Monday 22 May 2017

The powerful paradoxes of choice and chance

“The history of free man is never written by chance but by choice - their choice.”
Dwight D. Eisenhower

In ‘The 8th Habit’, my favourite Stephen R. Covey book, he refers to our freedom to choose as our first birth gift.

The eighth habit is "Find your voice and inspire others to find theirs."

Tap into the above by genuinely empowering people to make the every day decisions in your business.

In my slideshare below you’ll see research that suggests at least half the decisions made by business leaders are not the best decisions that could be made.

You mitigate the risks associated with the best decisions not being made by empowering people to make every day decisions and by adopting a process for big decisions like the one in slide 10 of the above slideshare.

I love Nordstrom, the US department store. Their employee manual says:

We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them. Rule #1: Use best judgement in all situations. There are no additional rules. Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

What does your employee manual say?

Take a chance with the above actions and you will greatly rehumanise your leadership and management, and paradoxically you’ll reduce human error in the big and every day decisions made.

Decision-making structures and systems like those referred to above are a key part of ensuring that your management (processes, policies, procedures, practices, and systems) mean it is simple for your people to bring their very best to their work every day.

We choose our thoughts and our emotions

I read a great insight in the Virgin Airlines Voyeur magazine from performance psychologist Dr. Phil Jauncey:

“There is a big misconception in sport and the corporate arena in which people think you need to get your mind right to perform, but that’s not true.

Mental toughness isn’t the ability to get your mind right before an event, it’s being able to execute when your mind is saying you can’t.”

In the article Jauncey is also quoted as saying that there are four reasons we fail under presssure:
“we don’t know what to do
we don’t know how to do it
we don’t have the ability to do it
we choose not to do it”.

I agree with all of these.  We choose not to do it was the one that got me really thinking.  In my reflections I contrasted Jauncey’s insights with some great thinking in the book ‘Resilience’.

“For most of us, emotions are things that happen to us.” Zolli and Healy say in their book.  They go on to say “Researchers who study mindfulness and attention often conceive of our emotions differently. In their view, emotions are not things that happen to us.”  My take from reading the book is that we choose our emotions just as we choose our thoughts.

What are you choosing to feel and think today?

If you don’t know what to do or how to do something you can learn.

We also need to be candid with ourselves if we simply do not have the ability to learn how to do something.

What we choose is what really matters.

What are you choosing to feel and think today?

And could you change what’s normal in your life and make better choices for your well-being and growth?

“It’s not what happens to you.  It’s what you do about it”

I am a big fan of W Mitchell the originator of the above statement.  If you ever have the chance to hear Mitchell speak, don’t miss it! Of all the 1000's of speeches I have heard I remember his the most.

Whatever happens to you this week, don’t react.  Instead respond in a way that will likely lead you to the future you want.

The moment something happens it’s the past.  We can’t change the past.  We can respond in the present in ways that determine a better future.

The paradox of profits

Embrace a particular paradox - the paradox of profits, and you'll unleash human energy and creativity in your business as this short paper from John Mackey and Raj Sisodia beautifully articulates.

In the 26 years that I've been helping business owners and leaders to focus on reasons I know beyond any doubt that when we focus on reasons, results take care of themselves.

What are you choosing to focus on, results or reasons?

Be remarkable.

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