Become more fully aware or conscious than ever before and move from survivor to achiever in today’s business environment.
“Vision is born out of the abstract conditions of reverent unknowing and the ability to trust an emergent design. The bold new forms that further consciousness and change our world, come through more like an inspired whisper then a definitive scream.” – Jerry Wennstrom, author and artist.
Today’s business arena demands that executive management teams should be more conscious than ever before. This simply means that the people in organisations are required to be fully aware, fully alive and totally in tune with the needs and expectations of their clients and customers.
Companies who believe that a focus on getting more customers will save them, run the risk of neglecting what they already have. Customer retention should be a primary focus, as you create magic and meaning for and with your clients.
Coaching a conscious team and leaders is a non-pop psychology experience that belies the frame of mind so often held by managers/leaders that it is a soft issue and “fluffy”. Consider this case study: Thomas, a mid-level manager in logistics, mentioned the following when asked what internal shifts took place after a year of being coached on becoming a conscious manager:
Survivor to Achiever, Tom’s story
“It sounds corny but I am aware of my feelings more deeply and understand the origin and messages that they are trying to send me and I respond accordingly. I expected this would be ‘hubby bubbly pop psychology’’, yet I have now made a connection with my authentic self.
“It is amazing to understand what it means to be myself truly and fully. My hardest lesson was to let go of the uncontrollable. It changed my perspective about people and about situations as I came to the full realisation that everyone is alive and equal irrespective of what their background or diversity dictates.
“The management of my team together with the management of our key performance areas and strategic outcomes has now become a pleasure because I now have a high degree of clarity and we are fully aware of the drivers, despite distractions and deflections that can come our way. We sense the slightest shift far quicker than we did when we were in crisis mode and unaware”.
Unconscious to conscious
A study on work performance has shown that 68% of team members who were studied were functioning in a deeply entrenched unconscious mode in their workplace. The following signs and symptoms were in evidence:
- lack of passion;
- lack of conviction that talent can meet challenge;
- lack of enthusiasm and energy to apply creative and innovative solutions;
- floating in a comfort zone of performing on a par to the last performance measurement;
- disengaged team meetings with minimal information dissemination;
- no pro-active thinking and not solution-orientated; and
- A growing mindset of entitlement.
These symptoms create a high risk situation as individuals in this category are open to fraud, mistakenly informed by an inner voice claiming that they are “taking what the company should have given them anyway”. This mindset costs companies millions in terms of having to re-invent the wheel, managing in crisis mode rather than in a proactive, intentional mode leading to greater productivity and positive team stimulus.
What does it mean to live a conscious life?
Moving from survivor to achiever requires living consciously but how do define this in practice. If you live a conscious life you have learned levels of choice and ownership. It is a life that is adaptive and dynamic. People whose lives don’t reflect these attributes often live as victims affected by change.
Reality and awareness are two major components and competencies that we need in order to live with intention in our work and life. Beaumont, an executive master coach, was working with a team of top executives from an international financial house. He wanted to facilitate and coach an internalisation and realisation of how perceptive and aware they actually were in terms of their work life circumstances and realities. He asked them to note how clearly they were aware of the following:
- A personal development plan – how the details are integrated into daily work and key performance areas;
- Personal strengths and weaknesses – how we need to intentionally stretch ourselves to get to know ourselves better and to apply both strengths and weaknesses into our reality;
- How well our team of direct reports know each other, and know us, and how well do I know them in terms of their values, beliefs, skills, knowledge and cultural realities;
- How well do I know my team in order to manage and lead them in practical ways to get the best out of them?;
- How does where am I present gaps in my team? How do I empower each person, based on their strengths and weaknesses, to close those gaps and enhance their skills?;
- Am I aware of exactly how my team and I need to function and what to focus on in terms of improving efficiency, effectiveness, profitability and productivity ‘by 23% in our division by the next quarter’?;
- Can every member in my team clearly communicate my five expectations and outcomes that are critical to me as leader and manager, and do they know what their roles and functions with regard to fulfilling these outcomes are, collectively and individually?;
- Does my team have a very clear picture and understanding of my definitions of what is good, very good, excellent and outstanding? Do they know what behaviours are in line with each of these behavioural definitions?;
- How and where am I in terms of the bigger picture of the process and detail of circumstances in my company culture and how does this impact on outcomes in your division?;
- Do I as leader/manager know what the essence and the essentials of our organisational plan are that require focus; how to delegate what needs to be delegated, how to communicate it clearly and in such a way that a higher degree of interpersonal relationships are achieved?
Beaumont revealed that this team of high profile, top, energetic and highly qualified executives were functioning on a conscious clarity level of 57%. In terms of world benchmarking this is average. There is 43% growth potential and it is this gap between actual performance and growth potential that creates all the miscommunication, management by default, crisis management and unpleasant surprises in the workplace!
Beaumont paid particular attention to this gap and coached each executive to move their teams from survivor to achiever mode by shifting their thinking from just communicating to becoming more conscious in terms of their reality by means of connection with their staff and direct reports.
Marilee Goldberg PhD wrote a review entitled “Expert question asking: the engine of successful coaching”. She argues that the basic mindset model is that of learner and judge. Asking the right questions in the right way moves people from Survivor to achiever.
A ‘judge’ mindset asks “what is wrong with the other person, the situation and me?”, “whose fault is it?”, “how can I stay in control?” and typically, “how can I look good?”.
A ‘learner” mindset on the other hand asks “what is right about the other person, the situation and me?”, “what am I responsible for?”, “what are my choices and options?”, and importantly, “what can I learn?”.
I offer conscious-integrated learning experiences to executive teams and C-Level leaders and boards of companies. The aim is clarity of focus in a mind-frame of higher awareness. Simply put, it demands that a manager is aware of the income and expense items on the budget, but even beyond that, to be aware of the mind frame and consequent behaviour of his team, which ultimately drives income and expenses. When making performance presentations, this goes beyond rhetoric to a deeper connection with team members through conscious conversations. In this way, a manager gets the all-important buy-in, but also the more lasting benefit of unlocking individual purpose and intentional contribution.
The aim of this blog post is to facilitate and encourage interactivity with our readers. You are welcome to contact me with your views and questions on moving from survivor to achiever, so that we can establish a lively debate and together arrive at new insights.