top of page

[INFOGRAPHIC] 9 Nuanced Human Behaviours Eroding Profit

Updated: Jan 21

I say nuanced, because well, they are nuanced.

On the surface, these human behaviours could be dismissed as 'Business As Usual' (BAU), or just a 'Cost Of Business' (CoB). However, they are in fact, much more. In business terms, these human behaviours are either; highly profitable, or eroding your bottom line.

Cost of Business:

While I have not yet found a credible source to calculate the exact cost to business, I'd suggest the cost can safely and conservatively follow Pareto's Law - 20/80.

Of course, a simple internal survey would reveal to any organisation where their people sit on the Wellbeing Spectrum: Prioritising Wellbeing, Practising Wellbeing, Struggling with Wellbeing, in order to garner more accurate percentages of what is going on in your business and how best to address it. Your Bottom Line is fundamentally tied to this.

Percentage of people with increased stress levels?

If we were to use the general percentages pulled from National Statistics, then 45% of the population report heightened stress levels (since Covid-19 flooded our TVs) with no real resources or strategies to mitigate its effects. That can't be a surprise to anyone, really. If anything, I expected the numbers to be higher.

Anyway... back to human behaviour...

The quick skim version is here in this visual aid below.

The deeper look into what is going on here, follows the visual aid.

I will be covering this content in a few podcasts.

The depth and breadth of this subject is too much for a wee post. My podcast is over at 

9 Nuanced Human Behaviours Eroding Profit

Human Behaviour


A nuanced distinction is to be made here between Performance and Performing. Eg. Staff that operate at #NextGenPerformance levels vs. staff that are Performing.

>Performing is the animation of a task with little to zero awareness given to the outcome.

>Performance is the agile and consistently flexible action being taken, while prioritising in real time with their eyes firmly on the outcome.

2. Imagination

Creative Problem Solving, Vision, Blue Ocean Strategy are some of the business buzz words that slip in here.

The areas of the brain that open to allow this function are alive and active in people who prioritise wellbeing, and impaired to closed off entirely for those closer to the right end of the spectrum.

When stress is elevated, these centers of the brain are shut down, prioritising the 'need to defend' and make 'safe' - even if the potential perpetrators are figments of one's... imagination. In this context, that saying isn't accurate. To make it accurate, it would read, ...even if the potential perpetrators are factions of implicit memories operating just under the conscious awareness, hijacking the day-to-day.

3. Decision Making

On the left side of the spectrum we have; people who are comfortable, confident and certain; they are ok when their contribution doesn’t hit the mark, but for the most part, their contribution is highly valuable.

As we move center of spectrum, we find the people who are somewhat decisive, but not always well informed. Feeling uncertain, and a lack of confidence can apply here, but what is happening, is the brain-body’s ability to integrate stimuli from the environment ( approx. 100 soduko games a minute of stimulus) to complete the person’s perception, is not optimally running, so the part played by cognitive function, consistently falls short.

On the far right end, we have indecisive and uninformed. At least that's what is perceived on the surface. What is going on below the surface is a brain-body that is dis-regulated and will remain so until deliberate intervention happens and the person can operate with Wellbeing as a Priority.

4. Inspired v. Motivated

Being recognised and genuinely appreciated for a job well done is a very different Culture to work in, compared to one that requires endless external motivation just to get you to do your job.

People who prioritise wellbeing are often congruent, aligned and inspired from within to create a meaningful contribution to their 'village'. They get immense satisfaction from going great work and often meet the next challenge with the desire to outperform their current best.

When we move along the spectrum to the center, we find people who are self-motivated often because of the classic ' the ends justifies the means' and as we move further right, we find a group of people who need external motivation to do anything. Or, in some cases, we have workaholics that do the jobs of 3 people and often comment with "If you want the job done right..." a mode that has long term consequences and feeds endless conflict among their colleagues.

Their inner conflict has caused them to shut down emotion and feeling, prioritising 'busyness' in its absence. They don't feel pleasure, joy, or have much respect for 'fun'. They certainly do not want 'fun' in their workday. It's work... "leave them alone to do their job."

5. Adapts

While the left side will easily adapt, even enjoy it and appreciate it, the middle group will require plenty of time to warm up to the idea. They won't necessarily resist it, but they are also not ready for it.

Those hanging out on the far right side of this spectrum, will feel overwhelmed, anxious, or stressed when faced with new situations or alterations in routine. Their response to change is often characterised by resistance, fear, or a strong preference for maintaining status quo, even when change might be beneficial.

This end of the spectrum will need some support, such as gradual exposure to change, seeking support, and learning to reframe perceptions of change as opportunities for growth and learning. Either way, this will not be smooth sailing for this part of the team.

6. Flexible

If flexible lives on the left, then inflexible and rigid is on the right.

In the middle, we have people who can be flexible on certain things, but not many. The middle are moderately adaptable with equal amounts of resistance, although they will make the effort.

People who are flexible, are usually flexible in body, thought, and practice. They go with the flow, they ride waves that show up, not try to fight waves, or collapse at the mere fact a wave has appeared.

Inflexible and rigid on the other hand, will likely display a deep-seated need for control, and any change is seen as a threat to this stability.

7. A-grade Team Leader

The kind everybody wants on their team. (Queue Nelly Furtado's lyrics here).

The people who are practising wellbeing are collaborative, but tend to hide their inability to effectively manage people behind - 'I'm the boss - do it my way' or ... some version of I have a 'Type A personality...'.

For those at the far right end of the spectrum, being a team player takes enormous effort, causes additional stress, and challenges the need to withdraw, preferring what they would might call 'solitude'.

The far right side needs control. They need to lead, often leaving others behind, and often create conflict through their micro management style. This could be a combination of a lack of experience, and their struggle with wellbeing which will make 'trust' almost impossible to operate within.

8. Speaking up

One the left side, respectfully speaking one's mind is the norm. When that person meets push back, they take it in their stride, and with an open mind, seek to expand their own understanding and may even ask for more context or schooling to 'catch up to the new idea'.

The folks in the middle would be cautious with what they contribute. This can be as a result of many things including; a balancing act between wanting to express oneself and fear of feeling vulnerable which they may describe as 'exposed'.

For the people on the farther right side of the spectrum, these people suppress their true thoughts and feelings, with a palpable level of resentment. Often, this end of the spectrum is characterised by a fear of conflict, rejection, or a belief that their thoughts and feelings are invalid or unworthy of being heard. Worse yet, apathy. Being apathetic, costs a lot across business, culture and people. Apathy is highly contagious with those who also hang out on this side of the spectrum.

9. Work-Life Balance

The left side happily pursue their own design of work-life balance knowing it is the best way for them to be their best selves. They don't need much managing in this area. Their boundaries are in tact, they have healthy interoception giving them agency over their day-today.

The people hanging out in the middle need encouragement and teaching to resolve this balance for themselves. At present it would be inconsistent, and for sure, not sustainable.

They recognise the value of balance, but not yet able to consistently apply it. They are still somewhat uncomfortable with boundaries.

As for the group on the right side, these individuals either immerse themselves excessively in work to the detriment of their personal life (workaholics) or display high levels of absenteeism, possibly due to burnout, disengagement, or personal issues. Workaholics often neglect personal relationships, leisure activities, and sometimes even their health, as their focus is intensely centered on work achievements and responsibilities.

On the other hand, individuals with high absenteeism may struggle with motivation, job satisfaction, or personal challenges that significantly impact their ability to maintain consistent work engagement.

Either way, the right end struggle with a significant imbalance that will have long term negative consequences.

Human Behaviour is not fixed, it is dynamic

What I love about human behaviour and its related attributes is that they are not fixed points but dynamic ranges where individuals can move and grow. Understanding where one currently stands on these spectrums is key to personal and professional development, as it can guide targeted strategies for growth, improvement, and a better understanding of oneself and others.

14 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page