The Seven Levels of Individual, Group, and Organizational effectiveness created by BEabove Leadership is an excellent barometer for how an organization feels and behaves. One of my mentors, Joe Dispenza, talks about energy. He says energy is always more powerful than matter. Imagine a tornado, a storm versus a barn. Organizational culture is the energy of the organization. It’s how people feel the invisible threads of what they're saying and not saying to each other; the underlying feelings, thoughts, and beliefs about the organization. It shows up as either cooperative behavior, collaborative behavior, innovative behavior, engaged behavior, or peaceful behavior. It can also appear as hostility, anger, frustration, anxiety, fear, despair, or hopelessness. You can imagine that with each energy, there's a level of productivity that accompanies it. When people are peaceful and engaged, they're cooperating, working together, and there's less waste. When there's hostility and fighting, there's a lot of rework, waste, and lost wages.
The seven levels begin with the lowest level of ineffectiveness: operating in hopelessness or despair in the workplace. The next level up is fear: people operating with anxiety and concern who are afraid of making mistakes. The next level up is frustration: people get work done and move with energy to get work done, but they do it in spite of each other. That's when things like soloing, stonewalling and taking credit for work that's not yours happen. In the lower levels, people are protecting themselves or fighting against something.
When you get into the levels of effectiveness, it begins with a choice to move into courage, to have a belief in something better and bigger, like a vision for the organization or the compelling future. That's when people are encouraged; they have a belief in something that was previously not available to them. From here, when people are collaborating and feel safe trying projects and taking risks because they feel trusted and supported, they're fully engaged. The next level above courage is innovation. Innovation is where people are trying even more new things. They're working together in the service of each other and creating products that never existed before. The highest level of effectiveness is synchronicity. This is when people are operating in alignment for the betterment of the organization. As a group, they're healthy, intentional, and high-performance. If you can keep your group, for the most part, above the power and freedom line in courage, engagement, innovation, and synchronicity, you will outpace the market and you will recruit and retain highly talented, energetic contributors who want to make the world a better place.
If you find that you're below the line or that your team is below the line, the last thing you want to do is call yourself or others out for being in a bad or challenging state of mind. What you want to do is access compassion, first for yourself, and then for others. Once you access compassion, you want to get curious about why those emotions are happening. What's going on with that person or that group? Could the organization have caused it? Is there something the organization is doing? Is there something you're doing? Be compassionate and curious with yourself and others, and then do something about it, start to have conversations, and help people see what's in their own way.
Once you have identified the problem, you can work to find a solution. Discuss what it would take to get you or those around you above the line and into courage. Be honest about what you need and listen to the needs of others with an open mind. Just the act of saying how you feel and opening a dialogue about issues you might be facing will drive you into courage. It is brave to discuss your needs and stand up for yourself or your team. From that place of courage, work to find a solution to your problems, and make a commitment to yourself to stay above the line. Don’t give into frustration or fear. Acknowledge the power you have in deciding how the things happening in your environment affect you. You get to choose whether something frustrates you, or pushes you to make a change. Lead with compassion, be courageous, and watch as you and your company thrive.