How can you make sure your team gets chosen to do the hot projects? And when your team bids for a new client, how can you make sure you get selected over the competition? Sure, you have to prove your ability to deliver, but your success in getting selected is also largely influenced by something more primal: the way it feels to work with your team.
As a leader of Information Technology groups, I’m often responsible for selecting which team to choose for a project. We typically use a very structured decision making process, especially when selecting a team from an outside vendor, with quantified decision making criteria captured in huge matrices that allow us to objectively compare the options. But I have to be candid, as we’re interviewing teams and listening to their presentations, we get a feel for which one we most want to work with, and then we use the selection criteria to justify or verify our decision (even though we may consciously believe that emotion had nothing to do with it). Certain teams feel better than others, and as much as we may try to deny this influence in business, emotions are primal.
Our emotional systems underlie and operate independently of our cognition. Scientists have proven that we’re born with emotional systems that are wired to respond in a way that has made our species successful. Even as our cognitive systems develop, our basic emotional systems are still active. We are emotionally wired to associate with people who evoke certain emotions. There’s no denying this, so let’s become conscious of it and use it to increase success.
How can your team appeal to clients at the emotional level? Research shows that people working on the same team form an emotion-based field that can be detected by the nervous system of other people, such as clients. Most clients are naturally attracted to energy fields that feel positive and energetic, or coherent, and they shy away from fields that are discordant.
Your team probably puts lots of effort into ensuring that you deliver high quality services on time and at a fair price, but it’s also important to consider how your team feels to clients. This begins with team members being personally coherent, which means their emotions are usually positive and uplifted. But we know that everybody goes through a variety of moods, often influenced by their personal lives of which you have no control. You can help team members increase their coherence by using a mindfulness technique, which will help them reduce stress and access a more consistent state of emotional well being. Then you can help the team build emotional coherence among the team members by using a technique that facilitates a reciprocal emotional bond between all members and by actively re-shaping the team’s emotions when needed.
It’s important to note that human emotion in business is becoming even more vital as we move from a manufacturing economy to a service economy. For years businesses have worked to make their products emotionally attractive to customers, and we’ve learned that’s primarily why customers buy them. For example, when people are motivated to buy a particular car, the primary attractive force is emotional. They’re attracted to the way they believe it will feel when they’re driving the car (or being seen driving the car), and that’s why they buy it. Of secondary importance are the practical aspects of the car. Now that we’ve become more of a service economy, we need to put equal effort into making our services (or teams) emotionally appealing.
As we learn more from neuroscience about the incredible power of group emotions, we see reasons to adopt techniques beyond the ordinary. For more on shaping team emotions to increase creativity and performance, including research references, get notified of the upcoming book Primal Teams: Harnessing the Incredible Power of Group Energy or sign up for a monthly summary of articles.Share