Has your mindset resulted in an UNconscious "bolt-on quality business"...that could be going out-of-business?
In my 26 May newsletter, I commented on the historical tendency of quality improvement to take an unwitting “victim” posture. I made a case that a new mindset is needed to accelerate the pace of success.
A mindset is a belief system through which one filters events, then unconsciously and reflexively reacts to situations. These reactions result from deeply entrenched "rules" – If / then statements – shaped in response to events of the first 20 years of one's life.
Here's the uncomfortable part, which was a shock (an understatement) when I discovered this for myself 25 years ago: our beliefs are "perfectly designed" to produce behaviors that guarantee the results we already get!
For example, a belief that could be driving the victim behavior of people in quality: "IF we aren't getting results, THEN it's because our role is so misunderstood and we aren't getting the support we need."
So if you find yourself frustrated and stuck in an ongoing quagmire of missed opportunity, guess what? – that belief has created this situation!
Shocked? The good news: it is that very shock that opens you to consider a new belief that could be beneficial in driving new results.
I had a huge "AHA!" when I realized that a lack of desired personal and organizational results is usually due to self-defeating beliefs. It is so easy to become stuck in what could be called the unconscious business mindset (true for organizations and executives as well):
- Repeating the same patterns and problems over and over again
- Not identifying yourself (itself) as the source of those patterns and problems
- Spending a lot of time ignoring or recycling the pattern
- Getting defensive when encountering resistance where enlightenment could be sought
- Thinking of yourself as a victim, resulting in
- Expending considerable energy trying to prove it's not your fault
- Not expressing your full creativity and having a variety of excellent reasons why you're not doing so.
..."How can I change my beliefs to drive behaviors that get people to change their beliefs about my role?" *
* (by getting results that SHOCK them into a new respect for your role)
My challenge to you for creating a conscious, "built-in improvement" mindset: Why not:
- stop producing reports with bar graphs, trend lines, and traffic lights (reading assignment for the week)
- start demonstrating more productive displays by taking a current situation and quietly solving it (review
of last week's)
Take a deep breath. Logically, we all know that (1) is a good thing. But at this instant, I can hear the hundreds of reasons (beliefs) circulating in your heads, especially: "IF I did this, THEN it would be political suicide!" Perhaps. But, if you allow that belief to continue, what will change? Nothing!
Of course, doing (1) overnight would indeed be political suicide! But get innovative: how could you go about accomplishing it creatively without being tainted by that self-defeating belief? Perhaps by considering an alternative belief that leverages the data INsanity demotivator:
"IF I can get unprecedented results by quietly demonstrating the destructiveness of useless displays and showing simpler alternatives that make people's lives easier and cut down on wasted meeting time, THEN that will begin to get respect and trust for my role."
Regarding (2): I can already hear, "But I'm too busy to find the time to do that." Whenever I hear the excuse (belief) of "lack of time," I ask the person to substitute the word "priority" for "time."
If you continue to stay busy doing what you do, what will change? Nothing!
Ask: "What do I need to STOP doing, START doing, and CONTINUE doing?
Consider an alternative belief, "IF I desire results worthy of my role, THEN doing (2) is not only a priority, it is a necessity to STOP so much unproductive activity."
Could you somehow do this innovatively while simultaneously working on changing your perceived "suicide belief" about (1)?
It is only when you realize that a current unconscious belief, now made conscious, is not working that you have begun a difficult but necessary breakthrough in thinking. Challenge yourself: "What is a more productive alternative belief, and can I choose to ingrain it into my belief system so that it will reflect in my behavior – long term?" Only time
Anyone can change behavior for a couple of weeks.
So look at your current results, own them, examine the implicit underlying belief system about your job and begin to consider choosing some new beliefs (especially regarding data displays). Or else...
...someone else's beliefs about your job could result in a job furlough or worse.
With warm regards, best wishes, and gratitude for your readership,
- Chapter 3 of Data Sanity explores the belief system concept in depth.
- The 10 examples of Chapter 2 will be your guide to getting results that will SHOCK! your culture's belief system about your role to get the respect you deserve.
- Data Sanity was designed to create dialogue between executives and improvement practitioners while simultaneously creating a common organizational language for everyone – to embed “improvement” into leadership and organizational
- A very valuable adjunct resource: I have shared the outstanding, easy-to-use run and control chart macro BPChart with over a thousand of you over the years. Its developer, my respected colleague Mike Mercer, has now made it available as a commercial product. Given the current prices of software, it is a steal! (I want to make it clear that I have no commercial interest)
- Click here for more information, contact Mike via e-mail or through his web site, and he will get the ball rolling (great guy!): Mike@MercerQualityConsulting.com
- I have a free simplified tutorial that I would be delighted to share with you (contact me) -- it teaches the "20 percent of BPChart that will solve 80 percent of your problems."
Transforming organizations by creating transformed colleagues