Horizons University, one of the best and most affordable online universities available, has a powerful course in their MBA program. In our programs, the idea is not just the assimilation of theory, but most importantly its application. For example one of the hot topics discussed in “Leadership in Contemporary Organizations” is productivity improvement. There are lots of discussions on this topic, but the essence of successful productivity improvement is found (not surprisingly) within the behaviors of the leaders.
For starters, what is productivity?
Productivity consists of selecting the right output (i.e., doing the right thing) and turning the input needed into output in the best possible way (i.e., doing the thing right) and doing it all the time (i.e., with no down time).
Selecting the right output is called effectiveness, turning input into output in the best possible way is called efficiency, and doing it all the time is called occupancy.
Effectiveness is attained when all non-essential outputs and inputs are screened, the remaining outputs and inputs are produced by the ideal task performers (i.e., properly delegated), and this process is not just for the moment, but for the foreseeable future (i.e., properly planned).
More than one day of every week (23.4%) is spent waiting. In principle, all waiting time can be eliminated. The largest amount of waiting time is incurred by people who are waiting for approvals or decisions (753.3%), waiting for materials and supplies (617.6%) and waiting for information (490.0%). Since each 100% represents a person year, these 819 people (819 possible person years) spend 18.6 person years waiting for these three items.
So what do we do about this challenge?
The Cognitive Domain
The process used to arrive at our conclusions so far is completely cognitive. According to Hannah Arendt , the cognitive domain is defined by the three axes of thinking, judging, and willing. The cognitive domain is central to performance improvement, because it is through our thinking, judging, and willing processes that we arrive at the goals and objectives we desire, and the strategy to reach them. It is the domain that we all know, and virtually all our education is structured so as to make us master this domain.
But performance improvement requires change. And change, unfortunately, occurs mostly in another domain ⎯ the affective domain.
The Affective Domain
Think about the great leaders who have impacted your life… perhaps it was a family member, a teacher or a boss? Chances are what made them great was their mastery of the affective domain.
Through the work of pioneers like Albert Mehrabian and James Russell , we know the dimensions of this domain. These dimensions consist of one axis that measures satisfaction, one axis that measures stress, and one axis that measures control. Their work made it possible to plot human emotions using coordinates from -1 to +1 in this three-dimensional space.
Dividing the space into octants (Dahl, 1993), it became possible to isolate leadership domains from followership domains (by use of the dimension of control), and characterize these domains by the impact of stress and satisfaction. Much to our surprise, we have found that the eight octants formed by the three axes consistently and predictably divide into high performance and low performance domains.
The implications of this are profound. The cognitive domain is involved with thought preceding action. The affective domain is involved with the action, or the change itself. People change when they are involved, engaged, enthusiastic, and committed — all of these states are found in the affective domain. To know how to operate in this domain is to know how to make change easy, or to make it hard; to know how to create peak performance, or to stop change dead in its tracks.
In this innovative course (held online, in class and on Second Life) examines the affective domain closely, and stops long enough at each leadership and followership domain so that it becomes possible to understand how each domain functions, and how each domain is created. Our goal… to help you reach your potential as a great leader.
Aspire to greatness, then we would recommend:
1) Get that degree you have been putting off;
2) Start leading in the affective domain.
 Arendt, Hannah, “The Life of the Mind,” Vol. I-II, New York and London: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, New York, 1978.
 “Evidence for a Three-Factor Theory of Emotions,” Russell, James A., and Mehrabian, Albert; Journal on Research in Personality, Vol. II, PP. 273-294, 1977.