According to Lisa Barret Feldman and other leading neuroscientists, emotion is a constant. It is part of our brain’s core function – to interpret what is going on and then respond: based on ongoing simulation and prediction. The result is our everyday reality. Here is her three minute explanation if you want more insight.
In this context, emotion is crucial to the accuracy of that ongoing interpretation. In other words, emotion helps us decipher what is going on. It’s an attribute we all share as humans.
The empirical science driving this emerging theory flies in the face of many things we belief about the role of emotion, how it works and whether we personally identify ourselves as an emotional being.
On the initial ‘Emotive CX In Customer Interaction’ roadshow back in 2018, I still remember a great moment during one discussion with an attendee. Their view of themselves was that they did not ‘do emotion’. Certainly not as a constant barometer that calibrated their moment by moment behaviour.
Sometime during the conversation something clicked into place for them and a new mindset was seeded.
The indivisibility of thought and feeling became clear. It was simply two sides of the same process of understanding and response. This mattered since they had always thought of themselves as logical and 100% cognitive in how they processed their day to day reality. Especially at work.
After more story telling from the audience, it also became clear that emotions did not have to look a certain way like a universal fingerprint.
The next ‘ah ha’ insight was that it does not matter if emotion is being consciously experienced, it influences every decision we make. It is why brand agencies exist.
Finally, and most powerfully for this individual, their emotive expression was not a rare form of behaviour only triggered in extreme situations. Instead it was a constant influence. They started to recognse that they ‘did’ emotion 100% of the time, much to their amazement.
What they could now see about themselves was the very opposite of what is still held as unquestioned ‘truths’ about emotion.
In this regard, I find it revealing that we need to use the language of Emotional Intelligence to help frame the value of emotive expression especially for the business world which has been a late convert.
Pitting emotion against reason is as old as Adam and Eve. Today, we are undergoing a revolution in realigning our understanding. The punchline is that we all do it, all the time. This includes CEO and customers but excludes AI and animals. I’m happy to send you the academic and scientific proof if that last claim sufficiently challenges your current point of view.
To complete the story. I bumped into Tony six months later. His whole energy was transformed as was his approach as a project director for the luxury car manufacturer he worked for.
Their day to day culture is understandably seeped in an engineering mindset and obsession with the fine detail luxury demands. However he was now seeing the whole of his mission through the lens of emotion.
As I listened, he already sounded fluent connecting emotive language with the commercial decisions he needed to take. He had also learnt to share customer journeys as emotive stories that others he wanted to influence could easily connect with.
Rolls Royce owners are lucky to have Tony on the team.