Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Why do we love Reality TV so much?

People love to see a simple story of how others are helped to actually overcome a personal difficulty (think Super Nanny, Wife Swap, Undercover Boss), I believe it is because our culture has become fascinated with how people behave and then, how they are helped to go on and sort things out. Even more popular, if the central character happens to obnoxious or self-centred.
Yes I strongly believe that our culture is on the brink of a breakthrough, in that the day to day goings on of people and what they get up to, seems to now be acceptable discussion material and ratings stats. Take the current fascination with “makeover” shows (acknowledged by many as shallow and crass) the popularity of these (10 years younger, Gok Wan) speaks to people’s desire to be given an inside view of what makes a person tick, how they got themselves into the situation and how they go on - with help - to sort themselves out and change.

So, have you seen the film “The King’s Speech” starring Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush? A Multi award winning film, which is based on a simple premise: The Prince had a stutter, and he needed help. After countless doctors and treatments in the palace had failed, his wife heard of an guy named Lionel, who worked in a humble office in London and had tremendous success curing speech problems. Lionel was not a doctor and speech therapy did not yet exist. It was very unusual for a Prince to visit a man like Lionel. What Lionel discovered about the Prince was that he had no contact with regular people, had no real friends, and was very defensive, and arrogant, and difficult. And despite this, he wouldn’t even consent to answering any kind of personal question.

The drama of the movie comes from Lionel’s ingenuity and resourcefulness with the Prince, his ability to use different modalities – humor, challenges, eccentric assignments, double-bind strategies, physical exercises, interpersonal interventions, and above all the power of relationship to transform this frustrated Prince into King George VI. It’s a film about Intervention not about speech therapy – the work was broader than that! It’s not psychotherapy – this work was more strategic and practical than that. The film is about how to practically and strategically shift someone towards the outcome they so much want, despite their defenses, their obstacles, and even their social superiority. The film features no car chases, no romance, no drama. And at the end of this film, the audience Weeps with pride at the breakthrough.

So I ask you, what is it about behaviour and what lies behind it/causes it, and how you change it, that enthralls people in today's world?

Until next time.....

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Which of the 6 Basic Human Needs drive you?

Hello again.. In my last two Blog posts I took you behind the complexity of behaviour so as to explain that it is actually driven by 7% conscious and 93% unconscious thinking. I explained that all decisions (again conscious or unconscious) are made from our own internal representations of the world we live in, our part within this world, people we meet, experiences we have, etc, etc. We filter and construct an internal Reality from what we; see, smell, hear, touch and taste, then store all of this. Our outlook on life, our views, perceptions, judgements, decisions, etc, are made through these filters (consciously or unconsciously) and we attach images, sounds, feelings too!

Fascinating stuff eh? But did you also know that without knowing it we are motivated by and live our lives through, 6 Basic Human Needs. It is these 6 needs that drive our; health, happiness, relationships and physiology. The vast majority of people live their lives by only 2-3 of these, where their behaviour and outlook on life in general is affected - positively or negatively - by whether or not these needs are met. The following 6 needs can be split down into two parts, numbers 1-4 are needs which require the person to receive or to give in order to experience them, with numbers 5&6 requiring minimal conscious effort through giving or receiving:
  1. Certainty - it is human nature to want to be comforted, be free from pain and anxiety, to be sure of having a way to sustain need is critical too. Often people feel depressed or withdraw when they do not feel certainty in their lives, a work situation or the wider environment. It is instinctive to many to seek out certainty but when it is missing, explains why behaviour trait's occur when the person is living their reality with or without certainty.
  2. Un-Certainty/Variety - it is again human nature to seek variety in life - uncertainty - or the "spice of life". People feel like they are in a rut or un-fulfilled in some way, they lack stimulus from life. Without a level of variety, challenge and stimulus, some people become depressed or blame others for the situation they find themselves in.
  3. Significance -  this is a very understandable need, in that people seek to be recognised, to feel important, needed in some way, special and not ordinary. People with low self esteem seek this but often don't know it, as do aggressive people who feel compelled to project-out and be seen as formally recognised/to have status. For people who do not feel they are achieving significant, their behaviour is affected, often manifesting in a host of different traits.
  4. Connection/Love - have you ever heard people say they like to be in company of others, part of a team, in the "gang" or perhaps are drawn into having relationships to try and obtain this missing need? This is a very powerful and often mis-interpreted human need and hides behind many behaviour traits as the root cause. To many, being devoid of this - whether intentionally or not - impacts them in the way they control depression or anger.
  5. Growth - this human need is where development naturally (physically or mentally) occurs where the person recognises a progression in their life and feels warm, a feeling perhaps of maturity and knowing their way around the block. At work this is often linked to significance and in times of a change can cause the person to question themselves and their place in the environment, even affecting domestic relationships.
  6. Contribution - the final human need, sought by us all in some way comes from a need to put something in, to contribute is to do their bit. When linked to significance it is a powerful unconscious measuring stick and can often be a force for positive and of course of negative. For many, to contribute comes in many forms and is provided in a range of ways, such as; community activity, football teams, gangs, associations, blogging, tweeting or in chat rooms/forums.  
The complexity of human nature is one that I find fascinating - especially having spent the vast majority of my life being confused and frustrated by the dynamics behind why we do what we do and what inhibits or releases us to a happy and fulfilled life. I find now, that often people are simply unaware of how they feel and what causes a good or bad day, and I find others that are only too aware and they will mask away a problem or physiology behind a number of misleading behaviours.

As a Change Interventionist my role is to identify what is going on, to get behind individual or group behaviour by using very specific techniques that un-lock the internal Reality that has been constructed, by aligning this insight with the 6 Basic Human Needs - finding the top 2-3 dominant ones. I then have identified - through patterns of language and behaviour - what is going on so as to discuss this and begin the process of creating a change. As I have stated before, "All behaviour has a structure, which can be modelled, learned, taught and changed". There are potent change interventions that can take place through; use of words, linking Reality change with a touch, even through being in rapport with someone and letting them realise for themselves that what they see as their Reality is wrong.

Although I do not work in domestic based change - plenty of providers and coaches do this - what I tell my organisational Clients is this, a person that works for them within their environment brings with them each day both a domestic and a workplace Reality outlook. It is this outlook that does significantly and silently impact upon how they work and interact with; customers, colleagues and suppliers, even impacting upon the very stability and success of that organisation in some small or big way. More importantly too for Clients to realise is that all behaviour impacts upon other people in a very personal and deep way (if you consider that we absorb what is going on around us and we filter this into our own Reality, then behaviour at work and the implications will affect the Reality and behaviour of others).

The aim of the Baninel Blog is to bring to light for readers the hidden impact of behaviour and why it is the "lost key" to making and improving work and in turn onto and back from; domestic lives, for all people. Training and coaching has a place, but what is needed is to raise the profile of what drives behaviour and to make sure that people in organisational environments recognise and understand it. That organisations give due diligence to it so as to ensure it is fully understood and aligned into the culture and change initiatives that continually evolve. 

If you feel you want to explore this subject and the future tips and suggestions I aim to share, please feel free to subscribe.

Have a great week ahead,


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Benefit - Understand how people think and behave!

In the last Blog post I looked at the need to get into the grass-root thinking of employees so as to understand what it really takes to engage with them - in the context of the linked HR Magazine article about employee migration - and I gave a wider outline based upon my own behaviour profiling insight, as to what drives it and how it is created and manifested.

This post continues to look at behaviour, this time I aim to help readers to start to see it as it is - an outcome that people produce from their conscious and unconscious minds, driven by their internal representations of the world around them and how they have created these representations as their Reality of their life.  

Information Filtering System and The Unconscious Mind
As we continually experience life's events around us, we filter them through our 5-senses (sound, sight, taste, touch and smell) into our brain, in doing so we also add additional sub-modalities to each sense giving them; adjustable volume, tone, colour, texture, bitter/sweet, etc. There we create either conscious or unconscious storage. 93% of what we store-away and then re-access in life, comes from deep in the unconscious mind and all this activity occurs without us even being aware. It is this deep, unconscious storage - and how we have constructed and labelled/deleted it - that drives behaviour.  The unconscious mind works as follows:
  1. It Stores our memories, temporal (in relationship to time) and atemporal (not in relationship to time)
  2. It is where we keep emotions and it organises all memories - using a Time Line.
  3. It represses memories with unresolved negative emotion, resents repressed memories for resolution (to make rational and to release emotions) and keeps the repressed emotions repressed for protection.
  4. It runs the body (breathing, healing, digesting, etc) and has a blueprint of the body at perfect health to preserve the body, always striving to maintain the integrity of the body.
  5. It enjoys serving us, needing clear orders to follow (it responds to our thoughts good or bad and is affected by conflicting thoughts)
  6. It controls and maintains all our perceptions and receives and transmits perceptions to the conscious mind which become verbal and non-verbal communication.
  7. It creates, stores, distributes and transmits “energy”.
  8. It maintains instincts and generates habits - needing repetition until a habit is installed and becomes instinctive (learning to ride a bike/swim or drive a car)
  9. It continually seeks more and more information/stimulus, there is always more to discover.
  10. It uses and responds to symbols.
  11. It takes everything personally.
  12. It works on the principle of least effort, is the path of least resistance and does not process negatives.
The way that a person has constructed and stored their Reality - decisions, prejudices, emotions and physiology - is individual and very unique. The old saying "don't tar me with the same brush" holds true. We all look upon life; people, relations, activities and events, firstly by recalling from the unconscious previously created Reality and then projecting onto what is out there NOW. This way, it is not possible for any two people to think and act the same, in the same situation. The Reality that is created from the unconscious determines the behaviour and it is this insight that is key to understanding, modelling and changing it.

What Drives Behaviour.
Behaviour is simply an expression of how the person is seeing the world from their unconscious mind - without being aware of doing so - and is determined in context (to their state of mind at that time). By beginning to understand behaviour shown by a given person, we can determine how that person will react or behave/can be helped to behave, in certain situations or circumstances. For example a person who is usually described as "calm, warm and friendly" might become "tense and explosive" in a stressful situation and be seen as "out of character" or "out of their comfort zone". Another person appearing to have the same personality traits may thrive in the same situation and do amazing things....the former therefore creating a dilemma for superiors who find that they are now ignorant as to events unfolding and how to remedy the the situation to help the individual and the organisational impact. So by simply understanding the dynamics - through specific language pattern elicitation - provides everyone much more value in improving the effectiveness of the human interaction in any environment.

Typical behavioural findings that I find, work around and ask Clients to consider :
  • Fear of Change (cannot imagine new, worried about unknown)
  • Conflict (existing, newly created)
  • Blockers (a cannot, will not attitude)
  • Emotion (passion - positive/negative)
  • Insecurity (vulnerable, out-of comfort zone)
  • Pre-suppositions (generalisations, prejudices)
From An Organisational Perspective.
A created Reality determines how a person will see their workplace and its targets, their colleagues and relationships, the workplace and wider culture, their job security and stability, etc. It is important to consider that any organisation that employs people is then directly affected by behaviour, in terms of; direct and indirect costs, internal and external service, operating processes continuity and overall Change Management initiatives and ongoing strategically planned growth and targets. It is an employees' created Reality which really does drive their behaviour and it is directly based upon how they have created and then view their world. Therefore, to better understand and include the dynamics of why people behave as they do within local and central organisational strategy as well as the daily considerations of communications and interaction, is to obtain truly valuable and effective People Intelligence that rivals the type of marketplace customer research (customer intelligence) many organisations spend millions gathering. Understanding the dynamics of employees - at any level - is to begin to know how to design and truly influence positively the way they operate and engage within an organisation, therefore ensuring nothing is left to assumption and can be guided and maintained in accordance to the overall goals and objectives.

When it comes to the many published views/tips/experts in relation to guiding Change Management and Employee Engagement initiatives, it is again critical to understand and to factor-in the individual Reality aspect that exists to relate to how an employee may be feeling or interpreting their "world at work" based upon their Reality as is it appears/feels to them, By ignoring this aspect in favour of traditional managerial based processes and text book theory, initiatives will FAIL:
In addition to the above insight I am sharing, behaviour within a changing environment or changed environment is another overlooked and deep impacting problem. Below I have outlined the typical responses one comes across when eliciting information from people in organisations that are failing, have failed or potentially will fail to create and absorb change:

This is characterised by a general lack of motivation and confusion. An individual is uncertain as to what the future holds and how they can fit into the future "world". Their representations seem inappropriate to them and the resultant undermining of their core sense of Reality leaves them adrift with no sense of identity and no clear vision of how to operate.

This is the awareness that one's values, beliefs and goals - their Reality - seem incompatible with those of the organisation. Pitfalls associated with this are that the individual becomes unmotivated, unfocused and increasingly dissatisfied and then gradually withdraws, either mentally (by just "going through the motions", doing the bare minimum, actively undermining the change by criticising/complaining) or physically by resigning.


This appears as a continued effort to try and validate via the individual's Reality, the social predictions that have already proved to be a failure. The problem here is that as an individual continues to operate within a Reality that they perceive to have repeatedly failed to achieve a successful outcome, that they feel they are no longer part of the process or feel surplus to the new way of working. The State of mind therefore is one where the new processes are ignored at best and actively undermined at worst.


This is the awareness of an imminent incidental change to one's Reality as it has been constructed (rightly or wrongly). The individual feels that they will need to act in a different manner and this will have an impact on both their self-perception and on how others externally see them. 

This is defined by a lack of acceptance of any change and denial that there will be any impact upon them as an individual. Individuals in this mind state keep acting as if the change has not happened, using old practices and processes and ignoring evidence or information contrary to their belief systems. It can be seen from the transition curve that it is important for an individual to understand the impact that the change will have on their own personal Reality; and for them to be able to work through the implications for their self perception. Any change, no matter how small, has the potential to impact on an individual and may generate conflict between existing values and beliefs and anticipated altered ones. One danger for the individual, team and organisation occurs when an individual persists in operating a set of practices that have been consistently shown to fail (or result in an undesirable consequence) in the past and that do not help extend and elaborate their world-view. Another danger area is that of denial where people maintain operating as they always have denying that there is any change at all. Both of these can have detrimental impact on an organisation trying to change the culture and focus of its people.


This is the awareness that events lie outside one's range of understanding or control. The future and how this will look, feel, etc sits outside the individual's Reality where it seems impossible to adequately picture the future. The individual's perception is not to have enough information to allow them to anticipate behaving in a different way within the new organisation. They are unsure how to adequately construe acting in the new work and social situations.

Happiness - but beware!

The awareness that one's viewpoint is recognised and shared by others. 
The impact of this is two-fold. 
  1. At the basic level there is a feeling of relief that something is going to change, and not continue as before. Whether the past is perceived positively or negatively, there is still a feeling of anticipation, and possibly excitement, at the prospect of improvement. 
  2. On another level, the individual has the satisfaction of knowing that some of their thoughts about the old system were correct (generally no matter how well one likes the status quo, there is something that is unsatisfactory about it) and that something is going to be done about it. In this phase individuals generally expect the best and anticipate a bright future, projecting their own Reality onto the change and seeing success as the Outcome. One of the dangers is that to perceive more from the change, or believe more will occur from the change than is actually the case. The organisation needs to manage this to ensure unrealistic expectations are correctly installed as Well-Formed Outcomes and redefined in the organisation's terms, without alienating the individual.  
To Conclude Then.
There is so much more to behaviour and what drives it than many realise - in my experience. In my 25+ year career, I have seen many situations that have been avoidable, were the people dynamics taken seriously and the people intelligence gathering given adequate support and importance above more traditional priorities and focuses. During this time I have seen the evolution of the Internet and the change through it for organisations - rapidly. Linked to the automated and real-time activity through the Internet comes technology and management tools, e.g. technology to monitor and model customer behaviour. This was driven and lead by the Supermarkets and Retailers who wanted insight and trends so as to drive growth and customer experience. Today, they can tell you so much about your shopping behaviour and how they can manipulate such behaviour through habits and deploying specific rationale, that it is quite frightening!

I hope, having ploughed your way through this Blog post, that you see the value of behavioural research and it's inclusion into mainstream management thinking will create significant advantage, capability and flexibility- like market research for business modelling/strategy. This is not a dark art, simply an adoption of proven methods - going back some 37 years worldwide - to elicit real insight to help everyone create, install and maintain a working world that we can all understand and live within.

Next time I will be covering the types of environment that I see require this insight and how they would benefit, with later posts that will include tasters of how to begin to create powerful change through people, that aligns with individual needs and Reality, as well as those of the organisation they work within.  

Feel free to contact me with feedback, post it on here and perhaps Subscribe for more future postings direct to your inbox!

Thanks and until next time.... Jay

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Business Stability - Find out grass-root thinking!

I read with great interest this week an article in HR Magazine http://t.co/a7GCAYE , which reviews the feedback from a survey of almost 4,000 employees in larger companies in 14 countries, including the US, UK, Germany and China. The report examines employee attitudes to their jobs and employers, in areas such as loyalty, job satisfaction, workplace pride, training opportunities and salary perceptions. Employers spend significant time and money in recruiting and training employees, and in retaining experienced staff - yet the survey shows they need to work harder to understand these individuals' career expectations.

 Respondents cited a lack of opportunities to use their skills as reasons not to commit long-term to an employer, also four out of five employees felt that their skills were not fully utilised, while almost half reported that their performance appraisal process was of little or no value. Not a very glowing review in relation to the millions invested trying to engage employees and retain them.

Although this article is talking about employee migration within 5-years, I took the view that there is a bigger message and it is a message that concurs with my own view, in that organisations - big and small - need to accept engagement and get to know what is really going on at grass-roots in terms of employee personal workplace perspective. My own research shows that organisations make the mistake of assuming that existing engagement and communication mechanisms and strategies are delivering correct feedback. The climate all organisations are operating within these days is demanding, fickle and fast moving. I find that employees are actually a reflection of this world, in that they think the same way as customers/clients - they want certain things from work, they build "views" of life based upon their workplace experience and above all, it is hard to change these views. It is my experience that like customers/clients, unless you give them chance to really tell you what they think/feel, you will never know and will suffer from this ignorance!

I have moved within many organisations small and large, where they operate under the assumption that traditional generic motivational practices will maintain employee harmony and they rely upon line management to handle the face to face aspect. Wherever I go, I always ask the same question of all supervisors, managers, directors that I meet - "How often have you noticed that what people say and what they actually do are different?" The answer I get is often guarded or text-book and often I elicit a mixture dis-belief and acceptance when I tell them that in my experience it is usually because they haven’t had their needs fully understood, and haven’t been engaged with at the right level with regards to their internal values and beliefs while at work.

Any employee (at any level) goes to work for a reason, once there they operate according to their own built-up internal "filters" (filters are developed based upon experiences, values, fears, anxieties, etc) and it is these filters that actually determine how effective employees feel; how valued am I, how secure do I feel, how motivated do I feel, etc. To ensure I get people to "visualise" and "feel" what I mean, I always encourage people to think back to their first day at their present employer. Once they do this, we can really discuss the above statements about employee filters in the context of a person being back when they were new to the organisation, with no prior history of events, feelings, relationships, politics. We can honestly discuss what it was that determined how they feel today, what filters are now in place that make them think as they do - compared to before. Only then, having examined it personally, can the wider employee persepctive be looked at. With all the barriers and pretence removed, I get to talk about the impact the wider employees actually have on their surroundings and the organisation driven from how they too might feel, their expectations and what may have happened to them so as to create current behaviour and view points (individually of course). For many, this kind of insight - at grass-roots - is a revelation and does change future; decisions, thinking and one-to-one interactions. Further more, work can begin to elicit information from employees and begin to model behaviour, in order to work to change it - as a team.

For business leaders I meet, who rely day-by-day on down-the-line operational results, being in tune with the reality on the ground is something that can become a major advantage in terms of their strategy, policies, communications, etc.  How many "back to the shop floor" type documentaries have evolved due to the elation felt by organisations who are suddenly "enlightened" to know what is really going on in the minds of employees? I applaud this corporate interest and continue to preach that more behaviour insight across a wider geography is now needed so as to address people issues, migration and operational performance. My advice to anyone reading this is and trying to determine a view, is firstly:
  • Think back to when you started your current employment. Remember how you felt, what you saw initially and what your hopes were (see it in your mind's eye and feel it in your gut).
  • Think through the changes in how you felt then, compared to today - what has changed, what made it change?
  • Ask yourself honestly, does this before and after analysis now impact you in terms of how you work, could work, should work?
People dynamics (good and bad) significantly impact upon organisations. As the HR Magazine article highlights, to fail in grasping the true feelings and insight from employees (at all levels) means that there is a constant under-current and mis-match of expectation on both sides. The loser - ultimately - is the organisation through operational performance, continuity, results, service and even the culture.

Being the first Blog release for Baninel, it is right for me to explain that the whole purpose of producing Blogs is to open-up a line of thinking and discussion, in terms of what drives behaviour and the outcomes of behaviour on organisations and other people. This actually does applies to all walks of life and impacts upon us all each day. Before doing what I do today, I used to get frustrated and angry with what was going on around me and the "inconsistency" of people which seemed to always impacted back on myself. Back then I failed to understand why situations and behaviour ocurred around me and worried endlessly that things just plodded along "hopefully" towards targets, goals, etc in the hands of people around me. Now I enjoy a greater clarity of understanding behaviour and people dynamics, where I am better able to interpret goings on and "see through" the words and actions people produce. My aim now is to share this insight and help people explore it themselves and see the results.

Thank you for reading my words, feel free to respond - I am not precious and everyone has a view that should be shared. If you like this blog article, please subscribe and/or follow the links for more like it.

Until next week...... 

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