November 14, 2006

"We" vs. "IFQ"

Managers have lots of little tips and tricks that they use to help them evaluate the frame of mind of their employees. One of my favorites is one I learned at Microsoft. It's called "the 'We' index." Next time you're talking to someone at another company, give this a shot.

To check the "we" index, strike up a conversation with a person about the company that they are at, and listen to how they verbally refer to their company.

If they say "we" a lot, they're happy with the company itself, and they feel like they belong. If they say "they" a lot, they're unhappy with the company, but still feel like they belong. If they say "I" a lot, they're happy with the company, but feel like they're alone in what they do. Finally, if they say the company's name a lot, they're not only unhappy with work, but they're extremely unhappy.

This works because the person who is speaking is completely unaware that they are doing it. It falls apart when they're writing E-mails, unfortunately, but in conversation, it can be an invaluable tool for determining the state of mind of a person related to their employment.

Now, there is a way that an employee can roughly evaluate themselves on this scale using what is called the "IFQ" index, but there is a catch. People who thought they were unhappy because of work have started feeling optimistic; others who have tried this method and thought they were happy started looking for other jobs. If you are open to that sort of experience, then advance to the next paragraph. Otherwise, see you next post.

To determine your "IFQ" index, go home. Kick everyone out of the house for ten to fifteen minutes. Go into the restroom and look straight into the mirror. Finally, say in the most convincing way that you can, "I fucking quit." Now think about how you feel after saying that.

If a pit has formed in your stomach and/or you feel slightly ill, then you would be miserable if you left where you are. If you aren't happy at work but you feel ill at the thought of leaving, that generally means that there is a specific something that is dragging you down and if you can find and isolate it, you'll enjoy work a lot more.

If you felt like a major weight has been lifted off your shoulders, you have two choices. The first choice is you can start looking for another job. Something has pissed you off to the point where even saying "you quit" has made you happy. The other option is to try to figure out what you want to get away from and try to correct those issues.

If you felt no change, sorry, no answer at this time...try again later.


GFree said...

I seem to recall you mentioning the difference between "we" and "I" in a previous post, but it's still an interesting observation. Don't think the "they" was mentioned before either.

Gotta try the IFQ though; did you happen to learn it from Microsoft too? :)

Sarkie said...

Someone heard him :)

The only thing with IFQ is the feeling of, "This job gives me money to live and support myself" then you feel guilt and wouldn't want to quit.