‘The Schutz method in everyday words’ by the business coach A.Duluc , ESF Editeur

Dear friends,

© C. Geiger

© C. Geiger

I hope you are welcoming spring as best you can; it is the sign of energy renewal. In our country, as in others (Senegal or Mynamar for example), it also means election time. ... There is one election we should not refrain from and that is choosing our personal ethics, with regards to ourselves and other people, namely when we are at work.
So, this month, I suggest we try and define our moral code, then choose it as clearly as possible, thanks to the Cegos manager,  Alain Duluc’s  practical guide, called ‘The Schutz method in everyday words’, published by ESF Editeur.

Will Schutz was an American psychologist and statistician in the second half of the Twentieth Century and he studied human behaviour from a scientific point of view. He perfected a method that is more and more well known in France, called ‘The Human Element’. Today, his son, Ethan Schutz, has taken up the torch and he wrote the preface to Alain Duluc’s book:
“Though strategy and logical decision making are unavoidable factors of success, it is difficult to make one’s enterprise progress, without working on good human relationships, based on trust, harmony and authenticity. Without these values, it is even impossible to feel happy with one’s work and one’s life.(...) The Human Element uses the universal human dynamics, allowing us, not only to understand ourselves better, but also to open out more with our personal strength and fragility.”

Indeed, I personally feel that the famous ‘crisis management’ that  politicians are offering us could not exist without a basic citizen’s action: a more sustained, individual effort, carried out with the knowledge each person has of him or herself, especially concerning his or her strong or weak points, knowing of course that these points must be studied regularly, the impermanence of the world being what it is...But let us see what Alain Duluc has to say:
“The main advantage of this method is to succeed in being oneself. It creates a link between this concern and the business world, with objectives that have little to do with the personal achievement of their staff. It brings answers to organisational human problems such as :

1) Improving team work
2) Building efficient teams
3) Solving conflicts
4) Becoming more efficienct together
5) Making better decisions 
6) Improving  organisation culture
7) Increasing group intelligence”

 A firm is, in fact, a social microcosm where each member of staff, whatever his or her job, must be involved for the success of everyone. On a systemic level, there is a subtle dialectic interaction between the Singular and the Universal, that varies according to the firm’s culture and management system. The Schutz method enables one to re-establish this dialectic in a sound way, a logic of the ‘And’ (and not only the ‘Or’) that many pessimists unfortunately tend to believe impossible to achieve. This however, as Alain Duluc explains, is how these positive circumstances become possible.

“among the key principles defined by W.Schutz, the following are the most important, when you express your potential.

1) Lucidity about yourself, other people and the  rest of the world . (...) This is fundamental during a period of change. The more conscious people are of the objectives, the direction to take, the path to follow and the reason for the change itself, the better they can mobilize themselves.
2) Truth is the big simplifier (...) Solving problems is much easier when people can express themselves openly.(...) On the level of the firm, if there is no opening out or transparency, rumours and lies start to spread.
3) Choice: If people believe they cannot really choose or if they really do not have a choice, then the feeling of trust in other people will be very weak. On the other hand, when people can choose and make decisions, trusting cooperation can develop, which makes teams more effective.
4) Presence: A person is present when he or she feels alive. It is the feeling of being alive that leads people to put their energy into fulfilling their objectives, with just the right, suitable dose of implication.”

I have sometimes observed the synergy of these four main basic principles, during a team building session: starting from the reality of people’s impressions in a given situation saves a lot of precious time and brings about equanimity where each person has his or her legitimate place, as he or she really is, neither better nor worse than any other person. From then on, each person begins to really feel alive, as a full actor in the team’s project. Then when the moment of decision making comes, it does so in all consciousness, each person using his or her intrinsic freedom,  while respecting other people’s.

Alain Duluc very pedagogically  presents another aspect of his method in his book:
“ the FIRO (Fundamental Interpersonal Relations Orientation) theory was born in Schutz’ first works starting from 1951 and is today fully recognised and well-known. His research tends to prove that the different psychological or psychoanalytical approaches to human behaviour show three essential dimensions of each person’s psychological needs: integration entailing inclusion behaviour, control and affection entailing opening out behaviour. 

Inclusion refers to the number of contacts a person can have with other people. Some people need many contacts, others are content with just a few.

Control refers to the impact people want to have on others and the need to establish and maintain a satisfactory relationship, in terms of ascendancy and power. (...) This dimension starts in childhood, where each child has the opportunity to test its control on other children and its surroundings.

Opening out refers to self-expression, expressing one’s feelings, emotions, thoughts and opinions. In this open atmosphere, people become involved, relationships are more emotional and sincere. It is when speaking frankly and openly that you can express what is true for yourself in such and such a situation or relationship.”

Alain Duluc adds: “In the case of inclusion, the notion of quality of contacts is secondary to the notion of quantity, but  opening out is not linked to any particular frequency.”

I would like to give you my opinion as a coach: I do not want people to believe that the use of these three Human Element dimensions locks people up in a defined compartment; for example, introverts would thus have little power of inclusion and extraverts much more. Luckily, things are not that simple. On the contrary, this three-fold model reveals the uniqueness of each person, offering a wide combination of behaviours that are also adaptable,   according to the situation and circumstances.

It seems that the scope of human behavioural creativity is quite wide. Do you agree? 

Helen Monnet