The biggest challenge is that we are humans in business. In today’s stress-filled and oh so dynamic markets, our innate human programming is continuously triggered – more than ever before in the history of mankind.
That’s why our instinctual programming significantly limits our business and personal success in the modern age. Now more than ever it is critical that we shift into conscious, reality-based thinking and decision making.
For example, did you know that our brains are pre-programmed at birth to:
Stick to the status quo. We’re programmed to hang onto the way we’ve always done it, even if that doesn’t make good sense. It’s called the Status Quo Bias and it’s a powerful human instinct. Think about how that instinct limits business innovation.
Crave repetitive behavior. Our instincts tell us that what is known and repeatable is safe. That programming significantly limits our ability to adapt as our buyers and markets shift. We’re hanging onto those same old patterns of doing and thinking as they move on.
Stick with the herd. Our brains literally send a pleasure signal when we choose to agree with the group. When we disagree, our brain sends an error message to drive us to correct our behavior. That certainly explains the group thinking mentality that can happen within teams and across organizations. Skillful leaders understand this behavior and actively shift their leadership style to “reprogram” our innate human programming.
These are only a few of the instinctual programs that create the gravity that limits our success. There are so many more – all part of the complex supercomputer we call the human mind.
But it gets even more complicated. Here’s why.
Your Unconscious Mind in Charge
Consider these two facts.
- Our unconscious mind drives 95% of our behaviors and decisions.
- 90% of our unconscious mind is programmed based on fear.
That combination significantly limits our perspectives and our success, especially in today’s world with continuous triggers of our fear-based survival programming. We don’t even know we’re making business decisions based on our caveman (or cavewoman) survival brain!
When we shift into conscious thinking to defy the gravity of our survival programming, we open to new ideas and are able to adapt for competitive advantage.
Here are ten unconscious programs running in every one of our minds today – and the simple gravity shifts we can make to step into conscious decisions that fuel our business advantage.
1. Program: Assume we’re right and seek out the evidence to prove it.
Gravity Shift: Consciously find the evidence to prove yourself wrong.
2. Program: Focus on fixing problems, so we miss opportunities.
Gravity Shift: Model what’s working, spend more time seeking new opportunities.
3. Program: Get stuck in the Status Quo Bias – hanging onto the way we’ve always done it.
Gravity Shift: Show your brain that the status quo is a threat, shift, then seek new options.
4. Program: Be overconfident, especially with results. We plan based on the best case scenario.
Gravity Shift: Use your worst case scenario as the baseline, then up level based on evidence.
5. Program: See data and numbers based on our past and yesterday’s patterns.
Gravity Shift: Shuffle the Deck -‐> change the way data is presented to empower new insights.
6. Program: Assume consensus among our peers – whether we have it or not.
Gravity Shift: Ask open-ended questions, validate privately vs. within groups.
7. Program: Categorize spending, then associate different value with spending across those categories.
Gravity Shift: Eliminate strategic vs. tactical P&L categories. View all $’s spent as equal.
8. Program: Reward us for siding with the herd, so we naturally conform to group opinion.
Gravity Shift: Reward folks who don’t follow the crowd. Visibly.
9. Program: Reward repetitive patterned behavior because our instincts tell us it’s safe.
Gravity Shift: Stop and ask yourself, “Is there a better way to do or think about this?”
10. Program: Believe we know best. That’s why we see Value where buyers don’t.
Gravity Shift: Get out of those internal meetings and listen to your buyers and markets.
Take a week and apply these shifts to your business, your career and your personal life. It only takes a week to experience the difference – in your thinking, your approaches and your new responses to that stale status quo gravity!
You can and will adapt for advantage!