“Why Do You Think That Way?”

healthy-attitude2 Why do you think that way and how will it change the future for the good?

Likely one of the greatest leadership challenges of a generation is playing out in real time. No matter where one turns, the one-two combination of the pandemic and social tension has, in our minds, proven what we’ve known for quite a long time. We have a growing gap in effective leadership in all corners of society. The challenge is further supported by a leadership development industry that has largely failed to deliver a return on investment off the billions of dollars spent annually around the globe.

Managers at all levels are too comfortable with the logistically convenient leadership training sessions without bothering to include accountability for applying the new skills and behaviors to the organizational strategy. This creates a scenario of too much leadership content and not enough leadership context to be effective. It’s almost as if doing the same thing over and over will generate a different result!

One of the key elements of our coaching practice in applying new skills and behaviors includes creating new attitudes, which is one reason why it is not embraced fully by the leadership development industry at large. For a glimpse of a new future, we often ask our clients to take a step back and reflect on how they became who they are today. Everyone is a product of their past, so it makes sense to look at how current attitudes were formed, especially those that directly affect effective leadership!

Sociologist Dr. Morris Massey, who specialized his research on personal values, described three major periods in our lives where values and attitudes are formed. They are:

  • The Imprint Period ~ Up to the age of seven, people are like sponges, absorbing everything around them and accepting much of it as true, especially when it comes from their parents. The confusion and blind belief of this period can also lead to the early formation of trauma and other deep problems. The critical element is learning a sense of right and wrong, good and bad. This is a human construct which people assume would exist even if they were not here.
  • The Modeling Period ~ Between the ages of eight and thirteen, people are copy-cats, often their parents, but also others. Rather than blind acceptance of other’s values, they try them on like a suit of clothes, to see how they feel. At this age, people may be impressed with religion or their teachers. They may remember being particularly influenced by junior high school teachers who seemed so knowledgeable--maybe even more so than their parents.
  • The Socialization Period ~ Between fourteen and twenty-one, people are largely influenced by their peers. As they develop as individuals and look for ways to get away from the earlier programming, they naturally turn to people who seem more like them. Other influences at these ages include the media and higher education, especially those parts which seem to resonate with the values of their peer groups.

Which gets us to what we believe is the question to be asked, and answered, more frequently and honestly if leaders are going to effectively lead as part of the solution going forward:

“Why do you think that way?”

From the beginning of our coaching practice, we focus on changing attitudes in order to create new sustainable behaviors and results. Making leadership a way of life is about the leader knowing who they are more so than what they do. Therefore, this question brings the past to the present to help create a different future. The future only changes for the good when leaders focus on new solutions rather than eliminating old problems. The future only changes for the good when leaders show through their actions rather than hide behind sanitized words. The future only changes for the good when leaders embed humanity into their culture rather than through press releases, policies and procedures. The future only changes for the good when leaders think differently!

Why do you think that way and how will it change the future for the good?

Lead Well!

...Not Enough Action

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Comments 2

Guest - Jerry Novotny on Tuesday, 30 June 2020 13:48

Very thoughtful and through-provoking blog, especially the comment about being "comfortable with the logistically convenient leadership training sessions without bothering to include accountability for applying the new skills and behaviors..."

I have been in too many organizations that think training is more of a check-the-box item to be done so one can get back to doing one's real work.

The emphasis should be on accountability and an ongoing follow-up evaluation of how one is doing versus leadership goals established by oneself and the supervisor.

Very thoughtful and through-provoking blog, especially the comment about being "comfortable with the logistically convenient leadership training sessions without bothering to include accountability for applying the new skills and behaviors..." I have been in too many organizations that think training is more of a check-the-box item to be done so one can get back to doing one's real work. The emphasis should be on accountability and an ongoing follow-up evaluation of how one is doing versus leadership goals established by oneself and the supervisor.
Rick Lochner on Tuesday, 30 June 2020 21:17

Jerry,
Thank you for your insights on accountability. Just a few weeks ago I was asked to create a video that an entire company could watch and sign off that they watched. Turned it down because I know whomever they have create the video, with that thinking, it won't change a thing.
Thanks again and trust you are doing well!
Rick

Jerry, Thank you for your insights on accountability. Just a few weeks ago I was asked to create a video that an entire company could watch and sign off that they watched. Turned it down because I know whomever they have create the video, with that thinking, it won't change a thing. Thanks again and trust you are doing well! Rick
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Friday, 10 July 2020