Feb 17


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This story about Ben illustrates how easily a leader can shift a team member’s self-limiting perceptions. Progressive leaders and their leadership teams can learn to effect similar changes to produce breakthroughs in performance and gain a competitive edge. For leaders and team members, it is their perception of reality, not reality itself, which constrains them.

Does anyone you know ever constrain your organization’s productivity due to limiting beliefs? Do you or your team members ever let fear of failure or a hesitancy to step out of your comfort zone limit your actions? Have you ever been in a situation where it would be helpful to your organization for you or a colleague, customer, or vendor to see a particular situation or another colleague in a more useful way? Would it be helpful to you to have a key that unlocks employee performance?

Ben was noticeably nervous the first day that he visited the free clinic where I served as Executive Director. Ben was establishing his eligibility to receive free healthcare services from the clinic. I was interviewing Ben and doing a preliminary assessment of his health care needs. Ben, age 21, was accompanied by both his mother and grandmother for his appointment. Ben brought them with him for moral support as he did not venture out in public by himself for fear of having a panic attack. He came to the clinic to seek help with other health care needs. He believed that he was stuck for life with his debilitating fear of being in public places.

Having been trained to see perceiving as a creative act, I knew that Ben’s problem was a very treatable. I knew that if Ben pursued psychotherapy from a trained mental health professional that he could overcome his debilitating anxiety. While our clinic offers free mental health services, we were not the best place to provide the level of care that would be most helpful to Ben.

I invested an extra ten minutes that day coaching Ben in the presence of his family. I told him that his condition was very treatable. I told him that if he sought help that he could overcome his phobia. I referred him to our community’s mental health center to seek care because he had no income and they provide services to people who cannot afford to pay offer services for a minimal fee. My intent in coaching Ben was to shift Ben’s view of his anxiety, to have him “see” that his condition was treatable, and to then take action to resolve his phobia. I wanted him to understand that he did not need to let his anxiety limit his future possibilities.

Two months later, I was in my office working at my desk when Ben, who did not have an appointment, poked his head through my doorway. He said he just stopped by to thank me. He told me that he was receiving therapy at the community mental health center. He shared with pride that he is now going out in the community by himself. No one was with Ben that day. He had come by himself as further evidence of his progress.

While helping Ben to overcome his phobia involved multiple sessions of therapy, empowering Ben to take action took less than ten minutes. Ben’s view of his phobia shifted in our brief conversation from untreatable to treatable. He then took action to overcome his phobia.

Helping our customers learn how to empower people to take action to handle whatever challenges they encounter is one of the services that we provide. Your leaders can learn to empower your employees in a similar way. You can choose to handle some situations internally and connect others, like Ben, to whatever services that may be useful to help your employee and organization. The key is in shifting an employee’s experience of their capabilities and then getting them to take action. Changing how someone’s perceives reality involves effecting a higher level of change.

Progressive leaders and their leadership teams in the corporate world can learn to effect higher level change to produce breakthrough results and gain a competitive edge. Change does not necessarily take a long time. This type of change happens in a moment and can be initiated with a minimal investment of time and effort once leaders have honed skills in a disciplined practice. Just as Ben’s world shifted when he changed his view as to what was possible, a corporate leadership team can experience a similar shift and open up an abundance of innovative possibilities for you and your organization. If you are interested in giving your leadership team skills to be able to empower your employees to take action with minimal investment of time or effort then please contact us today so that we can have a conversation about how we can help your company to achieve these results.

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