During 1995-97, Monsanto was undergoing a
to prepare itself for the twenty-first century and become
a life sciences company.
to obtain information from superiors, peers, and subordinates
that can be practically applied to improve interpersonal
relationships in the workplace.
executive was given an in-depth report based on informative (and
anonymous) quotes from several peers, direct reports, managers,
and others on the Monsanto team. The information was augmented
feedback surveys with two personality inventories: the
Sixteen Personality Factors and the
Myers-Briggs Preference Indicator.
to enhance understanding, not just of words, but of the
emotional context of the message.
is more power in listening than in talking, and that they could
become more effective by employing "generous listening": the
ability not only to summarize the content of what is said, but
to understand the fuller emotional content, particularly the
speaker's underlying intention. Generous listening means being
truly interested in what is being said (not just waiting for the
person to finish talking). With generous listening, you gain
stronger relationships and more accurate information.
Consequently, you make fewer mistakes when acting on information
vs. fact, a skill to help people distinguish between facts and
opinions, to help reach "the truth" faster.
Core 32 members were taught to distinguish between facts and
their opinions to avoid the mistake of disguising their personal
judgments as "the truth." The
emotionally intelligent organization gets to the full truth
faster and clears up many arguments by distinguishing between
objective facts and interpretive opinions.
Personas, coping devices used by
everyone, can motivate or erect a defensive posture. Not part of
our authentic selves, personas need to be recognized and
"disabled" through generous listening to avoid spinning into
unproductive emotions such as anger.
Understanding "personas," those universal coping devices, often
rooted in fear, that can take on either a successful or
defensive flavor is the key to a successful behavioral change
program. Successful personas help us prove our value and worth,
whereas defensive personas help us avoid losing out on
something. Although personas help us win approval, accomplish
tasks, and motivate others, they are not a part of our authentic
selves. They are acts. The company's leaders must become aware
of their individual personas ‒ there may be several ‒ and learn
how to convert any negatives into positives.
member of the group was asked to share two of their personas.
The group learned that what a person says can often trigger a
persona. By using generous listening, the mind
does not spin off into an emotional area such as anger, because
it remains focused on what is being said.
Limiting beliefs are formed in times of stress and serve as the
foundation of personas by constricting energy, attitudes, and
Like personas, they need to be recognized and "disabled" from
interfering with relationships.
Limiting beliefs, the foundation for personas, are formulated in
the experiences we have that evoke fear and constrict our
Unrecognized, our limited beliefs will surface as hidden (e.g.,
an executive can be consciously committed to a project yet stall
limiting the project's success).
Personal purpose ‒ how we want to use our gifts and talents to
‒ can make our
soar when it
is part of how we work.
personal purpose and connecting with it by identifying how
we want to
serve others. When people are working in accordance with
their sense of personal life purpose, their
100 % responsibility, a state of "co-creation" with others that
avoids the pitfalls of burden (doing it all yourself) and blame
(having no role).
"Taking responsibility" is a state of co-creation with others,
rather than the view that "it's all up to me" (burden: 200 %
responsibility) or, the other extreme, "ain't it awful" (blame:
0 % responsibility). Taking responsibility 100 % is more than
ownership ‒ it is an act of identity. It means "I fully identify
myself with the actions,
integrity, and results produced
by this group of people. I will act, and react, as if I were the
one taking any of these actions." Becoming 100 % responsible
means looking inside and overcoming any personal barriers to
commitment while calmly and truthfully facing any
reservations without blame or shame. Even when authentic
reservations arise, or slippage in responsibility occurs, there
is a "home base" to come back to for renewal.