The office phone rang one day and a referral asked if I could help him “fix his people who were not performing!” He spent most of the time on the phone telling me how his people were letting him down, not working together well, and not performing as they should.
He said, “Is this something you think you can fix?”
My answer to him was the same as it is with all my other clients, “Well, let me ask you this: If you are part of the problem, which everyone is, are you willing to take a look at yourself as well?”
As with many of my prospects, I got a quick response, “Well of course, but they will just have to step it up.”
I hear this mindset often from management as they talk about their people and what they need from them to succeed. Interestingly, I hear a similar mindset when I talk to the employees who believe: “Management needs to step it up and get a clue on what is reality and stop barking unrealistic orders!”
Thoughts of fear and lack perpetuate judging and blaming across departments and hierarchy silos, as each group believes, “If THEY would just do their job right, I could do mine right!” The truth is: fear and lack will never get you what you want. Only collaboration and innovation on the vision and goals will propel you forward.
Eliminating internal competition and chaos, and increasing performance, is simply a matter of changing the mindset of an organization.
Organizations operate under one of two mindsets:
- Possibility thinking around vision and goals: The “why” we are in business and “what” we need to do to accomplish our vision.
- Thoughts around lack and fear: What isn’t working and fear about “not being enough,” “What’s in it for me?” and “Make me feel important!”
According to psychologist Abraham Maslow, our thoughts can easily change from focusing on possibility thinking to lack and fear because instinctively we have our own individual needs for safety, security, love and belonging.
Common situations that can trigger a mindset of lack and fear:
- An unexpected bill
- A co-worker was let go
- Loss of a big client
- Passed up for a promotion
- Missed the goal
- An idea was shot down
- We didn’t feel heard
- We felt judged and criticized
- We aren’t sure how we are adding value
- We forgot “why” we were working for the company and it became mundane day-to-day
When we are triggered and our lack and fear mindset takes center stage over our possibility thinking, our behavior automatically becomes more self-serving and controlling. It is difficult to be collaborative and innovative when we have a lack and fear mindset.
Here are some practical ways you can create an environment of possibility thinking:
- Tie all goals to the vision. Have your vision statement and goals aligned on posters. Use your intranet site, business cards, etc. Make it visual and top of the mind awareness.
- Be specific on what best practices and initiatives need to occur to meet the goals. Collaborate on who will do what by when. It is much easier to hold people accountable to ideas they help create and commit to doing.
- Show progress-to-goals. Make it visual on a regular basis, not just quarterly.
- Have meetings and huddles to problem solve issues to create better alignment to the vision and goals. Do this with groups and individuals.
- Celebrate progress often and acknowledge baby steps to keep it positive and fun.
No matter how proactive you are in creating a culture of possibility thinking, fear will still find a way in your business and life. When it does, you can easily respond by noticing conversations that are based on lack and fear. When this occurs, calmly ask a problem-solving question, be open-minded to all possibilities, and choose your best option that will give you a return on investment to meet your vision and goals.
Challenge: What will you do to create more possibility thinking on your vision and goals? Remember, be the change you want to see in others!
Susan K. Wehrley is an author, speaker, business coach and consultant specializing in organizational communication and growth. You can visit her websites at www.solutionsbysusan.com or www.BIZremedies.com She can be reached at (414) 581-0449 or email@example.com.