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Positive Intelligence: How people and organizations can achieve their potential

Happiness, behavior change, autonomy, purpose…

These words have moved into the everyday business conversation and taken on a life of their own in the last few years. They’ve spawned books and conversations. Yet few offer a systematic way towards better outcomes. And not just that, but also helping us become aware of what might be holding us back.

I think I’ve found a book that adds to the conversation, and fills that void.

I had the opportunity to read Shirzad Chamine’s book Positive Intelligence: Why only 20% of teams and individuals achieve their true potential and how you can achieve yours.

It is a very practical book. Mr. Chamine takes ideas from positive psychology, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and findings from modern neuroscience and packages them into a model that works extremely well from a practical standpoint.

Take the concept of the 9 Saboteurs. These Saboteurs are the internal enemies that hold us back from reaching our true potential. They are a set of automatic and habitual mind patterns, each with its own voice, beliefs, and assumptions that work against your best interest.

Then there’s the “Judge”. The main Saboteur. The one that holds each one of us back. As the name implies, it is our tendency to judge ourselves, others and situations that blocks our more positive attributes of creativity, compassion and open-mindedness.

I will not go over the details of every single Saboteur, but there are two assessments you can take to get a result of what your PQ (Positive Intelligence Quotient) is.

I took the following assessment and it somewhat opened my eyes:

positive intelligence asessmentThe results are right on. Although for years I’ve been fully aware that I’m a Stickler (Perfectionist) and Hyper-Rational (Logic over emotions) and what this means for both my personal and work, looking at all the other Saboteurs really opened my eyes. It’s not that I didn’t know about them, it’s just how dominant they seem. It’s not that any of these are bad (I see benefits in being a perfectionist of course), but it’s learning to know when to tone it down.

There are books such as The Happiness Advantage, The Progress Principle, Emotional Equations, Drive and others that touch upon the concept of happiness. The concept of helping you and your organization reach your full potential.

What is different about this book is that it is very pragmatic in helping identify your minds enemies. The Saboteurs. And then giving you a pragmatic way to avoid them. How? All it takes is 10 seconds, and is as simple as becoming aware of them when they are acting up, and understanding that it’s them and not you.

Mr. Chamine’s goal is to help you improve the percentage of your time your mind acts as your friend, rather than as your enemy. And he goes about it in a very pragmatic way.

I highly recommend you read his book. I’m going to share these insights with both my team and clients. I think it’s that important.

Closing thoughts

The Future of Work is very different from 10 and 20 years ago. The Future of Work requires us to collaborate more, on a grander scale. The Future of Work requires all of us to be creators, not just executors. The Future of Work requires all of us to understand that what makes an organization last is not its business model, but the hearts and minds of its people.

Put simply: If we are to create organizations that create change and last, the hearts and minds of its people need to be clear. They need to be happy. They need to be full of purpose. And understanding and becoming aware of the enemies

You can follow Mr. Chamine on Twitter, and make sure you take the assessments. It will take you 5 minutes to get some insights into your current state of mind.

Shirzad Chamine is the Chairman of CTI, the world’s largest coach training org. C-Suite advisor to hundreds of CEO’s.  Lecture at Stanford.

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