We have heard the term "Survival" - and probably know it all too well. Before we go too far astray, I am not referring here to the underground bunkers or the stockpiles of material representing food.
Simply stated, Survival is the "struggle to remain living" (Wiki). Have you ever felt that way at work? "Just trying to get through the day..."
Survival acts as a worldview, or cognitive construct. As such, it has several components; 1. rules and ethics 2. reactions, acceptable emotions, and range of those emotions 3. priorities and values.
All of the elements effectively keep the user focused on the problems that seem to abound in their lives. They seem insidiously and purposely woven to be self- reinforcing and mutually inclusive - if one is true, of course the others are.
Survival Rules and Ethics look like:
- Everything is a competition
- You are never going to win
- You can't stop trying, or you deserve what you get
- You will always be alone
- There is nothing you can to do change the outcomes
- Never blame yourself
What does this have to do with your leadership and your organization's effectiveness?
Stop for a moment and think about the last meeting you had, or the last project you worked on. Was the entire thing is a competition to see who has the best idea about how it wasn't going to work. When someone got frustrated and shut down, did others judge them for being "disengaged" and exclude them from subsequent conversations. I am certain there was nothing you could have done about any of that - clearly, that person had it coming and shouldn't have even been on the team... sound familiar?
So, what if there were another way to do business? If we are listening to the old survival tapes, they will tell us that isn't possible. But, just for a moment, just for sake of argument, what if there were?
Thival can be described as "active participation in our adaptive evolution for full expression".
The Rules and Ethics of Thrival look like this:
- Everything is an opportunity for collaboration
- Never experience loss without learning something valuable
- You have complete control over your participation
- You can fully leverage your connection to others
- You experience what you believe you will
- You are responsible for your reactions
I contend that your ability to move from the intoxicating throws of Survival into the surefooted awareness of Thrival is not only your greatest leadership asset, but is truly your leadership obligation.