Subconscious stakes

We are often taught to consider the stakes of all parties involved in a certain issue. Many businesses and NGOs regularly do stakeholder analyses when creating a marketing plan in order to understand the aids and obstacles to their plans. In doing so, they seldom take into account the subconscious drives of those same players. Thus, agreements made on the surface don’t always match the movements on intangible levels.

Some examples. Money and profit are conscious stakes. Having a house, a night in bed with a colleague, stepping up the career ladder are personal conscious stakes. Nature conservation, policy making or cleaning up de city, basically any project goal is a conscious stake.

Personal subconscious stakes include control over the own situation, being recognized by a colleague, dominion over others, harmony on the work floor, adventure, doing the good thing and seeing your ideas manifest in reality.

A conscious stake for one may be subconscious for the other, and one stake can be conscious one day, but grow into the subconscious. It’s dynamic. The extent to which you are aware of your stakes determines how much in control your are once the heat gets on, for example during a meeting when those stakes start to matter.

Here’s why I’m bringing this up. Unfortunately people are often unaware of stakes that take a hinderingly dominant form. It can hamper their ability so see clear once a meeting is on. In some cases, they can’t communicate anymore. Whether they need to be right, drift off from the conversation or feel too insecure to speak their minds, they stop paying attention to views of others. Plans become less determined. They lose stability. Lose their rational base. In a wilderness of actions, any asshole can do what he wants.

I believe that unacknowledged subconscious stakes cause more harm in society than we are aware of. They are important to see and to consider for anyone working in a team. We could do so much better if we manage those as well.


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