Dialogue in JSB about facility and work with Renato Palma, Florentine doctor and psychotherapist, specialised in affective democracy and non-conflictual and non-authoritarian development of intrapersonal relationships. We talk about how in the major part of the companies relational costs are not counted, that is the costs of the loss of effectiveness and the time of people working in conflict and dysfunctional relationships, and how to make facility coincide with well-being.
Q. Facility and work: a possible coexistence? When I have to talk about facility I always have to think about it for a moment because it comes to mind another word, that is happiness. At the same time I can’t stop thinking that to make things easy I must struggle.
[From here starts our chat, the first of a series of meetings on themes that inspired JSB Solutions. Facility that is a key element in our Mission, while in the next articles we will talk about grit and faithfulness].
A.“Facilitating our work and the work of the others is commonly feel as a process that requires hard work, sacrifice, and a commitment to change. According to a cultural model of our society, in the collective imagination, the result is always achieved through the hard work. These two aspects are accepted in emotional and family relationships, while they can become goods of exchange, object of commercial transaction, within the working world. This means that we consider facility as a cake that must be divided: and since I have to give up something to make your life easier, it becomes essential for me to struggle. And if we start from this assumption, the relationship becomes unstable”.
It becomes easy do what they ask me to do when it is not exclusively in a set of assigned tasks, but in the context of an equal relationship, an exchange at the same level, in a collaborative perspective. Each time that I feel that doing something is easy, I do it with pleasure; when the relationship is fundamental and becomes first, even before the perfomance.
On the contrary, feeling the effort made should make me understand that something is not working. The moment we realize that completing a task means asking for something back, eliminating the pleasure or interest in doing that activity, we fell every single effort as fatigue or irritation.
When the homo economicus takes over the homo amabilis, relationships can become terrible. Everybody should read at least the first three chapters of “A People’s History of the United States” written by Zinn to have a different prospect of the social value of human and affective relations.
Q. How it is possible contextualize our work, in an equal relationship, when we know very well that relationships inside organizations, are based on hierarchies, even if in different forms? In hierarchical relations, we think that those who have a lower role and responsibility should make life easier for those with a higher role, when in fact more responsability means more available tools at your disposal.
A.“Even in this case, the common perception make me think that, if I have a higher role than you, you must do what I say, without no worries if you are struggling or not. But, I don’t realize that that sooner or later it will overwhelm me too. The idea of moving fatigue from top to down would make sense only if there is vent from which it goes away, but obviously this is not the case: slowly the level of fatigue will rise and it will also involve me. At that point, I will get angry: I will be irritated, I will tell everyone what they must do or must not do, and think that things will go well. It is a situation that will not last long: we must always realize that if we feel fatigue, at any level, the system will end up not working. For this reason, first of all, it is good to work on the relationship with ourselves, to listen and shape ourselves, even before the relationships with the others ”
Q. In the daily work, we don’t have a lot of time the and we always push on the accellerator: this makes it almost impossible thinking about these topics. How do we manage our time in terms of facility?
A. “If I calculate how long it took me to do the same thing because I have done it too quickly, I understand how take the time I need for doing something make me spend less time. Why? I was in a rush, I made a mistake, my manager got upset, and I got upset too, and so on.
This time is not taken into consideration because, in most companies, the relational costs are not considered, that is the costs of the people, who can no longer do anything with gratification, who have lost the relationship with others, who live in disharmony. These are situations that tell us to stop, considering what have happened and start again. All of this activities represent a cost and time loss.
If we could see the effects of the constant acceleration, we could continue to ask people to work fast, but we would also begin to recommend them to consider their own effort, because if they struggle they lose their lucidity.
Beyond the fact that we costantly live in a hurry and there is no longer a distinction between professional and strictly private life (with all the emotional and relational costs that follow), it should be shared the idea of managing time in order to guarantee the final result paying attention to the needs of the person. ”
Q.What is the goal that everybody should set not to struggle?
A. “Feeling happy at the end of the day means that we have worked and lived well, without giving up on living. The goal should be: live well; make life easy means feeling well. Feeling bad is tiring. Wear the wrong shoes, wearing packpack in the wrong way, carrying the shopping is tiring.
The key for understanding is not just the principle of emotional democracy between you and me, which is a cultural concept that we can develop. We should strive for an affective democracy within ourselves, because if you want to share a model, this model must work first of all for you: only at that point you will not ignore signs of fatigue to reach a set goal. The idea to promote is that ease is an asset and is connected to wellness, to happiness. Feeling good, easy, beauty. Because facility is beuty.
Howard Zinn “A People’s History of the United States”, 1980