The Primacy Of Feelings

I think the whole business of organizational behavior and leadership development still suffers from the long shadows of rationalism. Rationalists argue that reason and logic should be and are the basis for human behavior, choices and interactions. This epistemology invalidates feelings as legitimate signals or guides to how we interact. This is not my experience talking with people, even the most disciplined and intentional. The feelings behind their actions are clearly significant. People act from feelings all the time. Not all their feelings, but always from some kind of feelings. Feelings of care or apathy, love or fear, greed or gratitude.

This being the case, we would take a different approach to how we think about things like innovation, collaboration and strategy in organizations. We would undertand that culture is key to both, that when you get the culture right, good innovation, collaboration and strategies follow. Culture is how people feel. Growing culture starts with emotional literacy, undertanding what makes people feel good. Culture advances when we design the organization for people to feel good about themselves, each other and their work.