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The unrecognized reason why executing a strategy is stopped cold

by Kevin D. Crone

May 22, 2018
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She was sitting in a cowered position hoping I wouldn’t ask her a question, let alone demonstrate the behaviours we were working on. I thought “How does she do the job now or what we (the client) are asking her to do in the future?”

This is a common occurrence in a training or business meeting for anyone trying to get employees to adapt to what’s required in their business. Changes are necessary these days and adaptation and improvement is the focus of a manager and coach. Managers try to figure out how to adapt to market or operational changes, create plans and try to execute them through their people, and Bam! They’re stopped cold. Strategy has no traction. Why? One of the biggest reasons is that many people are too concerned about how they look, too timid to try new methods so that performance can be allowed to improve.

It’s so subtle that we hardly realize the timidity or self-centered fear or anxiety that shows up in people, in meetings and especially in training projects… and this is what’s holding back so many business strategies. It’s easy to get bluffed out by sour conversations consisting of blaming outside circumstances, bosses, the market, culture, lack of help, money and support, etc.

Let’s face it. The resources are rarely there. As managers we can run around trying to fix those complaints and of course many are somewhat true – part of the reality, but… and that’s a big but – we can forget that this bluster is many times designed to hide people’s lack of confidence. Especially their inability to look at themselves and just say “I’m uncomfortable doing whatever it is we need to do.”

How many of your people are held back because they are uncomfortable doing things that are required?

What’s needed to make change happen is for employees to take a stand for the change, speak up positively in groups about it, take coaching on the desired behaviours, instead of complaining and blaming.

  • How many are just kidding themselves into bluster and self-centered nonsense? How they show up in the world is judged by their actions and behaviour – period. We need employees to blast out of their shells, get their heads out of their digital devices and into helping and leading others to get better.

How about you? What are you uncomfortable with? How do you need to show up?

Another big reason why strategies do not get traction, is too many training and business meetings end at what we’ve called the six o’clock knowledge trap . At one o’clock on the cycle of performance improvement, people recognize a need. At three o’clock, they realize through acquiring new knowledge what they need to do differently, to learn and do differently. At five o’clock, they may develop a desire to improve, they see what it will mean to them to do so, and then – BAM – they stop at the six o’clock “knowledge trap”. They rationalize that because they understand something new, they think they can do it, will do it and make it a new habit. Then they don’t get busy implementing the new behaviour over and over until new habits are comfortably accepted in their nervous system.

They usually end up seeking more and different information because they don’t develop the skills and habits required and the repetitive process continues. They somehow think that knowledge is all there is.

Come on… it might be in school, but not in life and in business!

We are measured by how we perform, not by what we know! We succeed by implementing what we learn, not by Googling and gathering information.

In our digital world, many can hide behind thinking that our habits don’t matter, that our actions aren’t the answer. And there is nothing worse than an informed, educated person bluffing you out so that they don’t have to do, apply or implement anything new. They’re not getting better at the habits your business requires. Don’t let them off the hook. They have to get better and perform. So do you and I.

There are professional analysts who add science to these comments. One who resides in Burlington recently said, through his research data, that it’s the biggest cause of poor execution. And very few logical business people realize it.

So, don’t get bluffed out. Don’t get talked out of dragging your people through the knowledge trap. Instead, get them to eight o’clock on the cycle, where they’re practicing, rehearsing, choreographing how they implement the new behaviour with customers, associates and/or their team. Then blast them into repetitive planned action over a period of time until habits develop and they ultimately become comfortable doing the things they’re uncomfortable trying.

Then push them to nine o’clock under the watchful eye of a skilled coach/trainer who will make them do what they need to do.

Anyone can get better and move forward. They’re not a tree! They can face fear by doing the things they’re afraid of. Anyone can. Is this difficult? Sure – so what.

Is it supposed to be easy? Come on, life and business isn’t easy. We wouldn’t have opportunities if things were easy. As Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish it was easier. Wish you were better!” Find coaching and training where coaching is included, and you will get better.

MMM Action

  • Don’t get bluffed out! After you figure out your strategy, stretch people.
  • What should you be better at in 2018?
  • What does your team need to adapt to, and what behaviours would improve their performance?
  • What are you doing to get into the right habits so that you perform even better this year?
  • What are you going to do to get you and your people into those new habits?

Now get it done!

Have an enthusiastic week!

Have a great week!

Kevin D. Crone
Chairman
Dale Carnegie Business Group
kdcrone@dalecarnegie.ca
(905) 826-7300

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