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Why 2017-10-20T15:45:29+00:00

What guides us at Heliosophy?

Our mission is to use positive work science to help organizations achieve unparalleled performance.

…and by doing so, we and our clients hope to achieve the ultimate ‘nice-to-have’…

Our vision is to unlock the full potential of people, within and across organizations everywhere, to bring about the best of humanity.

More on positive work science…

Positive

We focus on the positive in people and organizations.

Photograph of a hand with thumb and forefinger creating a circle that surrounds the sun.

We’re deeply informed by positive psychology, the study of positive qualities in people and environments that lead to optimal functioning and best of the human condition. Positive psychology is about cultivating things that enable people to flourish and thrive at home, at work, and in communities.

In positive organizations, leaders adopt a positive lens, and build on what works well. They unlock resources within people (e.g., strengths, positive emotions, resilience), and promote virtues in the organization (e.g., compassion, fairness, gratitude).

And it works. This is not vapid idealism. These things are science-based with impacts on organizational performance.

Yes, there are limits to positivity. And yes, we also ‘fix’ problems. But we promote the positive because it dials into what really matters to people, and it’s ultimately more effective than just fixing the negatives.

How positive is your workplace? Find out with the Positive Work Inventory® and the Positive Person Inventory®.

Work

We regard work as central to who we are, where we came from, and where we’re going as a species.

Fifty-five million years ago, a tiny Dryomomys, our earliest-known primate ancestor, reached for a ripening piece of fruit. This simple action – this primitive ‘occupation’ – is a brief window on the evolution of work. With later cooperative hunting, complex tool use, and social living, work became part of our DNA, and our psychological make-up as human beings.

Yet, many people now ‘work to live’. They demand higher pay over other rewards. Studies show that people are slowly withdrawing from work as a source of life meaning.

What happened? Many things, including changes in how we work. Work no longer fulfills fundamental psychological needs for some people. Other people have come to see work – all work – as a necessary evil, with each successive bad job experience.

We help organizations to restore the role of work as a strong source of meaning in people’s lives. When work is meaningful, employees have bigger impacts on their organizations, their customers, and communities. Which brings us to this…

Since people spend more time working than any other waking activity, people in organizations – all organizations – hold the greatest promise for effecting change in society.

Positive change, whether it’s a better cell phone, or the eradication of malaria, is possible only when people organize. That’s every business, government, NGO, and other collective. The work of people, everywhere, no matter what they produce, can be transformed in ways that drive not only extraordinary performance, but also improvements in society by quitting time. Ask us how.

Science

We engage only in science-based consulting with our clients. We view anything less as unethical.

Photograph of a smartphone being used to take a photograph of a busy Times Square.

Science has been the most successful method of understanding and bettering ourselves in the world, as evidenced by nearly every object around us. We’re guided by it in everything we do. No empty fads, hearsay, opinions, or folk wisdom. We stay informed with the best, current evidence from organizational psychology, management studies, human resource management, and other fields.

Why science-based consulting?

Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but not their own facts.

Daniel Patrick Moynihan
As human beings, our judgments and decisions are compromised by hundreds of biases. We’re usually unaware of them, and we often think we’re immune.

In general, we rely too much on personal intuition and experiences when trying to understand the world, including organizations. Consider…

Dozens of studies show that experts are no better at predicting events in their fields than novices. And, the more well-known, media-friendly, and confident they are, the lower their accuracy.
Walk-about’s, focus groups, and causal observations are still used to figure out organizations. Yet, six decades of research show that statistical algorithms are better for understanding and predicting behaviour.
We’re more likely to place faith in information generated by consultants than findings from organizational research. Yet, only decisions based on the latter are linked to profitability.

Are you getting the best behavioural science from your consultants? Check out this article.

Organizational science produces real and useful knowledge about people and organizations. When decisions are not science-based, organizations zig when they should have zagged. Those zigs can be expensive, wasteful, and even harmful.

What is organizational science?

Human beings are complex. Organizations are complex. That’s why a comprehensive snapshot of inputs and outputs is essential for understanding organizations.

Hundreds of studies have shown that wherever we have sufficient information to build a model, it will perform better than most people.

Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow
Why is this critical? For one, we oversimplify things. Human beings are not very good at intuiting what really drives what. For example, managers perform no better than chance when asked to identify employee characteristics that drive performance, based on their opinions.

Valid models of organizational behaviour can help. They’re built on science-based theories. They include multiple drivers, as well as multiple outcomes such as engagement, satisfaction, commitment, well-being, performance, and turnover.

Employee surveys. Performance evaluations. Training and development. They all get a bad rap for not working. However, many of their problems stem from poor measurement.

We sometimes hear that too much rigour is obsessive. Yet, many research examples show that even small changes in measurement tools can lead to drastically different results, and poor decisions. We’re also likely to believe the ‘stories’ that we find in poor data – even random data – because we often see meaningful patterns that aren’t really there (i.e., pareidolia).

We abide by best measurement practices to return reliable and valid findings on people, groups, or financials. This means that your peaks and valleys are real, not flukes or artefacts.

Ask the people at your favourite consulting firm what evidence they have that their advice or techniques actually work – and pay attention to the evidence they offer.

Jeffrey Pfeffer & Robert I. Sutton, Evidence-Based Management
We’ve entered the era of big data and AI data mining. Organizations are collecting hundreds of terabytes on employees, customers, and organizational performance. Thousands of variables with interactions hidden in averages and bar charts. We employ advanced analytics to make sense of all this.

Data can be combined across siloes and mined to suggest new strategies, products and services, and human capital solutions. Complex problems can be diagnosed. Predictive analytics can be used to model the impacts of future actions, and estimate risks and rewards.

We separate the forest from the trees, and signals from the noise, and identify a handful of impactful things to prioritize for action.

DO YOU HAVE A BIG IDEA WE CAN HELP YOU WITH?

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