural intelligence (CQ) on negotiation sequences and outcomes. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, 112, 83-98.

Preparation required for becoming Leader

Only a few star performers deliver exceptional results and valuable ideas within their organizations. These individuals define the talent levels that their organizations need to gain crucial advantages. However, to be their best, these stars require strong organizational structures and effective leadership.business-suit-690048_1920

Leaders who lead exceptional individuals must understand that while such stars offer more, they also expect more. Stars want to work on teams made up of other stars and for organizations that define themselves by their excellence. They also want to work for strong leaders and within cultures that:

* Foster growth.

* Pave clear pathways for success.

* Create day-to-day experiences for them to achieve their goals and satisfy their need for accomplishment.

Great organizations understand and embrace their paradoxes. They respond quickly to changing global conditions, yet hold fast to their missions and values. They preserve their defining principles while replacing outmoded aspects that no longer serve. They manage the risk of innovation and acknowledge that past performances and traditional best practices can no longer be relied on to gauge the future and overcome their competition.

Five changes in the global economy have created what Henman refers to as paradoxical organizations:

  1. Workforce changes. Employees no longer stay with singular organizations throughout their entire careers, and companies no longer want the same skill sets indefinitely. Organizations must leverage specialist talent, which in the future will be handled less by HR departments and more by senior executives.
  2. New rules of the road. Big data will increasingly be a significant and disruptive factor in innovation, productivity, value creation, and expansion. Leaders will need to create advantages by successfully managing new environments that are characterized by speed and uncertainty.
  3. Global tilt. Emerging economies are changing global competitive dynamics. A lack of global governance rules means that leaders must adapt to trends beyond their own geographies, including the role that foreign governments play and how changing global demographics determine markets and resources.
  4. Fear. Since 2008, fear fed by sensational media reporting has become a great force, affecting both markets and the decisions of businesses and governments. Social media platforms spread innovative ideas as well as fear, instability, and violence.
  5. Change. Innovation itself is less important than the ability to temper innovation with discipline. Speed and agility are crucial, but it is even more crucial to know when to proceed with haste and when to be cautious.

Exceptional organizations that acknowledge these changes in turn display four traits:

  1. Strategy. Leaders anticipate numerous possible futures and invent strategies to respond to different scenarios and requirements.
  2. Culture. Organizations create cultures independent of talent. They hold on to the elements that make current stars want to join them while simultaneously adapting to change to attract future talent.
  3. Excellence. Organizations commit to excellence by realizing that they are only as good as their least-excellent performers who occupy key positions. Every employee should represent a high standard of performance.
  4. Talent. Mere retention is no longer a goal. Leaders must learn to quickly and accurately size up talent, recognizing three essential traits in top performers: integrity, intelligence, and drive.

Employee Satisfaction

Now, more than ever, organizations need to engage employees. Rapid market change, disruptive technologies, and opportunities available to your key talent have forced organizations to reexamine the connections between business performance, leadership, and employee satisfaction.

cropped-prism-philosophy-2.pngOver the past several years, many organizations have focused on reigning in key financial indicators. By searching the global labor market for the most efficient resources, creating process improvements, and using technology to speed up operations, companies have improved financial performance and created competitive advantages. But downsizing, outsourcing, and off-shoring will soon reach upper limits on their ability to improve organizational performance. In addition, these actions are available to all competitors—making them, at best, temporary sources of competitive advantage.

So, where will the next force for performance improvement come from? Where can organizations find sources of sustainable (not temporary) competitive advantage? In a series of 14 individual studies, Wilson Learning Worldwide has found one answer—Fulfillment Satisfaction. Our research has repeatedly shown that there is a direct correlation between employee Fulfillment Satisfaction and job performance. These studies have shown that, on average, 39% of the workforce bottom line can be attributed to employee Fulfillment Satisfaction.

This research could not be more timely. A Gallup poll showed that 55% of employees say they are not engaged in their work, and turnover among executives and managers is at an all-time high (SHRM research). Furthermore, our research has clarified the greatest source of employee fulfillment. The single most important factor in creating a sense of fulfillment is the leadership skills of an employee’s manager. This finding has significant implications for the importance of the role of the manager and how effective he or she is in creating Fulfillment Satisfaction.

Redefining Satisfaction

Employee satisfaction means different things to different people. While we intuitively believe that employee satisfaction is necessary for high performance, studies in the past have not supported this belief. Several years ago, Wilson Learning Worldwide began asking why and concluded that the problem was in the definition of satisfaction.

The dictionary defines satisfaction as “gratification of an appetite and pleasure.” In general, people most often associate satisfaction with happiness and comfort. It is likely that in most of the previous studies, people responded to the question “Are you satisfied?” by interpreting the question as “Are you comfortable in your work? Do you feel secure and content?” While this may not have been the intent of the question, this understanding of the question does suggest why organizational performance has not been linked statistically to employee satisfaction. We don’t often associate high performance with contentment, security, and comfort.

However, we do tend to associate high performance with enjoyment of the work, fulfillment in accomplishment, and effective work relationships. Therefore, the researchers at Wilson Learning Worldwide decided to explore a new definition of satisfaction, one that taps the elements of fulfillment, empowerment, and engagement. In the process, we have identified a powerful tool for creating a high-performance, high-fulfillment work environment.

Fulfillment Satisfaction

We call our approach “Fulfillment Satisfaction” (or just “fulfillment”) to differentiate it from the traditional definition of satisfaction (that is, satisfaction as being comfortable). It is our belief that if you can identify and measure a more meaningful definition of satisfaction, you will find a closer causal relationship to organizational performance. We began our research by identifying the principal elements of fulfillment, empowerment, and engagement. We identified five principal elements:

  • Satisfaction with the job: To be fulfilled, people need to value their day-to-day work activities. People need to have a sense of accomplishment or pleasure from the work itself.
  • Satisfaction with relationships: People also need to value the relationships they have on the job to be fulfilled. People want to like working with their coworkers. While people know that conflicts will arise, they want to be assured that the focus is not on the interpersonal differences, but the task differences.
  • Satisfaction with leadership: If people do not think they are being managed or led effectively, it is hard to have fulfillment in the work.
  • Knowing that others are satisfied in their work: One of the key findings from our research is the importance of the open expression of fulfillment in the workplace. Knowing that others gain fulfillment in their work is a powerful motivator.
  • Knowing that others are satisfied with the organization’s leadership: It is difficult to be fulfilled if there is not open trust and support for leadership. Equally, when that open trust and support is present, it helps create an environment where people feel empowered and willing to give their full engagement.

This combination of both personal satisfaction and communication of group satisfaction is a critical distinction between Fulfillment Satisfaction and traditional definitions of satisfaction. In today’s work environment, few objectives are met solely through one individual’s efforts. In addition, as people work together in group settings, they are likely to influence each other’s attitudes and beliefs. Because of the roles that teamwork and joint effort play in organizational success today, tapping into these elements seems critical. One might feel personally satisfied, but not perceive satisfaction in others. As a result, the overall sense of fulfillment that one feels will be diminished. Organizations that encourage open communication, where employees discuss their level of satisfaction, promotes high performance.

Studying the Relationship Between Fulfillment, Performance, and Leadership

From the work above, we were able to develop a reliable and valid measure of fulfillment. However, measuring the relationship between fulfillment and business performance requires reliable measures of performance in addition to a measure of fulfillment. It is nearly impossible to identify measures of performance that are consistent across industries, or even across organizations within an industry. As a result, the relationship between satisfaction and performance was examined in 14 separate studies, with each study using a unique measure of performance.

We conducted each of these 14 studies in a similar way. For each study, we worked closely with a team from the organization to identify existing measures of performance or devise new measures if appropriate ones did not exist. We had three criteria for the performance measures:

Table 1: Summary of Study Populations
Company’s Industry Measures of Performance Number of Work Units


Savings and loan
  • Percent change in total savings
  • Average size of new and transferred accounts
55 branches


  • Total first-year premiums
  • Increase from previous year in first-year premiums
  • Total premiums
10 agencies


  • Customer ratings of the accuracy, courtesy, and timeliness of service
20 branches


  • Percent of targeted production
  • Total production
14 sales units


  • Customer ratings of friendliness and efficiency of service
53 branches


  • Number of life premiums
  • Total volume
  • Production credits
12 agencies


Automotive sales
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Sales volume
  • Area registrations
10 dealerships


Transportation center
  • Percent of sales volume goal
  • Length of sales cycle
  • Salesperson retention
15 sales units


Automotive sales
  • Customer satisfaction
  • Sales volume
33 dealerships


Transportation center
  • Customer ratings of friendliness and efficiency
13 centers


Computer manufacturing
  • Chip rejection rate
  • Communication of downtime
57 shifts


Technology service
  • Customer ratings of friendliness and efficiency
9 branches


  • Gross margin
  • Percent of quota achieved
19 sales offices


  • Room occupancy
  • Repeat business
  • Customer satisfaction
8 hotels

© Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc.

  • The measure was meaningful to the organization’s business success
  • It was measurable at the individual work unit level
  • The measure had a direct impact on bottom-line performance

Table 1 summarizes the characteristics of the organizations participating in these studies. The organizations were distributed across three broad industry groups: financial services (banking, S&L, insurance), manufacturing (computers and automotive), and service (transportation and hospitality). Performance measures consisted of sales revenue, profit margins, customer satisfaction, production targets, market share, quality control, and repeat business. Since each organization used different performance measures, we treated each as a separate study.

The same method was used in all studies. Fulfillment data were collected from all work unit members. Work unit performance measures were gathered for roughly the same time period as the fulfillment data. An effort was made to secure data from several performance periods (e.g., several shifts, several weeks of customer satisfaction data) to ensure reliable indicators. All employees in a work unit were involved in the study. Each work unit contained between 3–10 employees; the total study population consisted of approximately 2,000 employees across the 14 studies.

The fulfillment and performance data were submitted to a multiple regression analysis to determine the degree to which work unit performance can be predicted from the work unit’s satisfaction level. Multiple regression analysis results in a value (called R) that indicates the degree of association between fulfillment and performance. The higher the R value (the closer to 1.00), the more fulfillment predicts the performance outcomes.

More About Multiple Regression

A multiple regression analysis results in a regression coefficient (R), which is an indicator of the association between satisfaction and performance. Regression coefficients have a range of -1.00 to +1.00. Values close to 0.00 indicate that the variables are unrelated. Negative values indicate that when one variable increases the other decreases. For example, as the hours of light in a day increase, the hours of darkness decrease (R = -1.00). When variables both increase, the R values are positive. For example, as the number of minutes increases, the number of seconds increases (R = +1.00). In this study all R values are positive, indicating that the two variables increase or decrease together. The higher the positive value (that is, the closer to 1.00), the stronger the relationship. For studies of this type (behavior studies), a value between 0.00 and 0.30 indicates a minimal relationship. Any value over .30 is considered meaningful, because at this point approximately 10% of the difference in one variable is shared with a change in the other variable. Values between .30 and .60 are considered moderately strong. Values between .60 and 1.00 are considered very strong. In this study, a regression coefficient value above .60 indicates that over 35% of the difference in performance can be attributed to differences in fulfillment.

Results: Fulfillment and Performance

Fulfillment and PerformanceThe following graph shows the average R value across all 14 studies. The R value of .63 indicates that there is a very strong relationship between Fulfillment Satisfaction and the business performance measures. This is remarkable considering the number of other factors affecting business performance that are unrelated to Fulfillment Satisfaction.

Table 2: Satisfaction to Performance Multiple Regression Results
Company’s Industry R Percent of Variability


Savings and loan .63 40%


Insurance .89 79%


Banking .50 25%


Insurance .84 71%


Banking .44 19%


Insurance .85 72%


Automotive sales .82 67%


Transportation center .94 88%


Automotive sales .32 10%


Transportation center .56 31%


Computer manufacturing .49 24%


Technology service .50 25%


Telecommunications .38 14%


Hospitality .59 35%


.63 39%

© Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc.

Table 2 shows the results for each of the studies individually. While the average R value was .63, the table shows that there was actually great variability among the studies. R values ranged from R = .32 (Study 9) to R = .94 (Study 8). Thus, even with the lowest R value, the studies indicate that the relationship between satisfaction and performance is at least moderately strong and, in many cases, very strong.

The majority of studies had regression coefficients between .50 and .85, suggesting that the relationship between satisfaction and performance is moderate to very strong. It is likely that different organizations and different industries will place differing emphasis on satisfaction and therefore variability among studies should be expected.

Table 2 also shows a “Percent of Variability” column. This is another statistic produced by the multiple regression analysis that shows exactly how much of the difference in performance is caused by differences in fulfillment. Thus, averaging across the 14 studies, 39% of the difference in work unit performance can be attributed to differences in fulfillment. Said in another way, the Percent of Variability can be used to predict how much performance will change if you improve a work unit’s fulfillment. On average, improvement in fulfillment could increase performance by 39%.

In summary, these 14 studies indicate that there is a significant and meaningful relationship between business performance and fulfillment. The results suggest that organizations, regardless of industry, could improve organizational performance by improving fulfillment among employees.

Results: The Leader’s Role in Improving Fulfillment

If organizational performance is strongly affected by employee fulfillment, as these studies indicate, then understanding what characteristics contribute to fulfillment can be critical in improving organizational success. Of the things an organization can do to impact employee fulfillment, we focused on the day-to-day interactions between an employee and his or her manager. We hypothesized that fulfillment is largely determined by the work environment and sense of teamwork created by the leader of the work unit.

When we measured fulfillment in the 14 studies described above, we also measured employees’ perceptions of their leader’s actions and how those actions affected the employee. We analyzed 28 separate leadership behaviors. Employees rated each behavior in terms of the actions of their direct manager. These behaviors defined five critical leadership practices:

Direction Does the leader create a work environment that links the employees’ actions to an important and inspiring organizational purpose or mission?
Goals Does the leader define challenging but achievable work objectives for the employees?
Feedback Does the leader provide information and direction needed to track and improve performance?
Recognition Does the leader provide the appropriate consequences to improve and maintain high performance in the work unit?
Support Does the leader show a concern for the development of employees and provide support and coaching to improve individual performance and abilities?

Satisfaction and PerformanceWe used the same multiple regression technique to determine the relationship between leadership practices and employee fulfillment that we used to determine the relationship between fulfillment and performance. The overall result of this analysis is shown in the following graph, along with the fulfillment-performance results shown earlier. There is a very strong relationship (R = .83) between leadership practices and the Fulfillment Satisfaction of the employees.

Table 3: Leadership to Satisfaction Multiple Regression Results
Company’s Industry R Percent of Variability Greatest Contributor


Savings and loan .78 61% Direction


Insurance .81 66% Recognition


Banking .90 81% Recognition


Insurance .81 66% Support


Banking .89 79% Recognition


Insurance .84 71% Direction


Automotive sales .81 66% Support


Transportation center .91 83% Recognition


Automotive sales .89 79% Goals


Transportation center .80 64% Recognition


Computer manufacturing .75 56% Feedback


Technology service .85 72% Feedback


Telecommunications .84 71% Support


Hospitality .77 59% Feedback


.83 69%

© Wilson Learning Worldwide Inc.

The results for each of the 14 studies is shown in Table 3. There was much less variability between studies in this analysis than there was in the relationship between fulfillment and performance. All of the regression coefficients were between .75 and .91, indicating that between 56% and 83% of the variability in fulfillment can be attributed to the leadership practices of the work unit’s manager. On average, 69% of the variability in employee satisfaction is attributable to the actions of the work unit leader.

The multiple regression analysis also allowed us to identify the individual leadership practice in each study that contributed most to the relationship with fulfillment. These practices are also listed in Table 3 in the “Greatest Contributor” column. There was significant variation between organizations as to which leadership practice contributed most to predicting fulfillment. Each of the five practices was the largest contributor for at least one of the studies. Recognition was the one most frequently identified (five studies); Feedback and Support were also frequently identified (for three studies each), as was Direction (two studies). Goals was identified as the largest contributor in one study.


In a business environment that requires employees who are flexible, creative, and willing to take risks, it is necessary to find ways to help employees feel fulfilled and empowered in their work.

At a time when research is showing that job satisfaction is at an all-time low (Conference Board, Towers Perrin) and that less than half of all employees feel a sense of loyalty to their organization, Wilson Learning Worldwide’s research could not have come at a better time. Our research suggests that the single biggest contributor to these feelings of fulfillment, empowerment, and satisfaction lie in the day-to-day relationship between employees and their managers. These 14 separate studies show:

  • Managers and leaders have the major impact on the Fulfillment Satisfaction of employees and, consequently, on how well they perform.
  • Between 56% and 83% of fulfillment could be predicted from the skills and practices of the manager or leader.
  • When employee fulfillment was high, so was performance; when employee fulfillment was low, so was performance.
  • All 14 studies showed a significant relationship between employee fulfillment and work unit performance.
  • 39% of bottom-line performance can be attributed to employee fulfillment.

Clearly, while organizational leaders are rethinking how to manage the corporation, they must also rethink how they lead the people who drive it. We found that leadership skills directly related to employee satisfaction include having a clear direction for the group; having realistic and clear objectives; and being able to give appropriate feedback, recognition, and support. Perhaps most importantly, the results emphasize empowering and developing employees so they can do the work themselves and eliminate barriers to getting the work done. Managers who have the leadership skills to accomplish these conditions will create a high level of fulfillment in their employees with a direct impact to the bottom line.

These studies suggest that a person’s manager is the primary contributor to fulfillment in an organization. Pay, compensation, work conditions, promotions, and benefits are important, but are more often associated with creating dissatisfaction than with fulfillment. In other words, when people feel their salaries are not fair, work conditions are poor, or the benefits are insufficient, they feel dissatisfied with the organization and their job. However, even if these conditions are perfect, this elimination of dissatisfaction does not mean that employees feel fulfilled, only that they no longer are dissatisfied. And it is employee fulfillment, not satisfaction, that predicts performance. It is the individual manager who creates, or fails to create, fulfillment.

Understanding the connection between business performance, leadership, and employee fulfillment can measurably impact the future competitiveness of a company. Employee satisfaction impacts the bottom line and is largely determined by employee day-to-day interactions with managers. Of all the factors an organization can improve to impact employee satisfaction, improving individual leadership is the most effective. Those leaders who see their role as a developer of people, and who are skilled in the new leadership practices, will have high-performing employees. Managers who do not are well advised to reconsider how they lead. If a company is prepared to invest in new equipment and new processes, then why not in the company’s human assets who drive those initiatives and the people who lead them.


“Linking Employee Satisfaction with Productivity, Performance, and Customer Satisfaction.” Corporate Executive Board, 2003.

“Creating a Highly Engaged and Productive Workplace Culture.” The Gallup Organization, 2001.

“Working Today: Understanding What Drives Employee Engagement.” Towers Perrin, 2003.

Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Adams, “Building Loyalty and Commitment in the Workplace.” Career Systems International, 2002.

More information about the Negotiating to Yes program is available from Wilson Learning Worldwide.

Share with your star performers team

Companies become great because of the contributions of key star performers. Successful teams are like “constellations of stars” that work harmoniously together. When leaders recruit teams made up entirely of stars, they often underperform. This is because stars tend to want to work alone as solo contributors and often take time to learn that collaboration leads to success. Leaders must forge strong, individualistic personalities into cohesive groups, building team cohesion right from the moment teams are assembled.

Screen Shot 2016-01-16 at 10.39.16 pmHenman offers a talent assessment model that leaders can use to identify how specific individuals would work as a team. It ranks each person from one to four, focusing on behavior, aptitude, and experience, with the highest ranked candidates successfully combining all three qualities. These candidates, however, will need the guidance of leaders to manage the inevitable turbulence found with virtuoso teams.

Teams of stars can easily flounder if leaders do not set expectations and define roles and responsibilities. Therefore, leaders should pay close attention to the eight functions that structure star teams:

  1. Trust
  2. Accountability
  3. Decision Making
  4. Conflict Resolution
  5. Communication
  6. Clear Objectives
  7. Collaboration
  8. Leadership

Respect Star Performers

Leaders must understand how star performers are different from other employees, even high achievers. They distinguish themselves as thought leaders by embodying the E5 Star Performer Model:0-8

  1. Ethics
  2. Expertise
  3. Excellence
  4. Enterprise
  5. Experience

Stars practice integrity everyday as a guiding principle. They do not simply follow general guidelines; they merge ethical behaviors into their intellectual and social skills, instilling ethics into their everyday conduct both personally and professionally.

The chief determiner of an executive’s success is the ability to make decisions and solve problems at a high level. Although three factors define such intelligence (critical thinking, learning ability, and quantitative ability), critical thinking is the crucial factor, allowing stars to envision future scenarios, cut to the heart of complicated problems, and separate the trivial from the essential.

Practice and excellence are also linked. Talent is at the foundation of excellence, but there must be awareness of talent as well. Stars are uniquely able to identify and cultivate their own strengths. Passion drives stars to pursue their natural talents and seek out knowledge and opportunities to develop them. Stars organize their lives around sharpening their skills.

Seeking perfection sidetracks individuals, trapping them in details and causing them to miss deadlines. It causes talented individuals to lose motivation, become frustrated, and abandon their goals. Stars and those who lead them must strive to succeed, not be perfect.

Maintain your conversation


Great Idea Hunters are in the habit of cultivating great conversations, both planned and by chance. They may be with work mates, clients, friends, acquaintances, or perfect strangers. Idea Hunters have to put themselves “in the line of fire” of ideas, and conversations are the primary way in which to do so.Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 11.14.19 am

While almost anyone can be a valuable conversation partner, some people have a special place in the communication flow, either because of what they know, how they learn, or how they embody all of the essential links in the conversation chain and spread their knowledge via informal communication. These “gatekeepers,” or connectors, are important people to know and talk to. They generally do not come from upper management, but they are like “switches” through which ideas flow through an organization. Their characteristics include the following:

*They are more likely to keep up with literature in their field,

*They attend more professional meetings and meet more people than anyone else.

*They are accessible to large numbers of people.

*They recognize connections between what some people know and what others are looking for.

*They make connections for people and can be trusted.

*They can help people find what they need to know.

It is important for Idea Hunters to figure out who the connectors are in an organization and build conversations with them.

Additionally, successful interactions require sending the right signals to partners. Some people are continuers of conversations, while some people are terminators. Continuers invite honest discussion and build ideas; terminators throw cold water on conversations and kill off ideas. Some people chase away ideas that might flow from a conversation without being fully aware that they doing so. Therefore, Idea Hunters should be aware of both their own and others’ intentional or unintentional terminating behavior. Though not all ideas can be acted upon, all should be welcome in a conversation.

Questions can be an important part of a conversation, and open-ended questions are preferable. Also useful are naïve questions. Actual experts might be too immersed in the details to step back and survey the big picture, and the so-called naïve expert” can get back to basics more easily than an expert who is highly invested in the current way of doing things.

In a sense, all idea work is a conversation. Idea Hunters talk to people who cross their paths, but they also hold conversations with what they read, hear, and see in the media. They pose questions, drawing connections and thinking critically about content. Most of all, they are engaged in an ongoing conversation with themselves. They must simply begin the conversation. From there they can continue the work of staying interested, tapping diversity, engaging in the practice of searching for ideas, and remaining agile to keep the ideas flowing.

Share your Creative Style

Your Creative Style

In addition to interviews with 100 people, a formal questionnaire was provided to 1,000 individuals. It was presented as a tool to help people describe how they solve problems and use creativity. The results of the questionnaire categorized people across four quadrants. The quadrant that held the most responses represented the strongest trait for respondents. The four quadrants were:

1. Foragers, who look for new angles and ideas for clients.

2. Explorers, who seek new ways to do things.

3. Synthesizers, who are good teachers and can see priorities quickly.

4. Disseminators, who are outcome focused.

Research on creativity demonstrates that people are a mix of these four types and do not fit neatly into one quadrant. People can rate in all four quadrants; however, it is more common to have a clear strength in one or two. The results of this questionnaire found that companies with employees who have a mix of styles tend to do better than companies where everyone on the team is in the same quadrant with their creativity. However, when there is a common theme among styles for a team, employees report more satisfaction with their colleagues. To ensure teams work well together, managers should understand where everyone best fits in order to play on their unique strengths. Productivity improves when managers can identify who is best at what.

When putting together a team, it is important to use the principles of divergence and convergence, which are two very different ways of thinking.Divergence is useful when the goal is to explore and learn new things. It is a very open process but can be difficult for people who are not inclined to stay open minded and suspend judgment. The opposite principle of convergence is used when it is time for an answer regarding an idea. Those who aim to get to convergence quickly tend to prefer structure and are very action oriented. When there are strong preferences for divergence or convergence in a team, conflict in the group can result. Success comes when all four creativity styles work together to solve problems.

Creativity in Organizations

One way to encourage creativity in organizations is to encourage team members to have brainstorm sessions. In this approach, teams are asked to present a number of ideas off the top of their heads without judgment. The purpose is not to have a solution immediately. Rather, it is to encourage people to explore a number of options. This is generally better than idea generation as an individual because a group of participants can bounce ideas off of people in the room. Most people tend to judge more than offer unique ideas, which make brainstorming very valuable.

Although judgment is deferred during brainstorming, at some point the ideas will need to be judged. Once a list of ideas is created, then it is time to critically evaluate which ones should be explored further. The goal is still to avoid any personal judgment for the people who generated ideas, since brainstorming is a group process.

A good brainstorming session honors four rules:

  1. Focus on quantity over quality, since a greater number of ideas is more likely to generate a solution.
  2. Put criticism on hold, since the initial goal is to add to the list of ideas.
  3. Refrain from assumptions and be open to new perspectives.
  4. Combine ideas with the goal of making improvements on them.

As mentioned earlier, Mind Maps can be a useful tool to help teams see pieces of ideas that fit together. They can also be easier to work with since new information can easily be added at a later date.