George Bernard Shaw is reputed to have described a sick man as “being unable to think of anything but his ailment”. The general malaise and depression that swamps much of our news, both regionally and from around the world, is reminiscent of Shaw’s sick man. Get too close to a problem and you can’t see beyond it.
Our organisations and businesses are being driven by a management obsessed with ‘looking in the rear view mirror’. Think about it! What goes on in meetings in organisations and businesses, day in day out? How much of the focus is on what has been going wrong, and why? How much time is devoted to looking at trends, and graphs, and budget forecasts based on productivity over the last month, quarter or year? How much of the employee performance appraisal is devoted to the fine detail of relative value and contribution of people over the past quarter or year, and not about the development, potential and possibilities in the future?
When managers are obsessed by the problems of the here and now, the next decision, the next quarterly review, the next appraisal or the next monthly operational review data pack (… please save us from the dreaded review pack !!), then they are focused on the ailment.
Where is the vision in all of this? Where are we going? Stop looking in the rear-view mirror and covering your back. Leaders and visionaries seek new horizons. They drive with purpose, with eyes scanning beyond the car windshield and out onto the road that extends into the horizon.
Never mind asking, “What’s the next step we need to take to achieve success?”
What form will success take for you and your business? And, how will you know you are being successful? What’s possible?
Dare to dream, and dream big. The irony of our brains is that, at one and the same time, they are remarkably sophisticated interconnected wonders of nature, and rudimentary biological organs, with neurons that fire in similar ways whether the experience is real or imagined. We can take advantage of this fact, by ‘fooling’ the brain with dreams and visions. The more elaborate and ‘real’ we make our dreams, the more connections and neural pathways we create. The more we rehearse the dream, the more chance of it becoming a reality. The more times we have lived the dream in our heads, the more prepared we are to face the challenges and take the opportunities that arise when we eventually get to live the dream for real.
Sports people know this phenomenon well. They use positive visualisation techniques alongside their physical training regimes to help them prepare for peak performance, and be ready to perform when it really matters. Football players cannot reproduce in training the intensity of taking the vital kick in a penalty shoot-out in a World Cup Final. However, by visioning, they can play the scene over in their head hundreds of times, and actually create physical changes in their brains. As a result, they possess the neural ‘experience’ to go along with their football skills that allows them to hold their nerve, blank out the crowd, and do exactly what they have done a hundred times before in their heads.
Muhammad Ali described this best, when he said, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights”.
If you feel that you or members of you team would benefit from exploring areas that will make substantial improvements to your effectiveness and productivity, please do get in touch. Simply submit your contact details on the Contact Us page and I will be delighted to get in touch with you for an informal initial chat.