You can’t build your business of tomorrow on the brain of yesterday.
Recently, I had the opportunity to facilitate an all-day event for a group of entrepreneurs. After completing a session on the effects of unconscious bias in decision making, a gentleman who had remained quiet for most of the event blurted out a question. It seemed like it had been bubbling up inside of him all morning because it came out like a burst of energy. Joan, I’ve successfully run a 40 million dollar company for the last 10 years. Some years less, some years more, but when all is said and done, I’m at 40 million dollars. My response was simple, well then it seems you have a 40 million dollar brain. A brain that has been configured to support this level of sales volume, staff, issues, honors, and all that comes with it. His question made me think of Tony Robbins, the individual whose made his fortune on the importance of changing one’s mindset to accomplish the next level of goals.
From the leaders I’ve interviewed, it seems most are comfortable (even defensive) with their current brain bandwidth (size), and where it has taken them thus far in their career. Based on what I’ve learned from the neuroleadership space, my response is always the same:
Ahhh, but what could you be capable of if you stretched yourself, really got uncomfortable, and worked out that organ that acts like a muscle in new ways?
We speak often at our company of the Carol Dweck philosophy covering fixed or established intellectual property that largely remains stagnant, versus growth which opens up vast possibilities for new brain circuitry. Since the brain can be an incredibly heavy subject matter, I always like to use analogies. We all have some type of computer we use, and eventually we have to turn it in for an updated operating system; one that better supports the businesses continue requirements. How often do we experience a mental reboot, keeping the software suites that have served us, but upgrading them accordingly. Our research suggests that leaders rarely REBOOT because internal self-awareness is key, but tends to be a difficult place to begin this journey.
Coming to honest and unbiased terms with all that makes you great, and discovering areas in need of improvement can make a huge difference to the business, and the people who support it going forward. In this gentleman’s case, he confessed that everyone in his company had complained about his complete lack of planning. The “seat of his pants” approach was clearly supporting the status quo, and frustrating the hell of everyone around him. Beginning the journey to understanding one’s self in a non-judgmental way is the first step to a more evolved mindset, because if you’re looking to grow your business, size does matter.
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