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Harmonic Learning is a company with a purpose... Creating More Harmony In The World Through Learning. Our Harmonic Work-Styles Model, assessments, and learning programs provide individuals and organizations with a path to strengthen communication, increase interpersonal awareness, and heighten leadership skills.

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Pondering's

This is the blog of Brian L. French where you'll find pondering's about the Harmonic Learning programs.

Harmonic Teaming - The 6-String Team

Brian Lowell French

A Team is Like a Guitar

Teamwork is defined as “cooperative work done by a team” (thanks Wordnet). It's much like playing a guitar. If only one string is played, it isn't really considered music. It's not until all of the strings are played in a way that creates a chord that it's considered pleasing. In the workplace, when all of the team-members are working in accord, it creates a pleasing workplace where great results will occur.

In this video I explain this concept.

Reasons and Excuses

Too often, teams don’t function well enough to cooperate, and too often the work does not get done. At least not as well as it could, and probably should be done.

So, the question is why? Some sadly common reasons are:

  • Bickering
  • Backstabbing
  • Lack of motivation
  • Miscommunication
  • Lack of commitment
  • Unfair internal competition
  • Lack of trust and understanding

But these truths are rarely stated. Instead people say things like:

  • There was not enough time
  • There were not enough resources
  • The client kept changing the scope
  • The stakeholder’s expectations were unrealistic
  • The other team involved didn’t come through in time
  • My dog ate the project plan (OK, maybe not this one…)

Excuses like these are heard everyday, on teams around the world, and are sent up the management chain to justify inadequate teamwork.

Could these statements be justified in many cases? Sure, but too often the realities of why the work suffered actually come down to one simple issue - the team is not operating as well as it could, and probably should be functioning.

Cost of Team Dysfunction

Team dysfunction is rampant in the modern workplace, and the negative results of this dysfunction show up in some key areas of business:

  • Productivity loss
  • Motivation decrease
  • Employee Disengagement
  • Employee Churn and Attrition
  • Bottom-line Income Statement Loss

New research seems to come out every few months with numbers that support these conclusions. Many reports state that the level of Employee Engagement is in the low 30% range (as it has been for many years in the Gallup "State of the American Workplace" report), and others claim that the number of employees actively seeking other positions is way over 50%. So, consider that the majority of your team could be unhappy and doesn't want to be there (even if they appear to be, they may be acting... and the Oscar for "Best Employee Pretending to be Happy" goes to...). Yikes!

Build a Harmonic Team

The key to negating these issues is to build a better team... to build a Harmonic Team. A Harmonic Team is one that’s filled with:

  • Happiness
  • Engagement
  • Productivity
  • Dedication
  • Motivation
  • Teamwork
  • Trust

Harmonic Learning is dedicated to creating more harmony in the workplace.

A Harmonic Workplace is one where all team-members feel equally valued and involved, equally motivated to do their best, and equally cared for by their manager and fellow-team-members. Imagine going to work in that kind of environment everyday… we all deserve to.

"Teaming" as a Verb

This can be accomplished with improved communication, leadership and teaming. We use the word "Teaming" as a verb (it's not in the dictionary... yet... but just wait), because it takes dedicated action by all of the team-members to create and sustain a strong team.

Learn how to begin creating a harmonic workplace by signing up for our instructional courses. And if you’re a team-leader, contact us about the Harmonic Teaming Program, where your team will take assessments and receive an instructional program designed specifically for increasing your Harmonic Teaming Index Level.

The Harmonic Teaming Index Level is your gauge of where your team is currently at, and provides the path on how to increase your level of harmony.

Chord = Accord

Just as a guitar being strummed in a way that all the strings resonate to create a pleasing chord, a team can resonate in a way where all the members are in accord. This is the key to creating a Harmonic Workplace.

Harmonic Leadership - Like a Conductor of an Orchestra

Brian Lowell French

A conductor of an orchestra has an extremely important role. To the uneducated, it may appear that the conductor is just wildly waving their arms and getting worked up into a lather (frankly, even to the educated sometimes it appears that way :-), but the conductor fulfills a great purpose, with deep meaning.

Besides the obvious task of keeping the orchestra in-sync, the conductor is also responsible for the ‘feeling’ of the music. Music without feeling is simply mathematics. Music with feeling touches the soul, creating a oneness between the conductor, the musicians, and the audience.

Without a great conductor, this positive feeling of the music would not be possible. Without a great leader in the workplace, a positive workplace would not be possible.

In this video, I explain how these roles are similar.

The importance of the conductor’s role is equal to the importance of a leader’s role. Without the leader, the team would be out of sync, and the ‘feeling’ of the workplace could not be established.

We don’t often consider the ‘feeling’ of the workplace, but we should, for it is what provides the engagement of the employee. A positive feeling brings a positively engaged employee, but a negative feeling causes a disengaged employee.

There are many ideas and theories on how to create and maintain engagement, but the sad fact is that for most workplaces, it’s not working. There are many reports that state engagement levels being at a low average of around 30% (based on surveys of many types of employees from many types of business). Surveys also suggest that a key reason for low engagement is a result of the direct manager of the employee.

So, how can we keep from being part of the problem, and instead be the solution to higher engagement within our teams? It’s actually pretty simple… by creating a positive workplace through what I call ‘Harmonic Leadership.’

A Harmonic Leader is one who truly understands, motivates, and inspires others, leading to a positively pleasing workplace, resulting in increased employee engagement.

Anyone, at any level in an organization, can be a great leader by developing their Harmonic Leadership Capabilities, as seen in our Capability Model.

 See the full model, with behaviors and developmental actions, within the Harmonic Leadership Course.

See the full model, with behaviors and developmental actions, within the Harmonic Leadership Course.

Within our Harmonic Leadership course, you will learn how to fully develop this set of capabilities (the detailed view of the capabilities model contains measurable behaviors and associated developmental actions). You will first discover your innate leadership style, and how to utilize your style to best lead others. The Harmonic Coaching model will be your tool for working closely with your team-members to ensure they’re positively engaged, motivated, and dedicated to the team’s success. The ACCORD Coaching Conversation model will guide you through both supportive and corrective conversations with your team-members. And the other tools and information will provide you with everything you need to lead in a positive way.

You can create a positive feeling in your workplace… just pick up your leadership ‘baton’ and lead others to higher engagement.

Harmonic Communication - Creating Positive 'Music'

Brian Lowell French

Creating Positive Music

When we hear music that's pleasing, it gives us a positive feeling inside. When we hear music that's not pleasing, it gives us a negative feeling inside. Simple... right?  

Communication works in much the same way. People naturally feel good about communication that's pleasing and positive, but they don't feel good when the communication is negative.

In this video, I explain this a bit more.

 

Different Styles for Different Folks

Just as we all have different musical tastes, we have different communication tastes. When we "play" our "song" of communication, we generally deliver it in our preferred style. And when we receive communication, we want to receive it in our preferred style.

This works fine when two people share the same style. It's like riding in a car together and the driver cranks up the Heavy Metal rock radio station that both of you like. There's an automatic connection to the music, and to each other. But what if you like Country music instead. With the driver playing Metal, you will not enjoy the car trip, and there will be an awkwardness develop within the relationship. The next time there's a need to take another road trip with that person, you will likely have a sense of dread, "Oh no... not another trip where Metal is forced on me. Maybe I can bring earbuds and listen to Country." This simple difference in preferences can create a negative relationship.  

Center Point of Empathy

So, within our workplace communication what can we do to prevent this? We can be empathetic to the needs of the other person. I call it, "Communicating from the Center Point of Empathy." Our Harmonic Relation Model details six types of people who each have a distinct Communication Preference.

The model, seen below, is displayed as triangles surrounding a center point to make a wheel (the curved text above each triangle is that type's communication preference). Communicating from the Center Point of Empathy is simply imagining yourself in the center of the wheel, and taking a step into the triangle of the type of person you're communicating with and using a bit of their style.

 See the full Harmonic Relation Model within any of our instructional programs.

See the full Harmonic Relation Model within any of our instructional programs.

If you are a Speaker type of person, whose Communication Preference is to Speak Forthrightly, and you're communicating with an Observer type, whose preference is to Internalize Thoughts, you can learn to soften your message a bit and invite the Observer to take some time to think about it and then get back with you (using their preferred style instead of your natural instinct of wanting to strongly state your case and expecting a quick resolution).

It's just like being the driver of that car and recognizing that the passenger is not enjoying the Metal music. Instead of continuing to force it upon the passenger, you could offer to change the station to Country. This simple act of empathy will build a much stronger relationship.

Harmonic Communication

Discover your preferred communication style in the Harmonic Communication course. Do you convey feelings or ideas? Do you externalize thoughts or internalize thoughts? Do you speak forthrightly, or politely? These are signs of your communication preference; how you most naturally communicate with others in a positive way.

We each have opportunities, everyday, to create better relationships in the workplace through positive communication. As explained in the video, we can all work to overcome the frenetic, negative communication. Our Harmonic Communication course provides the information and tools to accomplish this, leading to greater individual and team success.

I invite you to begin your Harmonic Learning journey... today.

Harmonic Relation Model

Brian Lowell French

Hi Folks,

I'm Brian L. French, with Harmonic Learning, and I'm here to tell you about the Harmonic Relation Model, an exciting new model that describes our Work-Style preferences in how we can best communicate, lead and team with others.

The model provides a close-up mirror that allows us to see ourselves more clearly. Though close-up mirrors can be a bit scary (especially for old goomers like me who have plenty of scars and wrinkles), it's a good thing for us to see the good, as well as the not-so-good stuff in us, because that's the only way that we can develop and improve.

We call it a Work-Style 'Relational Model' because it allows us to see the relation between different people as we communicate and interrelate with one another in the workplace. It also indicates our Leadership style, as well as how we prefer to work together on a team. It's akin to a behavioral assessment in that the model does show behaviors that are typically exhibited by a given type when interacting and communicating with others.

Let's break it down a bit. You'll see in the simple view of the model provided below, that there are six Harmonic Relation Work-Style Types. The name of the type serves as the main description of that type's preferences when interrelating and communicating with others. It also describes that type's innate leadership style.

  • Engagers engage with others and communicate through conveying emotions.
  • Encouragers encourage others, and communicate by externalizing thoughts.
  • Speakers speak to others, and communicate by speaking forthrightly.
  • Doers do things for others, and communicate by conveying ideas.
  • Observers observe others, and communicate by internalizing thoughts.
  • Helpers help others, and communicate by speaking politely.
 See the full view of the model within our learning programs.

See the full view of the model within our learning programs.

Note that the full version of the model is found within each of our Harmonic Work-Style based courses. The full model includes a list of eight behaviors for each of the types - behaviors that are commonly displayed as that type interacts with others in the workplace.

Now, here's where the model gets interesting (and where the close-up mirror gets even closer). There are two sides to the model. The Positive-Traits side lists the communication preferences and supporting behaviors that a given type shows when in a good and positive mood. But the flip-side displays the Negative-Traits; the communication challenges and detracting behaviors that a given type shows when in a bad and negative mood.

This delineation between the Positive-Traits and the Negative-Traits is what sets the Harmonic Relation Model apart, and what makes it an extremely powerful tool in learning how to better lead, interrelate, and communicate with others.

It is also, frankly, what can make it a bit scary, because most of us do not want to look in that close-up mirror. Most of us do not want to have to admit that some of the things we do are viewed by others as negative. And most of us do not want to have to try to change from the way we've always lived and worked (being stuck in the mud might feel good... mud is supposed to be good for our pores, right?).

It's completely understandable to feel trepidation, and to want to hesitate from taking the assessment and seeing the close-up reflection that it will provide. But the potential benefit far outweighs the possible uncomfortable feeling.

It might help to know that we provide the learning in a way that is very pragmatic and practical, with a key message being that nobody is perfect... we all display the Negative-Traits at times. And we can work together to help each other live more on the Positive-Traits side. So, we're all in this thing together, and together we can sing with more harmony (and yes, there are a lot of musical metaphors that we use throughout the training, as one might expect based on the name of our company).

We invite you to begin your Harmonic Learning journey by exploring our learning programs to become a stronger communicator, better leader, and fully engaged teammate.

 

It's Official - We're Formally Launched on 2-22

Brian Lowell French

Howdy Folks. Well, it's official... we formally launched Harmonic Learning today after months of planning, creating, building, dreaming, worrying, believing, and many other things that have created a fun and interesting ride. Yes, February 22, 2017 is a day that will be remembered far and wide as the day things officially launched (at least by me, and as I travel far and wide I'll be remembering it :-). We appreciate all of you who are starting to explore our programs. It's greatly appreciated.