Foaum is a model to understand the complexity of human mind and human relations. It is useful for everyone from every background, regardless of ethnicity, gender, race, religion, economic background, professional background, cultural background. A king as well as a monk, a housewife as well as a prostitute, an entrepreneur as well as a spiritual leader, a teacher as well as a doctor, can make use of it, because everyone can benefit from learning about the complexity of human mind.
Foaum is useful to solve problems and address issues at micro-level, macro-level as well as intermediate-level. By micro-level issues, we mean the challenges in making personal choices and managing personal relationships. By macro-level issues, we mean the challenges in understanding the mega factors that influence the course of humanity, understanding the relationship between individual and the group, culture and economy, etc. By intermediate-level issues, we mean issues involved in educating children in school, managing workforce in workplaces, delivering social services, etc.
Another way to look at the micro, intermediate and macro level issues is in terms of the demographic that addresses them, i.e., from the perspective of three broad categories of people, Ordinary people, Change Agents and Social Scientists. We will discuss each one of them in turn.
The need to understand the complexity of human mind cannot be overemphasized. Day in and day out, we are called to make choices from new year resolutions to career choices, in both of which, only a handful of us do well. This is because we are complex beings. A lot goes on inside of us, but we have handle and control only on a few of those gyrations of mind, a few of the motives behind each one of our actions and a few of the conflicts that pull us in multiple directions.
Day in and day out, we also have to deal with many people in life such as children, spouses, parents, siblings, colleagues, subordinates, bosses, customers, call center representatives, and so on. It is amazing to see how poor many of us are in understanding our own children whom we raise, and our own spouses, with whom we spend years.
We get by dealing with others relatively easily, only because our interactions with them are limited.
We are able to deal with others not because of our ability to understand them, but because we limit our interactions with them and everyone is guided into a grove by the norms of the society.
But, is that how it should be? Shouldn't we be able to understand people as they are and enjoy interacting with them? The more we know the people and their personality styles, the better we will be able to play with them and enjoy the game of life. Knowing the complexity of human mind makes us better spouses, better parents, better professionals, better teachers, better managers and better leaders.
People get training to raise animals and to nurture plants, but everyone thinks they can raise children and manage others without basic understanding of human complexity. Both in raising children and managing people, we essentially turn to the goddess of luck; when things go right, we take credit and when they go wrong, we blame others or fate.
Getting a handle on human complexity should be considered as a basic and necessary skill similar to reading, writing or using a phone. Everyone needs it, without exception. Yet, you can graduate not knowing anything about the human complexity. Knowing are not knowing calculus or cell biology doesn't make a difference in the many of our lives, but not knowing human mind does, in everyone's life.
But not everyone can afford to spend four years or more to get a degree in psychology. The basics everyone needs to know in life, should not be a specialization. We need an alternative. We need a way to learn the basic essentials of human complexity in a short period of time. Foaum is developed to cater to this vital need of the society. It helps everyone learn the basics of human complexity in a matter of days.
Foaum helps the common man to understand oneself and the people around. It provides an easy way to understand the big picture of life and universe and our role in it. It helps understand the relationship between the internal urges, emotions and conflicts and external opportunities and constraints. It helps people develop better relationships with themselves, with others, with the society and even with the nature.
But, where do Ordinary People go to learn Foaum? This is where Change Agents come into picture. Let us see below how.
Change agents is a generic term we use here to describe people who are passionate about making this world a better place, especially in the areas of human development and human relationships. These are the people who, by virtue of their profession or passion, are responsible for more than themselves, making decisions that affect the lives of many people with far reaching consequences, by designing systems, making policies and influencing social trends.
Change agents include educators, policy makers, social reformers, social workers, community developers, human resource developers, family counselors and such. Even though they are responsible for the lives of others, they often lack a deep understanding of human complexity or have a degree in psychology.
One of the goals of Foaum is to give them a basic understanding of human complexity in a small amount of time, i.e., in a couple of weeks. Once every change agent is equipped with the basic understanding of human complexity, there will be a huge impact on the making of social policies, design of systems and on delivery of services. Every change agent promotes a cause and is invariably depends on a philosophy of life to establish the value of the cause. Knowing human complexity makes those philosophies robust.
Foaum, besides giving a deep understanding of the complexity of human mind, enables a change agent to develop comprehensive programs to bring the desired change.
Rich Alignment and Rich Integration
While there is no limit on the type and sophistication of the programs a change agent can design using Foaum, two of them, which can be applied in various contexts, stand out. They are called 'Rich Alignment' and 'Rich Integration'. Speaking at a very high level, Rich alignment is about aligning people of similar personalities and Rich Integration is about integrating people of dissimilar personalities.
We will now discuss Rich Alignment in detail as applied in the context of a Children' Home.
In a specific Children's Home, like in almost any other, the staff members were managing the children taking turns day in and day out, 365 days a year.
However, as any one can tell, managing children is not easy. The staff members were finding it very difficult to manage some children and were feeling guilty for not able to pay enough attention to the others who were relatively easy to manage. So, the challenge was, how to make the situation better in this resource-constrained Home?
The answer is the Rich Alignment program. It is designed based on a cue from a commonly known phenomena seen in any normal household. Children usually get attracted to one specific uncle or aunt over the others. The reason is that children automatically get connected to and feel comfortable with adults who are 'like' them. Rich Alignment program is born out of the idea, "What if, if the children in the Home are connected to the adult staff members who are 'like' them?" That should certainly make the children happy and staff effective!
To implement this idea, we needed a mechanism to quickly and with good degree of certainty identify the children and the staff who are 'alike'. This is where Foaum came handy. The staff were trained over a course of three days on the concept of 'Layers' of Foaum. Using this concept, the staff members were able to identify their own personalities and also the personalities of all the children of the Home. Following the training, the staff members made a simple change in the way they managed the children: in stead of taking care of the children by taking turns, each staff member took the primary responsibility for the children who are 'like' her.
Within a matter of a few weeks, the results became evident. Managing and supporting the children became much more easy than it was before. With this, the environment and efficacy of the Home became orders of magnitude better, without adding additional resources, without needing additional budget and without disrupting existing processes or adding new processes. Anything is better than nothing, if the only cost is three days of training, right?
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Now let us discuss the applications of Foaum in general and Rich Alignment and Rich Integration in particular in the context of solving intermediate-level issues. For the puroses of our discussion, we will focus on three places where most of the human activity occurs, Home, School and Workplace, one by one.
Foaum for Families
First, let us discuss a couple of common challenges related to Home, i.e., family life. One is about finding a compatible life partner and the other is about raising children. Young people generally end up making the big commitment and tie the knot, knowing only a slice of the other person's personality and making convenient and whimsical assumptions about the rest. If their assumptions happens to be wrong, the marriage hits a rough patch.
Rich Alignment, applied in this context, helps people to avoid this costly mistake. It gives the skills for one to identify anyone's personality based on a few snippets of their behavior, and by asking a few questions, more accurately and with more confidence. This skill alone, can help save many young people not get into bad marriages.
Now let us discuss about raising children. Each child is different. The same parenting style does not work for every child. But all parents are gifted neither with the skills to discern the uniqueness of the child, nor with the ability to develop a parenting style that is right for the child. Parents make number of decisions for the child, especially in the growing years, based on their own interests and fancies, rather than based on what is best for the child. In fact, parents realize all the mistakes they did in raising the first child when they raise the second child, which really means they are taking a trial and error approach to raise the children. What a risk are they taking in raising their own dear ones?
Trained in Foaum, parents will be able to identify the unique personality of their children. They will be able to get a sense of the areas in which their children will shine when they grow up. With that knowledge, they will be able to focus on giving right kind of support to the children by making the necessary adjustment to their parenting style.
This above is not a hypocritical assertion. Parents are being trained on Foaum, by Grihastha.org in the form of workshops and the impact of Foaum on their parenting styles can be seen from their testimonials.
Foaum for Schools
Next, let us consider education system. Everyone speaks, using the best possible flowery language, how each child is unique and special. But the education system is far away from either identifying the uniqueness of the children or catering to it. Education systems, all over the world, deliver the same curriculum at the same pace to millions of children, as if they are all same, interested in the same thing, able to absorb with the same intensity, in about the same amount of time, at about the same age.
While there are revolutionary and dramatic changes in the last couple of centuries, in every other system, such as Transportation, Communication, Energy, Agriculture, Food processing and Medicine, because of the progress made by Physical Sciences and Biological Sciences, the education system continues to be the same as it has been, because Social Sciences has not made similar advances, enough to easily, accurately and confidently identify the uniqueness of the children, much less develop education methods that can be easily customized to cater to the unique learning styles and needs of the children.
This is where Foaum can help in a big way. For example, the easy and near-zero-cost 'Rich Alignment' program can be used to cater to the uniqueness of each child, at a micro-level. Just as there are different learning styles among students, there are also different teaching styles among teachers. By aligning the children and teachers who are 'alike', the learning experience of the children as well as the teaching experience of the teachers can be improved dramatically. With less than a week's worth of training and without the need for additional budgets or staff or changes in the process, Rich Alignment between students and teachers can solve the problem of customizing education, albeit, at the micro-level.
Imagine, what would be the impact, if every teacher, educator and anyone concerned about education systems is given the training on understanding the complexity of the uniqueness of the child. It should unleash the power of innovation to break through the intermediate and macro level constraints, to move the education systems beyond same curriculum, same pace and same age, pattern, to provide each child an opportunity to learn according to their own learning style.
This, the ability to cater to the uniqueness of each child, what seems to be impossible today, can truly be accomplished.
The initiative of Ed>4ward is started to build a platform for unleashing the educational innovation, to make learning an enjoyable, fruitful, nurturing and strengthening experience for every child. See the website Ed4ward.org for details.
Foaum at Workplaces
Next let us discuss workplaces, focusing on the most frequently asked question by the employers: 'how to increase the productivity?'. The traditional as well as the most popular approach is 'carrot and stick', which in the modern times assumes such sophisticated lingo as 'incentives' and 'leading'. Everyone knows that this approach can only go so far, both in theory and practice. You cannot flog someone to be more collaborative or creative or committed. You cannot incentivise enough a low performing teacher to become a high performing teacher. You can only make a a pilot or surgeon or an artist or a nurse only so much better with this approach.
To gain an insight into the modern workplaces, we have to realize that there two fundamental shifts that have happened in the workforce. One, with workplaces delivering complex services, there is a rise in the diversity of job-functions. Two, with workplaces delivering more and more services, more and more percentage of population is getting into organized sectors. In other words, job-function diversity as well as personality diversity is on the rise. These two are actually complementary.
Modern workplaces should not any more to look for molding diverse personalities into a single culture and give specialized training to make them fit into a job-function. Rather, modern workplaces should develop the skill of matching the person with the right attitude and aptitude with the right job-function. We call this the principle of AA is better than EE, which means right Aptitude and right Attitude make one more successful than right Education and right Experience. People with right AA excel and see a sharp rise in their career, while people with the right EE wait for it.
But modern workplaces haven't yet warmed up to this new reality of the two powerful diversities at their disposal. I/O psychology, which focuses on the research related to workforce, still serves largely the 'carrot and stick' approach, comparing, perfecting and innovating incentive/reward structures. Hardly i/o psychology is cognizant of this new reality.
Foaum, with its rich abstractions of Organisms, Containing Organisms, Fractal Organisms, Inner Layers, and Outer Layers, provides a solid grounding and great insights into understanding the two complementary diversities. The 'Rich Alignment' program, takes a different meaning in the context of workplaces, of 'aligning people and roles that are alike'. It can help any workplace move away from the 'carrot and stick' approach.
Many workplaces speak proudly of supporting work/life balance to the extent of even forcing people to take a vacation. But there is something not quite right about this. If taking a vacation is considered to be 'recharging', the implication is that work is 'draining'. Oh Uh! In the first place, work should not be draining. With the 'Rich Alignment', work would no more be about doing tasks. It will be about self-expression and finding fulfillment. Anyone who finds fulfillment in their work will give their 100%, without regard to carrot and stick. Many psychological studies prove that people excel in job-functions they like, and not necessarily in jobs that pay more. Foaum makes the 'Rich Alignment' easy. Management and Human resources in every corporation should steer their existing 'carrot and stick' programs and processes with the 'Rich Alignment' and all it takes is a few days of training and the help of a consultant. And by the way, vacation would still have a role, not to get 'recharged', but to enjoy other aspects of life and expand horizons. Coming to work in the morning should be as exciting as going home in the evening, one 'Rich Alignment' is in place.
The second important application in workplaces is Rich Integration. In the broader sense it means team compositions and departmental and organizational structures. Foaum through the concept of 'fractal organisms', provides a powerful and insightful abstraction and helps design high performing teams, departments and organizational structures.
The initiative of Human4ce (read as 'human force') is started to deliver workshops and design programs for the workplaces using the insights provided by Foaum. Please see the website human4ce.com for details.