You published a new book last April, what is the main idea of The ABC of Life?
There seem to be manuals for everything, but there are few books about how to interact with people. This was always surprising to me, because if you don’t understand how people function, you’ll find it difficult to succeed in business, education, health, sports—or indeed almost any facet of life. That’s one of the reasons I wrote the book. In essence, The ABC of Life presents a structured, concrete and immediately actionable approach to social interaction to create personal, professional, and organizational success for yourself and others.
How is your book different from other leadership books?
The combination of four aspects make The ABC of Life unique: (1) its groundbreaking, scientific foundation, (2) its natural, intuitive application, (3) a toolbox of scientifically validated measurement tools and (4) a customizable, results-driven framework of effective trainings.
The ABC of Life is based on over 50 years of scientific research, more than 50,000 years of human evolution and close to 100,000 academic publications. Yet the ABC principles feel natural and intuitive when applying to daily life. Success can be measured with a sophisticated set of leading-edge measurement tools, including a Return-On-Investment calculation for organizational interventions. The ABC of Life approach can be learned, taught, and trained, delivering measurable results.
Do you believe adversity could actually be an opportunity to test our resilience and celebrate our mettle?
Any challenge in life also represents an opportunity. Challenges and opportunities are two sides of the same coin. In order to have the energy needed to overcome challenges, an effective framework is needed to design your personal life, your professional life, or your organization in a way that fuels the three key ingredients of success: Goal setting, skill application and persistence. The more constructive energy available to your Self and your organization, the more effectively you and your employees will persistently learn and apply skills to achieve certain goals. The ABC of Life is a leadership handbook to help people and organizations create those conditions for success.
Talking about adversity, which experience has shaped you the most?
ABC stands for Autonomy, Belonging and Competence. One of the most challenging situations in recent years for me personally was certainly when Sacred Heart University decided to close its Luxembourg campus. It was a decision that I had no control over, so it was an Autonomy killer for me. Colleagues and students I had spent close to 10 years with were no longer there, killing my feelings of Belonging. Finally, I felt helpless and could not do anything about the closure, so it also killed my feelings of Competence. Fortunately, I had a network of people in Luxembourg supporting my ABC in other ways. That means there was an inflow of ABC energy from other sources compensating my Sacred Heart related ABC deficiency. As a result, I was still fully functioning, did not fall into depression or burnout, and could help find solutions for the remaining students, my colleagues, and business education in Luxembourg.
How can organizations leverage the ABC principles to create an environment where employees can thrive?
Employees put their hands and some their heads into work. But employees would also put their hearts into work if only companies knew how to ask for it. When you speak employees’ language such as English, French or Spanish, you speak to their hands and heads. When you create ABC rich work environments you speak to employees’ hearts. For example, companies such as Apple or Google have been reported as shaping their organizational cultures with the ABC principles.
There is a globally tested process model for introducing the ABC principles into organizational environments. The process model includes modules of diagnostics, ideation, prioritization, implementation and regular monitoring. It delivers concrete results based on validated quantitative and qualitative measures. Numbers are the language of business. Only what gets measured gets attention. That’s why the ABC framework, which helps to measure employees performance, engagement, and health, represents a game changing opportunity for organizations to survive and thrive.