May 18 '16

Victim or Master of Stress

By Curtis R. Sprouse

May 2016

Day in and day out, we all encounter stress, but as individuals, we have different responses to stress. Using EurekaConnect, LLC (EC) data, people reporting high levels of stress, (Stability scores below 20%) who also report that stress negatively impacts confidence (low Expertise score), the speed with which they navigate life (moderate to low Energy), their ability to control situations (moderate to low Dominance), their ability to set goals (moderate to low Discipline) and or Interpersonal behaviors (low combinations of Social Skills, Goodwill, Communication and Collaboration)—are compromising their ability to leverage talent and achieve objectives.

Not only do they compromise performance and limit their ability to use their talents with consistency, but they can affect their health and happiness. In a study conducted at University of Wisconsin-Madison with 29,000 people over eight years, there was a 43% increase in risk of death when people reported high levels of stress and believed that stress had a large impact on health.

The good news is that people can learn to change the way they physically and mentally react to stress (See: Kelly McGonigal, TED June 2013). The better news is that by changing our response to stress we build resilience to it, and minimizing or removing the impact it has on health and happiness.

In a paper by Crum, Salvey, and Achor looking at three studies, the authors concluded that stress mindset, positive or negative, is a meaningful variable effecting health and performance. By using stress to prepare our response and focus our talents, we can take what has often been a negative factor in our lives and leverage, focus, and harness it to access our talent when faced with challenges.

Many people fail to realize the impact stress has on them. They do not understand the material impact stress plays in their lives. EurekaConnect, looked at numerousprofiles that showed executives with Stability scores below the 20%. These were Director-to-CEO level Biotech, Pharmaceutical, and Device Executives. More than 60% of those interviewed with low Stability and low Expertise agreed that this was an important behavioral area that needed to be addressed.

The impact is more profound when high stress levels and low confidence begin to impact Genetic behaviors—disrupting Energy, Dominance, Discipline, and Competing.When stress has this magnitude of impact on us, we are unable to tap into our talents. We compromise our work effort and allow stress to disrupt our personal and professional relationships.

Having objective data will provide insight into how Stress effects the individual and the organization. It will provide objective insight into the relationships between Stress (measured as Stability) and Confidence (measured as Expertise). The analysis will also provide insight into the potential impact stress has on genetics.

Developing an understanding of “what” is being impacted and “why,” and “how” it will effect behavior, we can help people focus development. Genetic traits can be leveraged to combat the effects of stress. Having objective behavioral data is a powerful tool that greatly impacts one’s ability to reduce the negative impacts of stress by leveraging it into a powerful driver of personal and professional success and happiness.

Note: Scores and profiles referenced in this article refer to characteristics defined in the EurekaConnect Behavioral Dynamics program

About the author: Curtis R. Sprouse is the President and CEO of EurekaConnect, LLC. Curtis has spent more than 25 years building companies and consulting for hundreds of the fortune 500 companies.

EurekaConnect, LLC uses proven technologies and data driven solutions that objectively and measurably improve organizational performance. For more information please email: customerservice@eurekaconnect.com.