We want to make life more wonderful for all people in Aotearoa, New Zealand. Our vision is that everybody is thriving from the inside out. That everybody has the opportunity to live a life that is meaningful for them.
We’re working to create a more compassionate culture in Aotearoa. A world where life and work are “win-win-win” — good for you, good for others in your
Why did you create a game about human needs for organisations?
We created the game with multiple outcomes in mind:
- Strengthening system-leadership
- Increasing capabilities for people-centred product, service and policy design
- Increasing individual, team, organisational and national performance
- Improving personal and whānau wellbeing in the workplace and at home
So why human ‘needs’?
Research shows that organisations where people care about the feelings and needs of each other perform better, and are better able to meet the needs of the people they are there to serve.Heartwork
Everyone knows we have physical needs – food, water and shelter etc. But there is equally strong evidence that we have innate psychological needs; we need to feel like we belong; we need to have meaning and purpose; we need to feel like people see us and value us.
Our leaders can have a massive impact on us. And the world is currently facing a global leadership crisis. Based on extensive research, including assessments of more than 35,000 leaders and interviews with 250 C-level executives, “The Mind of the Leader“concludes that organisations and leaders aren’t meeting employees’ basic human needs of finding meaning, purpose, connection, and genuine happiness in their work.
Global research shows that seventy-seven percent of leaders think they do a good job of engaging their people, yet 88 percent of employees say their leaders don’t engage enough. Companies with highly engaged workforces outperform their peers by 147% in earnings per share. There is also a high level of suffering in the workplace: 35 percent of employees would forgo a pay raise to see their leaders fired. This is an enormous waste of human talent–despite the fact that $46 billion is spent each year on leadership development.
Why a card game?
We believe one of the reasons that we’re living in a world where so many people have deep unmet needs such as for meaning and purpose is that we haven’t had an accessible, shared vocabulary to describe our own feelings and needs in a constructive, connective way. In fact, many of us have been educated to use a limited and judgemental vocabulary that prevents us from acknowledging ours and others’ deeper needs. This limited vocabulary can disconnect us from our needs — and if we are disconnected then we can’t find solutions and nor can other people.
The game enables people to acknowledge, accept and articulate a wide range of their own universal feelings and needs. And in doing so it enables empathy with the feelings and needs of others.
We’ve been influenced by the science of gamification and how it supports individual behaviour change and culture change! Having this vocabulary as a physical tool makes it easier to remember and to
Why a “compassion starter culture” ?
To solve the leadership crisis, organisations need to put people at the centre of their strategy.
Using real-world inspirational examples from Marriott, Accenture, McKinsey & Company, LinkedIn, and many more “The Mind of the Leader”, published by the Harvard Business Review, proposes that organisations need to develop people who lead with three core mental qualities: mindfulness, selflessness, and compassion — with compassion being the intention to understand and care for others needs, as well as one’s own.
The idea of a “starter culture” is based on both systems-change theory and also the science of behaviour change.
How does this relate to system-leadership?
Ineffective leaders try to make change happen. System leaders focus on creating the conditions that can produce change and that can eventually cause change to be self-sustaining.Stanford Social Innovation Review
A compassion starter culture is a group that creates its own conditions for change, and so can continue to grow.
How are feelings relevant to this work?
Research shows that our thoughts and feelings are intrinsically connected, and both play a key role in our decision-making. Feelings can also act as gauges for our human needs. To make effective decisions with and on behalf of others we need to grow our awareness of feelings and how they are influencing decisions and
The brain does not
honourthe kind of anachronistic distinction between thought and feeling. Thought and feeling are absolutely intermingled in the brain, and so there are no areas of the brain that are exclusively dedicated to one and not the other. There’s a lot of interconnectivity. When a child, for example, is subjected to adversity, and the adversity gets under the skin, it will impair cognitive function in addition to producing emotional difficulties.
There’s a very famous psychologist who did work on decision making, and he actually got a Nobel prize in economics; his name was Herb Simon. He worked in the 1960s and ’70s, and the way he thought about emotion is that it was an interrupter. It disrupted cognitive function.
We know now that when we think about the really complex decisions in our lives .. we cannot make (them) based on a cold cognitive calculus. We consult our emotions for making those decisions. And if our emotions were disrupted, it will really impair our capacity to make those kinds of decisions. So this has led to the insight that emotions actually play a really key role. They can be both facilitatingDr Richard Davidson — Neuroscientist
ofour behavior and cognitive activity, and they can also be a disrupter. It can go both ways. It’s not one way or the other, but they’re an intimate part of everything that we do.
How does empathy play a role?
It’s so important, really important, and we know that empathy, which is, we think, a necessary prerequisite for kindness and compassion, starts with experiencing in your body the emotions that another person may be experiencing, in order to help take the perspective of another. And also, this is part of self-awareness. Having a bodily representation of this kind of experience enables us to become more familiar with it, and so, we can get back to it.Dr Richard Davidson — Neuroscientist
Why “Sun” and “Moon” feelings?
… Happiness occurs within a process of human flourishing. Inherent in this perspective is the understanding that difficulty, struggles and even emotional and psychological pain and stress are not things to be avoided;
if experienced in the pursuit of growth, challenges and pain can ultimately contribute to a sense of deep meaning and fulfillment. This, in turn, engenders happiness.Forbes: Are You A Deliberately Developmental Leader? Here’s Why You Should Be
Feelings can be helpful to highlight met and unmet needs, and the healthy expression of emotion — “whatumanawa” — is a need of itself.
Research shows that naming feelings is also a powerful way to bring people out of a fight/flight response.
To help people more quickly identify their own and others’ feelings and needs, we split the 100+ feelings into two sets — the “I’m feeling challenged / in pain” set, and the “I’m feeling great” set.
We have found inspiration in the rich natural metaphors and stories of Te Ao Māori. The labels ‘Sun’ — Te Rā — and ‘Moon’ — Te Marama have and continue to work well for a diverse range of players.