Our cabinet regularly organizes round-table discussions with its clients to get to know better each other and to bring answers to questions that gather us all. These events are called “Entreprise & Réflexion”. Last week, here was the topic: Today, is sensibility an asset to run a firm ? Are women especially able to express it?

 

Approach N°1: sensibility is definitely to be taken into account

For us, human beings, sensibility lies at the center of our lives and is our relational food. Sensibility and intuition express from 80 to 90 % of human intelligence (some call it unconscious). The Cartesian intelligence only accounts for 10 %. In France, country of Descartes and his famous “Je pense donc je suis” by excellence, sensibility is often drawn up. We are culturally stiffened.

Tools to measure the use of sensibility of a person, a group or a team in their responsibilities exist. A tool is recommended by Marie Boy: Dolquest. This is a tool created by a linguist having a strong experience in business too. “It aims at making people aware of the place of sensibility, especially in the decision-making”, she said. However, it is still hard to assess on a scientific basis the role of sensibility in a company.

Approach N°2 : sensibility is linked to minorities

Sensibility is a shared point for both women and men. It does not express itself in the same manner though, especially because of the differences of education between males and females. An American study – carried out by psychologists and sociologists about the consideration given to males and females from their births- was reused by searchers in Harvard and applied to the ambition of males and females in their professional lives. Women, suffering from a lack of consideration from the head of their firms and their environment, feel obliged to be extremely competent to aspire to a promotion, which is less the case among men.. The issue of consideration and acknowledgment are crucial (and even overcome the salary according to the Maslow pyramid). However, sensibility seems to be directly linked to each minority, no matter which. Marie Boy explains that sensibility is particularly expressed among women in a firm where men outnumber them and among men in feminine companies. For example, at L’Oréal, sensibility seems to be particularly developed among men, in a minority in the French company.

Approach N°4 : The awareness of the sensibility’s impact is essential in the decision-making.

The story of the fragrance La petite Robe noire of Guerlain, shared by a participant, can rationally justify the importance of sensibility. Indeed, sensibility and intuition were crucial to make a decision which provoked the success of the fragrance. While the Guerlain people were going for another rational recommendation, another member of the team had the feeling that La petite Robe noire might be a success. And he was right. This enables to show the necessity to be aware of the sensibility in making decisions. For example, sensibility is crucial for HR professionals, necessary tool to assess colleagues or candidates in a different way.

Conclusion : Find the right balance

A balance between the expression of one’s sensibility and the capacity to keep it back is essential to be happy at work. It is necessary to find the right adjustment, the right moment, the right audience to express or not one’s sensibility. This balance is to be particularly present when HR professionals have to make hard decisions.

Sources:

–          Intervention of 5 members of boards of 5 different companies invited to the event “Entreprise & Réflexion” at LeaderIA

–          BOY, Marie, L‘intelligence sensible du décideur Les émotions, un atout pour être efficace, Broché – Dunod, avril 2011