It is no coincidence that high-performing organisations see great value in not only acquiring top talent but also investing in developing them. However, too many leaders make the critical error of hiring top talent but then leaving them to find their own way to fit into the team and essentially fend for themselves. This often leads to an organisation consisting of several highly talented individuals rather than a high-performing, cohesive and effective team. In an age where the job market and economy are turbulent, it is crucial to gain a deeper understanding of what drives the culture of a team so that we can lead our organisations to thrive.
Ashkan Tashvir on what drives the success and failure of individuals, teams and organisations
It is in this area that technologist, parallel entrepreneur, investor and philosopher, Askhan Tashvir, spent more than a decade working with and studying entrepreneurs, startups, leaders and investors, including many exceptionally high achievers, to discover the behavioural patterns and qualities that determine success or failure of individuals, teams and organisations.
He found that it’s not due to a lack of capital, technology or the right techniques or strategies; it’s because of who and how they are BEING, the underlying qualities that influence their decisions and drive their behaviours and actions.
These deeper qualities largely influence your decisions and choices and drive your behaviours, which ultimately determine how fulfilled and accomplished you are going to become as an individual, a family or an organisation. He calls these qualities Aspects of Being, and he distinguishes thirty-one of them in his body of work called the Being Framework. The work is quite radical in that it goes against the grain of quick-fix methods, and encourages leaders and team members to go deeper, look at themselves and see how they can contribute to a thriving team or organisation.
How can the Being Framework make a difference in understanding the way we build, maintain or transform the culture within our teams and organisations? Let’s explore this as well as how the Framework differs from common approaches out there today,
Individuals are at the centre of organisational effectiveness
Ashkan brings attention to the simple fact that a very effective team consists of a number of individuals working together effectively.
He says that because of this, it is logical to conclude that the integrity and effectiveness of each individual contribute to the integrity and effectiveness of the entire team. It only takes a lack of integrity and effectiveness in one person for the whole team to suffer, which can have severe ramifications for the organisation. In addition, sustained performance and effectiveness rely on the ongoing transformation of the business. To thrive as an organisation over the long term, business transformation is critical. Without it, the organisation will be stuck in past-based business models or modes of operation, and can even face potential collapse. While broader business and organisational transformation is desired, our experience and studies have shown that this kind of transformation starts with individual and personal transformation.
While fulfilling an organisation’s mission through effectiveness and performance is the primary objective for organisational leaders, more and more are realising that the well-being of individuals and the establishment and nurturing of a thriving culture are integral to achieving this overarching objective, and they are doing something about it.
The value of integrity to an organisation
Ashkan emphasises that the most significant barrier to the success of any organisation lies in the integrity of its people. Integrity is not referred to in its common use but to its transcendent and transhistorical meaning of wholeness or completeness.
You may also understand it as the outcome of having a healthy relationship with a host of deep, underlying qualities intrinsic to all human beings. When the collective integrity of individuals is ignored in an organisation, a range of symptoms can be found, from presenteeism and high rates of employee turnover to a lack of employee engagement, gossip, toxic behaviour and office politics. While there are quick fixes to all of these problems, including costly hiring and firing practices to replace people and performance review processes, such methods alone are unsustainable. Instead, by encouraging and guiding individuals to work on their deeper qualities through a structured process of awareness, practice and transformation, they can be supported to restore or strengthen their integrity and effectiveness, which ultimately contributes to the integrity and effectiveness of the entire organisation along with their ability to undergo broader business transformation. This is beyond just self-improvement. Any leader should not avert their gaze from the fact that the company’s bottom line is closely linked to the performance of each one of their people.
Limitations of Existing Approaches
There are various existing approaches when it comes to knowing and understanding human beings. Let us now explore how other common approaches deal with understanding human beings and their role in organisational performance and effectiveness.
The limitations of the personality approach
Personality Type Theory is one example that categorises people into different personality types. This approach treats human beings as fixed objects doomed to be dealing with how they currently are, including their ‘shortcomings’, for life. Some ‘experts’ in the field even suggest that we should learn to ‘deal with’ our dysfunctional sides rather than go through a process of transformation. The point is that we are not fixed objects hardwired to be how we currently are forever. This is not a personal opinion. As human beings, we are capable of and do transform.People transform their health, body shape, wealth, fitness, skills, etc., and organisations are capable of doing the same with their people on a collective scale.
The limitations of the behaviourist approach
Behaviourism is another approach favoured by many. Behaviourists primarily focus on individual behaviours, or at best behavioural patterns and habits. The issue with Behaviourism is that it ignores what actually drives our behaviours. Instead, this approach encourages us to correct individual dysfunctional behaviours, patterns and habits at best and prepare our environment to be conducive to this. Furthermore, this approach begs the question: who defines which behaviours are acceptable and which are not? Correcting individual behaviours is like watering every leaf of a tree. It simply doesn’t work, particularly in the long run; this fact has been scientifically proven.
The limitations of the motivational and self-help approach
Sitting on the extreme end of the spectrum are the so-called ‘gurus’ and some motivational speakers who believe living a fulfilling life hinges on positive thinking, encouraging their audience to adopt a romantic view of the world and see life through rose coloured glasses. In their opinion, everything is mutable, and human beings can live purely on the basis of how they define themselves, which is their choice. To think that all you need to do is think positively for opportunities to line up and land in your lap is not only delusional, but it can also lead to suffering and dysfunctionality.
The limitations of an extensively subjective approach
Then there’s the Postmodern view which declares that the subjectivity of human beings makes us virtually unstudiable from an objective standpoint. This has been reiterated by many renowned thinkers, from Nietzsche and Sartre to Derrida and Foucault. While there is value in some of their views and arguments, human beings share many qualities that can be both studied and measured.
What drives our behaviours and actions?
The approaches touched on are not entirely devoid of merit, Ashkan states. In fact, they each contribute to bringing a perspective that, combined, may lead us to shape a more congruent and comprehensive conception of these matters. Yet, Ashkan identifies a gap in that, beneath all of these differences on the surface, there are core commonalities shared between all human beings. When we focus on these commonalities and similarities, which can often be missed, we can see that all human beings share the potential to transform.
This is the main aspect that is missed by the approaches mentioned. That’s primarily because, while these approaches and many other disciplines of mainstream modern psychology focus on fixing or refining individual behaviours or, at best, behavioural and cognitive patterns, they ignore the deeper, more subtle, yet far more important parts of us that drive our behaviours. That is where the focus on a person’s Being is key. The Being Framework provides an ontological (“let’s get real”) approach to becoming aware of and building a healthy relationship with these underlying qualities of Being that influence our decisions, behaviours and actions.
When you have a relatively polished Being and are committed to maintaining its integrity, effective behaviour unfolds, which ultimately leads to your fulfilment. Multiply this on a collective scale, and the benefits will be apparent on a larger scale. Where correcting behaviour is like watering the leaves of a tree, transforming Aspects of Being is like watering and nurturing the entire tree from the roots up while simultaneously acknowledging that the branches and leaves will require pruning at times.
- Building a healthy organisational culture is more than a gathering of highly talented individuals
- An organisation’s performance rests on its integrity – where each of its sub-components is operating optimally
- An organisation’s integrity rests upon the integrity of the individuals within that organisation
- For an individual, their integrity goes deeper than the personality, behaviourist and motivational approaches
- An individual’s integrity is constituted by the health of their relationships with their qualities of Being
- Any individual can transform their ‘Aspects of Being’ and thus contribute to the effectiveness and performance of the organisation
Since creating the Being Framework, Ashkan Tashvir has written two books, BEING, an over 640-page critically-acclaimed, best-selling body of work, and his latest over 340-page book, HUMAN BEING – illuminating the reality beneath the facade. Launched to a global online audience on July 28, 2022, HUMAN BEING surged to become an Amazon Australia best-seller in the categories of Business Leadership, Applied Psychology and Popular Applied Psychology within days, placing Tashvir’s name alongside renowned authors like Ken Wilbur, Gabor Maté, Jordan Peterson and Steven Pinker. Today many leadership, performance and executive coaches from around the world are trained Being Framework practitioners, and this number is rapidly growing as word of the framework’s tangible benefits spreads.