Hijack! How Your Brain Blocks PerformanceOctober 28, 2012
How To Hack Your Brain – Part I: Trumping Cultural TriggersDecember 4, 2012
When driven by fear, human beings generally go to one of three places:
- They get stuck.
- They solve problems that don’t exist.
- They focus on the wrong problem—which is low leverage and doesn’t deliver the result they want.
In the Industrial Revolution, scientific management principles emerged to cope with the need to produce more, better, faster. And it worked.
But not anymore.
This “Old School” management style is synonymous with what many people think is leadership. This model operates on fear—the team member must perform or we’ll remove their ability to pay their mortgage, kids’ educational expenses, etc. Fear pushes people to take action.
In the Information Age, some of these principles and practices are still sound–hey, let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater–but some feel as obsolete as the Ford Edsel they were designed to produce. I have noticed that leaders who are able to grow their organizations rapidly in the face of accelerating technological and societal change—the people who create and foster innovation—exhibit certain characteristics. I call these characteristics “SmartTribe Accelerators.”
The leaders who use these Accelerators are the ones who pull their companies to and through inflection points. Plus, SmartTribe Accelerators will help you get what you want when you want it.
Fear Pushes, Vision Pulls
These SmartTribe Accelerators—focus, clarity, accountability, influence, and sustainable results—foster emotional engagement. We know that leaders elevate and cultivate others, so they don’t have to resort to primeval methods of control and manipulation—which misses our desired outcome anyway. We also know that as a leader cultivates these Accelerators their experience of personal fulfillment at work increases—as does that of their team members too. True leadership inspires people with vision. Vision pulls people to not only take action, but to care about the outcome, to take personal ownership of it, and to bring their “A Game” every day.
How do you rate on these accelerators? Find out by taking our 5-7 minute assessment now. You’ll learn how you rate in these areas:
Focused – Be here now, not in the past or future. We chose what we want to focus on and what we want to ignore or defer. Being focused is about both being attentive and aware of issues, challenges and the real numbers and events that are taking place.
Clear – Be clear and explicit in your words, actions, visions, intentions and strategies. Otherwise misunderstandings, miscommunications and wasted resources will result. Clarity strengthens a team’s commitment and trust with others and their projects.
Accountable – Make and keep commitments to yourself and others. Developing leaders give their accountability away to either other people or circumstances. The quality and speed of results are directly proportional to how much accountability one takes on about having those results.
Influential – How much influence do you have over outcomes and others? Developing leaders may think influence comes through domination. This is not sustainable, and results in a Crushed Culture. Influence occurs through our language, decision making, requests and promises, actions, intentions and ways of being.
Sustainable – Sustainability is the ability to play the game with equal or greater resources next time. It is about designing win-win agreements and interactions. Being unsustainable leads to quick leadership breakdowns, burnout, teams dissolving and low quality results. On the flipside, being sustainable creates the ability to continually grow and deliver consistent results.
To build and lead a SmartTribe, we need to make sure our people shift from their fear- and safety-driven Critter State to their innovation and possibility-driven Smart State. How? By ensuring their survival needs are met: that they know they are safe, they belong and they matter. That’s the first step in creating a SmartTribe.
Safety, belonging, and mattering are essential to your brain and your ability to perform at work, at home, and in your life overall. The greater the feeling of safety, both mental and physical; the greater the feeling of connection with others, or the feeling that we’re in this together and we belong together; the greater the feeling that we personally matter and make a difference and are contributing to the greater good; and the greater the success of the company, the relationship, the team, and the individual.
So let’s take stock of your company’s inflection point status below.
Are You Ready for Social Leadership?
Take our Inflection Point Assessment below to determine how ready you are to reach your next revenue inflection point. Social leadership will be key to get you there. Rate yourself on the following questions. Answer each with Yes or No, and total your answers at the end.
- Is your revenue growing as quickly as you want it to?
- Is your profit growing as quickly as you want it to?
- Do you have the right people in the right roles doing the right things?
- Are you retaining your superstar employees?
- Are you intentionally helping your executive team look into their blind spots, overcome challenging behaviors, and expand their vision and ability to elevate others?
- Have you identified your next generation of leaders?
- If so, are you following a specific, proven process to cultivate them?
- Would you like to get more accountability, communication, and execution from your team?
- Are you navigating rapid growth or turnaround where internal priorities are frequently shifting and the team is challenged to quickly adapt and stretch?
- Do you rarely have conflict/backstabbing/silos between departments and/or team members?
- Does your culture focus more on positive outcomes instead of negative outcomes?
- Do you know how to scale and allocate your human resources to get more done with fewer people?
- Are you keeping your finger on the pulse of the culture and implementing programs to increase emotional equity?
If you have five or more “No” answers, you’re at risk of getting stuck between inflection points.
Look at your score above. What are the key areas where you have the greatest opportunity for growth? Is it in cultivating your culture and team? Increasing or optimizing your revenue? Streamlining your operations?
What inflection point are you headed toward? See the chart in my previous blog . Do you have all of the “People”, “Money”, “Model” components from all previous inflection points, plus those for your targeted inflection point, in place?
In a future blog we’ll explore a common performance hijack—and how to move around it or worst case, through it!
Christine Comaford is a five-time CEO with 700% ROI on her company exits. She coaches executives to achieve remarkable results in performance and operational efficiency by combining neuroscience and business strategy.Follow her on Twitter (@comaford) and download an excerpt of her upcoming book SmartTribe: Creating a Culture That Outperforms, Outsells, Outinnovates the Competition at www.SmartTribeBook.com.