Recently, I was working with a large global mining company that had four teams classified as low-performance because they had process losses greater than 10%. This leads to languishing (or even extinction) if no intervention is done. Our objective was to bring the four teams at least at the level of the Losada line, which ensures the team reaches complexor dynamics and, consequently, is able to flourish as I illustrated in 2005 with Barbara Fredrickson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
What is the path that can take us from languishing to flourishing? This path is nonlinear. Nonlinearity is a bad word. It doesn’t define what it is, it only says what is not. Some things in this world are linear, like the accelerator in a car: the more I press it, the faster the car goes. It is a good thing that the accelerator is linear; it would be disastrous if it were nonlinear. Like the accelerator, there are many other devices that are useful because they are linear.