Can we develop processes that will lead to more efficient use of emotional energy?
One of the goals of a successful enterprise is to achieve greater “efficiency.” As any aficionado of Toyota Lean thinking will tell you, greater efficiency leads to greater profits. And of course our lives are now filled with emphasis on greater efficiency of energy use.
But while we constantly strive for greater efficiency in both manufacturing processes and our use of the energy that drives our machines, there is an another opportunity for greater productivity through greater energy efficiency that is largely untouched.
Brace yourself for a big idea. It is the efficiency of emotional energy.
When we read reports of employee engagement hovering at 31 percent, we are observing extremely inefficient use of emotional energy. The way people feel about their work has massive impact on quality, productivity, and profits, but the issue has been addressed rather haphazardly, e.g., in books such as Dan Pink’s Drive, the efforts of various inspirational/motivational speakers, and the gurus of emotional intelligence.
These approaches may help, but they lack a truly systematized approach. It is time for emotional energy processes to be analyzed and revolutionized, the same way manufacturing processes were once analyzed and revolutionized by training within industry (TWI) and Toyota.
One might think this is an outlandish idea, but many things once thought to be impossible (electric lights, spaceflight, nuclear fission, and the human genome come to mind) became commonplace once their fundamental elements were understood.
Two premises to ponder:
1) If emotional energy is in fact energy, that means it must have the same properties of all other energy in the universe, e.g., it must travel in waves with specific frequencies.
2) And just as all the millions of colors we can see are all derived from just three primary colors, and thousands of songs are based on just three chords, perhaps all emotional energy is derived from just three primary emotions as well.
If we can codify these energies and learn how to measure and manage them, we could have the same control over emotional energy that we have over electrical energy.
This is not that far-fetched; such work has been going one for centuries. Musicians, advertisers, and political consultants all have their alchemist’s bag of tricks for manipulating emotional energy. There is already more science in it than you might think. What is now the realm of artists will soon be in the realm of engineers.