I have been working on the PRANA method for a while now. The PRANA method is meant to give systems, organizations, and people a way to think differently about performance and begin to look at their overall health.
Over my years of experience in walking into stressful situations I realized there was a need to look at things more holistically. KPI’s can tell you about performance, but performance is not an indicator of health in an organization. When I worked for one of the largest corporations in the world I noticed that all the top performers met their KPI’s, but they were also burning out, ending up in rehabs, or worse. We can look at the sports world and see people winning and performing, but they are anything but healthy. Lance Armstrong was winning, but participating in very unhealthy behaviors. As leaders and humans we must go deeper than KPI’s. While the KPI’s give us interesting information about the current performance or performance trend of a system, they are not the best predictors of the health of a system. The PRANA method attempts to dig deeper and inspect the health of systems. We must look at all outcomes, not just performance.
If we think of a company or any other system within the company as a living organism with a nervous system it allows us to look at things differently and begin asking meaningful questions. For example, ‘is the collective nervous system dysregulated?’ . I have been in environments where the CEO of a company has difficulty regulating his or her nervous system and the effects on the entire company are shocking. We see the same dynamic in families where parents are dysregulated and the children respond in kind. The most important thing a leadership team can do is to stay regulated and calm passing that energy down through the entire organization.
Your business has a central nervous system. When leadership dysregulated, everything is dysregulated and your teams cannot perform their best work.
- Treating everything as if it is a crisis
- exhibiting emotions too intense for a situation
- difficulty calming down when upset
- difficulty decreasing negative emotions
- being less able to calm themselves
- difficulty understanding emotional experiences
- becoming avoidant or aggressive when dealing with negative emotions
- experiencing more negative emotions
When we examine the CHI (Life-Force) of the company and all of it’s energy centers (departments), we may find that there are areas of dysregulation and concern. I have put together the PRANA Method as a tool to start aligning the energy centers and regulate the organization, systems, and teams.
Stop and step away from the situation. If we think of this in terms of your physical body, if you were dysregulated, your prefrontal cortex would be offline and you would be in fight or flight. Your executive functioning and reasoning skills are offline. Imagine this same scenario occurring within the nervous system of your organization. Take the time to address the unhealthy behavior with your teams. Have leaders take ownership where appropriate and let the teams know that unhealthy behaviors have crept in and that the leadership team cares about the health and well being of everyone and they are committed to resolving the issues and regulating the collective nervous system of the company.
Reset the collective nervous system to bring the ‘prefrontal cortex’ back online (regulate your teams by taking ownership). Reset expectations – for example ‘I know we have all been working 80 hours per week. That stops today.’ or ‘I know that the leadership team has been dysregulated and has come down on the teams and placed blame in ways that are not appropriate.’ People don’t want pizza parties. They want authentic, real, and compassionate leaders.
What is needed? What do you need? What do your teams need? What does the system need? What does the organization need? It is a time to be honest and real with the entire organization.
Nurture is required for the entire process to work. When you were a child your parents should have nurtured and cared for you. All systems, organizations, and entities need this same care. How do you nurture your organization? How do you nurture your teams? How do you nurture yourself? How do you nurture your employees? I am convinced the other steps will not work without nurture underpinning the entire system.
What does the CHI of the organization look like? What did we learn from the needs assessment exercise? What have we learned when we think about how we have nurtured the various systems within the organization? How did the system arrive at current state? How do we complete the reset? Move forward with care and nurture the system, applying the appropriate action where needed. Repeat the process as necessary. All systems need constant care and feeding (nurturing). Look for signs of dysregulation often. Make this part of your CHI reporting process. Stop tracking performance and start tracking HEALTH!
This is a work in progress