As a business owner, you make hundreds of decisions on a daily basis. They are not all big choices—in fact, most of them would be considered unimportant. The words you choose to greet your secretary in the morning. Your body language and the non-verbal cues you send in your morning meeting. Your approach while mediating a dispute between two department heads. Your reaction to receiving bad news—and your attitude as you address the challenge presented by this news. Sure, these are not strategic level decisions—but the sum total of these "little" decisions will go a long way towards determining the effectiveness of your organization.
Now here is the kicker: many of these decisions are made unconsciously. In fact, some experts estimate that 95% or more of our cognitive processing each day happens unconsciously. Rather than creating a deliberate strategy to make effective decisions on a daily basis, most business owners and managers allow these hidden thought patterns and unconscious tendencies to make the decisions for them. So today we are going to take a look at several common unconscious tendencies many of us convey without even realizing it.
1) Do you expect to succeed? What is your reaction to a setback or challenge? When you plan for the future of your organization, do you expect to achieve your goals? Study after study has confirmed that positive thinking has real power—whether it is attempting a diet, training for a sport, or shaking up your marketing strategy, if you believe you are going to succeed, you are more likely to do so. Experts believe that most people generate between 25,000 and 50,000 thoughts each day—so learning to think positive can make a tremendous impact on a daily basis.
2) Are you outwardly oriented? It is human nature to be self-centered. Our natural first reaction to virtually any development, whether good or bad, is to wonder "how does this impact me?" Truly successful leaders learn to overcome this tendency and to think of others before themselves. This builds tremendous trust and loyalty on the part of colleagues and employees who recognize that their leader has their interests in mind.
3) Are you open to conflicting ideas? You like to be right. That’s normal—nobody enjoys being wrong. Unfortunately, we often take this too far and refuse to acknowledge evidence or opinion that may contradict our beliefs. We would rather be "right" than to accept the truth. But by closing ourselves off to new ideas and new learning, we limit our ability to grow. Learning is a process—we are never "done."
Do you identify with any of these common thought patterns? If so, you may be restricting the growth and the success of your team and your business without even realizing it. Make a commitment to practice positive thinking, to consider the needs of your team as well as your own, and to keep an open mind when it comes to opinions and ideas that challenge your beliefs. You will be amazed at the difference your efforts make on a daily basis.
[Image: Flickr user krischall]