Controlling your climb up the mood elevator

Group In December 2018, Grant Thornton participated in a profession-wide event called the "Day of Understanding," which provided an opportunity for us to talk with our colleagues about the challenges of building more diverse and inclusive organizations. Preparing for these conversations forced us to acknowledge that we haven’t made nearly as much progress in embracing diversity within our profession and our firm as we would like. That realization sent me down a few floors on the “Mood Elevator,” with feelings of frustration, anxiety and impatience.

I know this: When you’re sitting low on the Mood Elevator, getting back to the top — a place of understanding, wisdom and gratitude — can seem like an impossible climb. And yet that’s what our culture journey at Grant Thornton is all about: Challenging one another and growing together as a team. When difficult situations bring us down, we help pull each other back up the Mood Elevator to a better place.

-- The Mood Elevator image TBD -- So, what is this “Mood Elevator”? It’s a concept developed by Senn Delaney, the consulting firm we worked with to define and intentionally build the culture we wanted for our firm. It’s something that really resonated with me as CEO and is an important part of our firm’s culture.

The Mood Elevator is the natural progression of feelings we experience throughout the day, often changing from moment to moment. As frequently as we ride this “elevator,” we spend much less time assessing what floors we’re on — and it’s not always a simple push of a button to move from one floor to another. But by understanding that our thoughts determine our mood’s direction, we gain more control of our perspective and behaviors.

The lower we are on the Mood Elevator, the more our judgment is blurred and the quicker we are to negatively react. Staying curious is the midpoint of the Mood Elevator — the point where we can change our perspective in difficult situations. As we begin making our way up the Mood Elevator, we become more collaborative, understanding and innovative, improving our quality of thinking and broadening our point of view.

In the lead-up to our Day of Understanding, my first step to “get back to curious” was to begin working with Jina Etienne, our director of Diversity & Inclusion, and our People & Culture team to develop our plans for engaging our entire organization. I then began making my climb back up the Mood Elevator toward understanding, optimism and hopefulness. Together we made a commitment to help everyone on our team better understand bias — whether conscious or unconscious — and how to overcome it.

The conscious choice we can make to push our way back up the Mood Elevator is to take action. We can choose curiosity, listen to one another and value our differences. We can choose connection over division, make our teams and world a better place, and get ourselves moving back up the Mood Elevator.


Mike McGuire Mike McGuire
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