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  • Writer's pictureAlan Sieler

Why Moods Matter in Business

By Alan Sieler

Earlier this year I had the privilege of a one-day day engagement with the executive team of a retail company with operations throughout South Africa. Two of the team had attended an Ontological Coaching in Action workshop and they were both inspired not only by the coaching methodology but also by the practical relevance of ontology to business improvement. In consultation with the CEO and the HRD Director a program was designed to address the key issues the executive team was facing in leading the company.

The themes of conversations, coordination and commitments as being central to business operations and business improvement were covered, part of which included the centrality of moods in the way people perceive, think, communicate and behave.

One of the follow-up actions from the CEO was the publication of an article on moods in the company’s monthly E-zine. It was very encouraging to see how she had fully grasped the relevance of moods to the running of the company and how eloquently she expressed this in her article, which she has generously provided permission to publish in this issue of Observing Differently.

Choosing our Mood Board

Most of you will be reading this after the long Easter weekend break. I trust you had a wonderful rest and are energized and in the mood to tackle the home straight of the financial year. And what a home straight it is going to be! As our business has evolved, and because of trends in both the Legal and Training markets, this year a higher than usual percentage of our turnover is expected in the last quarter which means that there will be a disproportionate level of pressure in the coming months. How we respond to that pressure as individuals, as teams, and as a company as a whole will be instrumental in determining our level of success. Interestingly, how we engage with such pressure is often determined by the mood we find ourselves in. The executive team was recently privileged to spend time with world renowned ontological coach and author, Alan Sieler, who gave us some wonderful insights into moods, where they come from and how we might shift them, and I thought it useful to share these with you all in anticipation of the challenges we will face in this final quarter.

According to Alan, essentially, in life and in work we may be confronted with a variety of situations which we may assess in 3 ways: i) Those things we can’tinfluence or change, ii) those we believe we can influence or change, and iii) those about which we are uncertain. It is our acceptance or rejection of these views of our circumstances that will determine the moods we find ourselves in.

Let me explain: where we oppose those things we cannot change, our mood becomes one of resentment, but if we accept those things we cannot change it leads to peace and frees us emotionally to engage with the reality of “Possibility” and those things we are able to change. Again, here, if we oppose Possibility, it will lead to a mood of resignation and inaction, whereas if we embrace Possibility, it leads to ambition and drive to bring about the change we hope to see. Likewise if we cannot accept the Uncertainty we face, we will become consumed by anxiety whereas accepting Uncertainty opens us up to a mood of wonder, possibility and curiosity. This is probably best illustrated in this table below:

What is interesting to me is that not only do we as individuals experience moods in this way, but groups can experience these moods in the same way, whether as a family, a team, or even the company as a whole. Clearly we want to approach the situations we are faced with acceptance: be at peace, driven to make possibilities happen while looking at uncertainty with a sense of wonder and curiosity.

I was therefore so encouraged that, at our recent Strategic planning offsite with all of senior management team the overriding moods seemed to be acceptance, wonder and ambition as we engaged with the future direction of the company. If as a company we can continue to engage in this way we are well positioned to succeed in this challenging final quarter. Very best of luck and keep monitoring those moods!

A detailed coverage of the moods model and its application in both personal and professional coaching can be found in Alan Sieler’s Coaching to the Human Soul – Ontological Coaching and Deep Change Volume II: Emotional Learning and Ontological Coaching

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