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Your Subconscious Is Working Against You

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  • Apr 12, 2022
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We were recently running a workshop with one of our client’s management team. 

We were discussing the mindset required to shift from thinking “sales” to “solutions providers” – identifying what our customer’s pains are and then providing a solution to their problem.

One of the participants, Fred*,remarked, “I get that, but no matter how I coach it, my team tell me I’m just tricking them and they still see it as sales”.  In response, one of the other participants commented they didn’t have that problem with their team.

Having gained their permission at the beginning of the day to be their coach, I asked him “Fred, do you mind if I coach you for a minute?” Fred agreed to be coached.

“Fred, how is that reaction from your team a reflection of your belief that no matter how much you tell yourself you are providing a solution to your customers, you are still selling?”  I asked.

It was a huge a-ha moment for Fred.  

Earlier in his career Fred had been a door-to-door salesperson, selling a product he knew “ripped people off”. Even though he was now a manager, with a great sales record in the business he now worked in, we discussed how his desire for success was greater than his belief about sales.  Nevertheless, that deep-seated belief was still there, and his team were directly reflecting that belief back to him.

If you’ve ever wondered, “why does this keep happening?”, then thishis article is for you.

Mary*’s Dilemma

Another client, Mary*,  has been repeatedly falling into deep depression every Monday after the weekly management team meeting.  

What my husband, and Kaibizzen’s Performance Coach, Rob was able to uncover with Mary is that as a child, her parents were constantly telling her she was stupid.  She had overhead her parents tell her grandmother that she would never amount to anything.  

At the management meeting, whenever Mary had a point to make, she always felt that no-one took her seriously and that her ideas were stupid.

Greg*’s Weighty Challenge

Another client, Greg*, challenged with being overweight all his life, was able to share with Rob how as a child at school, he remembers being the last child in the group, waiting to be chosen by the team leaders.  Both of them told Greg they didn’t want him in their team, because he was “too fat”.

Tom*’s Yo-Yo Business

Like Mary, another one of our clients, Tom*,had been told by his parents that he was not as good as his brother. Tom’s motivation in building his business was to prove his mother wrong.   

Tom was very good at his business.  He’d make a lot of money and then he’d think, “My business is going really well, so I’m going to go overseas for 6 months,” (just to show his parents that he’d made it).  

However, Tom would always come back to a failing business, so he’d build it up again.  Then he’d go away again and he’d come back to another mess.  

How These Patterns Formed

Every one of these examples share a commonality– at some point in their life…

  • something had happened to them, 
  • somebody had said something, or 
  • somebody had done something, or 
  • all three.  

Fred, Mary, Greg and Tom had taken on that story and from that point on it was his story or her story that they kept telling themselves – subconsciously. The results they got were a direct reflection of that subconscious story.

These stories bring to mind the quote of Desmond Tutu, the South African Anglican cleric and theologian known for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. Desmond is renowned for saying “we need to stop just pulling people out of the river.  We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in”.

Starting With Yourself

As a business owner, what are some patterns of behaviour or habits that you know that you do regularly.  Some of the behaviours/habits I have seen business owners display are:

  • Avoiding conflicting discussions/situations
  • Feeling like no-one is taking any notice of them
  • Thinking that their team are only doing their job when he/she is there.  The rest of the time they’re ‘bludging’
  • Employing people, but doing their job for them
  • Avoiding making decisions (or taking too long)
  • Only seeing the bad side of something that has happened
  • Building a business/making a lot of money and then blowing it
  • Having a business where they are working for their employees, rather than the other way around

…. And the list goes on.

What we’ve learned from working with people and learning about human behaviour over the past 18 years as a business coach is that every belief or habit that we have has come from our experiences.  

You know deep down that what you’re doing isn’t helpful, but you keep beating yourself up about it as well as keeping on doing it.

When we ask a client what benefit they are getting out of it, they tell me they aren’t getting a benefit.  My response is “That’s BS. If you aren’t getting a benefit you should stop doing it”.

So how do I stop you ask?

  1. Own the fact that you do it.  Acknowledge it to yourself. Not from the perspective of beating yourself or others up, but ask yourself why you have formed this habit or way of thinking and how you can break it. Without taking ownership you will have to keep pulling yourself out of the river, rather than working hard on yourself to stop falling in, in the first place.
  2. Explore, with the help of someone else, who will ask you the hard questions that you will never ask yourself, to identify where your habit has come from.  You need to see the benefit in that happening to you and get rid of the negative emotion associated with that.
  3. Actively learn the skills required to do things differently.  For example, you may need to learn to communicate better, taking into consideration other’s communications styles.  You may need to learn to ask questions, listen better etc.
  4. Keep on going.  Remember in many cases our beliefs and habits have been with us all our lives, so you will have times of falling back.  Get up, get back on the horse and go again.  At least now you are more aware of what you are doing.  That’s 80% of the solution.

Helping Your Team

Are there members of your team that are habitually doing the same thing? 

  • Failing to achieve targets
  • Running late for meetings
  • Not coming to meetings prepared/not submitting reports
  • Complaining about their work mates or you (to others)
  • Not doing their job properly

What do you have to do stop pulling them out of river/stop them from falling in?

  1. Go back to helping yourself first.  Ask yourself what belief/habit do I have that has allowed this behaviour to continue to happen. Then work through that.
  2. Build a culture of ownership and responsibility; get rid of a culture of blame and excuses.  
  3. Ensure you have the right people with the right skills doing the right job at the right time.
  4. Set very clear expectations.  Make sure you that all your team members know exactly what is expected of them and how their performance is being measured.
  5. Develop rules of the game that set out the behaviours required by all the team.
  6. Develop your team members.  Remember, there’s only one thing worse than developing your team and they leave; it’s not developing them and they stay!  It’s imperative that your team members learn some of the things that you’re learning to stop them falling in the river!
  7. Manage their performance formally and informally.

At Kaibizzen, our philosophy is that your business is the tool to make the life you want for yourself and your family.  Too many business owners have a business where they’re the main tool and are doing all the heavy lifting. Whilst there are many reasons for this, one of them is that rather than taking the necessary action to work on themselves first, they’re putting all their effort into continuously pulling themselves and/or their team out of the river. No wonder most business owners are stressed and exhausted!

If you’d like to know how we work with other business owners across South East Queensland just like you to create great businesses which reward their owners for the years of effort they’ve put in, contact us today. As business coaches servicing Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast, we’d love to help you create a business which gives you the results you want for yourself and your family.

*Names have been changed to maintain confidential

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