I may sound like a stuck record, but some ideas are worthy of repetition. If you want to become the best business owner, director, manager, salesperson or tea-maker you can be and access the best possible results (for the company, its customers and yourself), the first order of business is YOU!
This is true irrespective of how big your business has become, the sector it operates in, and at what stage of development it is.
The results companies achieve are a consequence of:
· how well you understand the market you are serving
· the level of creativity you can bring to your product, customer service and organisation
· your ability to influence others to become engaged customers, suppliers or team members
· the quality of your commercial decision making; and
· the effectiveness, intensity and focus of your action-taking.
The challenge is that these abilities are heavily impacted by our state of mind and mediated by the underlying stories we use to position ourselves and make sense of the commercial world.
We need a yardstick to be able to understand how we are showing up in each moment.
Luckily, we have one. There is a way that each of us shows up, which is our very best. It is a unique physical and mental position that we each hold that can be learned to recognise and calibrate ourselves.
Just knowing this enables us to stop making bad situations worse, saying things we’ll regret and missing the present opportunities around us.
From this position, it is possible to see past the limitations, restrictions, distortions and stress thresholds that have become woven into our identity, what we think we want and how we believe the others, and the world of business works.
Our personal stories are the deeply coded and intricately mapped perspectives of the world.
They are the invisible puppet-master pulling our strings while giving us the false sense that we are operating from free will and rationality. These stories are either the rocket fuel that propels us forward or the cage that holds us in place.
Beyond these stories lies untapped levels of creativity, curiosity, clarity, commitment and courage that allow us to break out of our current position and drive the results and experiences that feel beyond our current reach. This transformation is just one new thought away.
So how do you create this breakout?
One of the tools in my kitbag that works well is the three stories. I use this exercise to get people to notice the differences in the stories they tell about the situations they are or have been in. Feel free to try it for yourself, but it comes with a health warning. You need to be brutally honest, and this may cause some discomfort.
The first part of the exercise is to spend some time thinking about the nature of the most significant opportunity/problem that is going on in your business life right now. Maybe it’s a financial challenge, perhaps a relationship that isn’t working within the business, or perhaps you are just not feeling the love for the company, or your role, in it.
The second part of the exercise is to tell the three versions of the story:
- The one you tell yourself
- The one you tell others
- The one that others tell about you
If you didn’t feel your sphincter tighten at this point, you haven’t got the full magnitude of what is being asked of you here.
The very idea that there are three versions of the same story should give you a clue as to the variability and unreliability of your story.
Still, the gaps and differences between these versions hold essential clues to how you perceive and respond to the world around you.
It gives you clues to the identity you hold for yourself and how you try to protect yourself from the potential for failure or rejection (never a good orientation for someone operating in the commercial world). It also, and perhaps most importantly, yields a clue for moving towards a more desirable situation.
When I am directly engaged in this exercise with people, my role is to use my finely honed skills and my commercial/psychological knowledge base to guide them into the path of the insights they need. These insights enable them to see beyond their current limitations and move unimpeded into action. It allows them to get where they want to get much quicker in ways that are enjoyable and contain personal growth for them.