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Emotional Wildfires

Often, your feelings are identical and/or occurring in synchrony with the emotions of other members of the team. This shared state gives rise to emotional wildfires, where a feeling leaps from person to person, out of control. Moreover, your emotional intensity often aligns with that of others, even when the specific feelings do not. From “Software for your Head” by Jim…


Emotional Diversity

“Obviously, the aggregate emotional information of a team is highly relevant to the team. This relevance applies not only at the time of an emotion, but also throughout the life cycle of that emotion on the team. Any group includes several types of people: emotional leaders, who anticipate others’ feelings with their own; empathic types, who feel what others are…

discharge of emotion

The Effective Discharge of Emotions

Although emotions carry important information for the mature individual and team, they have little or no moral value. The way in which you respond to emotions determines the extent to which you benefit from them. Your responses are part of the habits that determine the value of your experience. Each of the four emotional conditions in The Core’s palette brings…


A Block to Collaborative Intimacy

Oddly, the biggest challenge to collaborative intimacy stems from defenses against the benefit of prolonged and increasing connection. The team crises that arise from this resistance occur early and persist indefinitely. When your emotions erupt, with neither clear intention nor mature self-observation, they function much like a baby’s cry. You demand attention, but, unlike a baby, you lack the legitimacy…

emotional maturity

Emotional Maturity

Maturity is really about the locus of one’s identity. The extent to which you view yourself with increasingly accurate self-observation—in real time—is the degree to which you may claim to be mature. A mature identity considers more of its total experience than a less mature identity. In the emotional domain, this maturity includes the following: Experiencing your feelings Thinking about…

thinking and feeling

Unthinking Action

Being “too emotional” seems implausible, perhaps even impossible. Is “too emotional” an oxymoron? Not Thinking and Feeling simultaneously, so that you cannot benefit from your feelings, is a genuine concern. While you may not be “too emotional,” you may act without cognition. It is also true that you tend to want to act when you feel uncomfortable or observe another’s…


A Larger Disaster in the Future

Sometimes entire organizations are created, maintained, and ultimately wasted in a company so that one executive can avoid confronting another who has failed, or is not performing as desired. When someone visibly fails, everyone who cares to know it, does know it. This statement holds true for those in the hierarchy above and alongside the person who failed. Rather than…


Shielding Others from the Truth

Early prevention is not more efficient than a tardy remedy in the case of emotion. The most common pathological team behavior used to avoid discomfort is called rescue. This term has its own one-eighty incarnation, as (1) no danger exists and (2) the rescue attempt causes more harm than the natural discomfort and any related empathic discomfort, so that (3)…


Discomfort Will Infect Others

One function of emotion is to quickly transmit a large volume of information to your cognitive faculty. Another is to reveal your personal state to others. Your emotions make your state readily visible: Your skin color changes; you unconsciously contort your facial expressions, tremble, gesticulate, laugh, or cry. You express your emotions in perceptible ways, and those near you can…

Too Emotional for What?

“Too emotional” is a term often applied to explicitly emotional behavior or to people who behave emotionally. It is most often used incorrectly, and is a double one-eighty—it’s wrong twice over. “You are too emotional” is really a way of saying, “I am not emotional enough.” Both the subject (“you”) and the diagnosis (“too emotional”) are false, or at least…

Business 101, Part 2: Blind Spots – transcript

For the audio version of this podcast, go here. Jim McCarthy:  Welcome, everyone. It’s time once again for your dose of “The McCarthy Show”, and we’re here to provide it. I’m Jim McCarthy. Michele McCarthy:  I’m Michele McCarthy. Jim:  And today we have a topic in mind and we’re ready to go. And that topic is leadership and self‑destructive patterns….

Imposter Truths

“Often, “conventional wisdom” either is so inefficient as to be functionally useless or is altogether wrong. The application of conventional wisdom usually does not lead to behavior that will achieve the desired results. This disconnection is especially likely in a world where the rate of change undercuts any value that conventional wisdom might have provided in slower-moving times. People often…

Care About How You Spend Your Life

“You’re a human being. Don’t let the mediocre monsters get you; they are just a diversion. Check in. Bring your whole self to the job, including your emotional self. After all, that’s the source of your creativity. Your creativity is bundled up in those repressed feelings, constrained by conflict you try to avoid, awaiting that seriousness of purpose you keep…

The Default Human-Human Interface

“Rich information is invariably produced when a team member expresses criticism in a way that adds significant value to another’s work. This value-generating capability is uncommon even though adding value is the normal, healthy thing to do. Human-human inefficiencies must be handled before you can expect to routinely make the best class of connection and achieve the resulting hyperprogress. Most…

Hey, Satya

Post by Jim McCarthy.


Rescue is an interesting and a potent meme. It definitely didn’t originate with us, though we have introduced it to many groups and teams in the context of their initial experiences with hearing the feelings of others in a routine, structured way. As with many other important contributions, “Rescue” descends from Eric Berne’s Transactional Analysis (developed in the 1950s), broadly…

jim and michele in sigapore

Your Feelings Have Important Information

“Sometimes, feeling angry about doing something that seems inefficient, or pro forma, is simply a healthy response to waste. If some of your tasks do not contribute to the desired result, they are not worth doing. Specs, schedules, plans, or presentations are not usually the result. Likewise, meetings, reviews, and administration are not the result. While these things can contribute…

I Say Welcome

I Say Welcome I say welcome over and over to every and all who show me themselves in a way I can understand because their kindness in doing so is lovely. I want more of it, and them, in my world. They are welcome. I say welcome because for hundreds of years we have been unwelcome in hundreds of ways….

jim and michele in sigapore

50-50 NOW

Post by Jim McCarthy.

Software Creates Culture

For the podcast on this topic go to Podcast 125: Software Creates Culture. Jim:   OK. Tonight we’re going to talk some more about culture design and culture hacking. A couple of years ago we stumbled into this phrase “culture hacking.” We liked that to describe what we were doing with all of our various efforts and works. Really, you…

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