Quantum physics tells us that we are essentially huge clouds of atoms interacting with each other on a physical and personal level. Executive coach, Kieran Hearty, calls this ‘quarkiness‘. So, what does that mean for SMEs with growth ambitions?
Quarks are sub-subatomic particles, and the quarkiness that I talk about concerns small, sub-subconscious behaviours, mostly negative, which cumulatively have a corrosive effect on relationships with employees and customers. This affects results – bad news for a small business.
How does all of this relate to quantum physics?
In quantum physics, quarks are almost impossible to see, even using advanced technology. But there is faint evidence that they exist during high energy collisions between larger hadron particles.
In meetings, clouds of silent, covert messages are almost imperceptibly exchanged. This is ‘quarky behaviour’, involving a different kind of high energy collision.
The emission of these small negative message clouds (strange quarks) has an adverse impact on the recipients, whereas the infrequent positive messages that we exchange (charms) have a hugely positive impact. In other words, we get a better return from the same amount of energy by being positive.
For SMEs, this is an important consideration.
What do strange quarks look like?
They are hard to spot but could be an intake of breath, an eye roll, facial tic or a frown, or a certain tone of voice. It’s the feeling of being burdened with someone’s disapproval without knowing why. They are mostly unintentional, but they do betray our true feelings, which, if dictated by intolerance or disapproval, could be damaging to any relationship.
The cosmic impact of quarks at work
Have you experienced a situation where a small act of disrespect affected you for the rest of the day? I remember delivering an important presentation in which my performance was badly affected because of the way the CEO, sitting in the front row, was looking at me! What if it was a customer?
How do you feel when somebody interrupts you or talks over you during meetings? How often does this happen, along other quarky acts of disrespect that we exchange? What if you do this to your customers?
Quarkiness and Networking
Many of us invest a lot of time in networking in order to build new relationships, identify potential referral opportunities, and grow our mailing list. I have witnessed a vast array of quarky behaviour during my networking activity, with a range of tiny acts of disrespect, especially if we feel that the person we are speaking to is boring, or of no value to us.
The need to get ‘quarkiness’ on our radar
Our quarky behaviour needs attention. If it is driven by our semi-subconscious disapproval towards people that are only slightly different to us what does this mean when a potential customer is of a different colour, gender, religion or sexual preference?
Quarkiness has huge implications for workplace issues such as diversity and inclusion. SMEs are not excluded from this.
Making ‘quarkiness’ work for your business rather than against it
- Get the ‘language’ of quarkiness on your radar. It becomes easier to confront it when it happens, and more importantly, to avoid it when interacting with employees and customers.
- Discuss it with your team, and gain their commitment to focus on reducing the level of strange quarks that they transmit to each other and to customers.
- Focus on a positive shift to charms. This can help improve relationships by harnessing positive, not negative, energy.
- Think about the value of charms in networking. Enhance your crisp elevator pitch with nods of approval, appreciative smiles, and other positive affirma They cost nothing, require minimal energy, and yet have such an energising impact on others.
- Appreciate the power of questions that show interest and respect, along with short acts of attentive listening towards both employees and potential customers. The return on these small investments will be cosmic.
The language of quarkiness is universal, transcending gender, race, language, and culture. Who would have thought that quantum physics could provide SMEs with the answers we need? I hope you agree. It’s a bit quarky, but it’s a no-brainer!
This article was written by Kieran Hearty, an Executive Coach, Consultant and Leadership Speaker with over 30 years’ experience across international technology and financial services companies. Kieran’s successful programmes have made a huge difference to thousands of managers and leaders who he has coached and developed worldwide. Kieran is author of the business book ‘How to Eat the Elephant in the Room’.