• Chemical Brain Freeze

What if, When Making Plans for the Next Adventure

Mike RayburnThere I was, working and planning away on my new adventure and feeling good about it. Then I had an opportunity to go see Mike Rayburn(www.MikeRayburn.com) live at a recent program. He was absolutely phenomenal. Not only a gifted musician and storyteller but he really got you thinking. He has a book titled “What If?” and I would suggest purchasing it on his website. I wanted to point out just a few key things Mike got me thinking about as I plan my new adventure.

He asks the question, “What if?” Not meaning that you are going to do it but rather just asking what is possible. What if I could? How would that work if I could?
He points out that our default behavior in life is that we look at or for reasons not to do things. Instead we should change our default behavior to where we look for reasons we can do things! A very simplistic but astute rationale on how we can get things done. He also points out the only way to manage change is to create change. Again our default behavior is to fight change. What if we shifted that to creating change and embracing change? It creates a completely different picture doesn’t it? The one thing we know to be true about our plans is that nothing ever goes according to plan! So embrace change.
Here is the reason for these default behaviors: We take problems and put them on a pedestal and worship them. Mike’s perspective is, quit driving through life with the brakes on and get creative. The world need’s our creativity. He lined out three steps to get started:
1. Outside Observation – get that 30,000-foot view of what you are dealing with and get a handle of the size and scope.
2. Take a problem or situation and say, “What is the Opportunity?” Then ask, “What if?”
3. Open up creativity and take physical action on it.
Here are a couple of his other thoughts, which will get your thinking moving in the right direction:
A. Set goals you can’t achieve, not 5-10% increases. What does it take to double what you want to do?
B. Don’t start with what’s possible?, start with what’s cool?. The type of goal it takes courage to think about.
A sense of purpose is the most motivating factor. What is your sense of purpose? Some good food for thought until next time.
Thanks for coming along.

Change and Fear of the Unknown

Last week we talked about unmet emotional needs and the impact they play on our behavior.  We had talked about the five key emotional needs consisting of: Safety, Power, Acceptance, Respect and Value.  When we feel one of these needs is not being met, our brain sends out warning signals and our behavioFear of the unknown Ar can change.
Let’s take a look at how change can affect how we are feeling about ourselves, especially when dealing with the fear of the unknown.

I had a discussion with a surgeon who was complaining about a piece of equipment he had bought.  It had cost him $80,000 but his staff wasn’t spending the appropriate amount of time learning how to use the equipment and getting it into the patient flow process.
Think about why people struggle with change.  In the current mode people are recognized for their performance. Their rewards are based on this performance.  They know the process, can multitask, balance out the workload, understand the patient flow and all the various intricacies of the process.  Now you ask them to introduce a new piece of equipment that will interrupt the process as the staff goes through the learning curve.  The staff is not familiar or confident in running the machine and even less confident in answering questions by patients.
They begin to question their value.  Will they be as effective and be able to provide the same performance as they have in the past?  They second-guess quite a bit about having to use the equipment.  The piece of equipment begins to take on a negative nature.
As the surgeon watches the piece of equipment gather dust he realizes that if it doesn’t get into the process quickly, he is going to have a very expensive boat anchor on his hands.
The amygdala portion of the brain picks up warning signals about this piece of equipment and the staff ‘s struggle with getting trained on the equipment and getting it into use.  Many times one of the key warning signals is the fear of the unknown.  How will this equipment affect our process?  How will it affect our workload?  Will we be able to process more patients faster or fewer patients?  Will someone lose a job because this equipment is utilized?
The best way to soothe the amygdala is at the beginning of the change process.  Communication is key at this point and the time spent explaining why the equipment is coming into the practice is time well spent.  Don’t assume the explanation has to be done only once.  Get someone trained on the equipment fast enough so they can help train others and take away the fear of the unknown.  So many times sales reps show staff what the equipment can do but don’t allow for hands-on-training.  The hands-on-training takes the fear of the unknown away.
Anytime you can remove a fear,  you’re moving in the right direction.
Thanks for coming along.

Small Business Success (SBS) Coaches Network.

Chuck Inman has become part of the Small Business Success (SBS) Coaches Network. This small, select group of coaches and consultants work with business owners to achieve the results they want
 in order to grow their business to meet their visions. Small Business Success is based on nine best practices essential in growing your business. This provides a personalized, workable business model blueprint, which is measurable and enables owner’s to meet their business and financial goals.
This SBS blueprint is solid for business owner’s who want to start or grow their business. It covers three main areas.
MONEY – 2 key segments
FOCUS – 3 key segments
MARKETING – 4 key segments
Included are the “Nine Best Practices for Marketing your Business.”
From the www.ChuckInman.com  “coaching tGYB Coverab”, register and download a free copy of Mark LeBlanc’s popular and successful  “Growing Your Business” e-book.

Chuck Inman has spent 30 years in a career, which has covered sales, marketing, training and coaching.  In his sales and marketing leadership roles he has successfully launched key products and grown various businesses.

The Brain and Leadership

The amygdala, what a strange word isn’t it?  It’s actually a Greek word for almond.  almondWhen the Greeks were doing anatomy and physiology studies of the human body a several centuries ago, they discovered this part of the brain, which is about the size of an almond.

There are two key parts of the brain, which have a major impact on how we respond to stimuli.  Up until about the last 25yrs, scientists believed the thinking part of the brain, the neo-cortex, responded to stimuli first.  Which makes sense assuming the most complicated part of the brain which contains complex thought such as time, space, technical skills, etc., could handle external stimuli first.  Remember the neo-cortex built our civilization, sent astronauts to the moon, created computers, the Internet, etc.

However, with the research done with MRI, magnetic resonance imaging, scientists discovered the amygdala responded first to stimuli such as an event or actual threat.  This was definitely a shift in paradigms, because the amygdala is responsible for emotional learning and emotional memory. Quick example on how the amygdala works; you see something red, touch it and get burned.  Your amygdala will remind you next time you see something red to check first to see if it is hot before you touch it.

So with the MRI research, they discover the amygdala responds 100 times faster than the neo-cortex.  Now that is fast.  So why would the brain be wired like this?  Say you step outside onto your porch and there is a snake coiled and ready to strike.  If your curious neo-cortex responds to this stimulus first, you stand there asking yourself, “I wonder if that is a poisonous or non-poisonous snake? Is this a cotton mouth snake? Or a rattlesnake? Or a copperhead?”  What are your chances of getting bitten?  Pretty good, right?

Your amygdala sees the snake on the porch and screams to you; “Snake, Jump!” and you jump immediately out of danger.

Now we set the stage for some interesting content because we just went through an example of how emotions respond before cognitive thought.  But how many times have you walked into a business meeting and the chairperson would say, “I know there are some controversial decisions we have to make today, but let’s keep this very business like and keep our emotions out of the discussions.”  Well, we now know that it is next to impossible to do because our emotions respond before our cognitive thought.  We will continue down this avenue of thought and discover how it applies to leadership.

Thanks for coming along.


Conquering Fears

What scares us?CBF
It’s interesting to watch some of the cable shows about ghost hunters, big-foot hunters and other things that go bump in the night.  We all have fears of different kinds but what is interesting to note is that we are only born with two fears.  Do you know what those are?  Take a moment to think about it, what two fears would we be born with that would help us survive?  The two fears are the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  Every other fear we have is a learned fear.  Amazing isn’t it?  However our brain will respond to our learned fears exactly the same way it will respond to the fears we are born with as a species.
Think of the fear of falling and the fear of loud noises.  One occupation that comes to mind where they have to deal with this combination of fears on a daily basis is a dental practice.  What is one of the first things that is done to you as you sit in a dental chair?  You are lowered backwards in the chair, fear of falling.  One of the other things if you’re having work done on your teeth is that a noisy instrument is placed inside your mouth about as close to your eardrum as you can get, the fear of loud noises.  Dental practices struggle with patient retention and sometimes just the factor of dealing with the two born fears have can a major impact.

Most of our learned fears come from other people and what scares them.  We learn from watching them behave when they encounter a spider, snake or even a difficult discussion.  Talk around a campfire with a group of people about ghost stories and people will scare themselves silly.  You never see a couple of homicide detectives standing looking at a corpse and proclaiming, “It looks like another ghost murder.”  Do you know of anyone who has ever been killed by a ghost?  Me either.
There is a part of our brain called the amygdala that deals with our fears, whether they are the 2 born fears or the learned fears we have. We are going to explore how the amygdala responds to these threats, whether real or perceptive in the next several blogs.  We’ll also put it into perspective on how exceptional leaders deal with conquering fears.
Thanks for coming along.

Exceptional Leader traits

In the last couple of blogGenuines we have been talking about the three traits of exceptional leaders.  The final trait to finish out this series is the often-used term “Genuine”.
We have an understanding of genuine as being something that is real and not false. In regards to products, you see examples of genuine used in situations such as: “With counterfeit software being prevalent in the marketplace, buyers often presume they have the genuine article.”  It defines things as being true and authentic, like “genuine leather”.
When discussing leadership, being genuine has to do with being sincere and up front with issues. I personally like the description of being free from hypocrisy or dishonesty and being sincere. Genuine things are true such as a leader being true to their word.  We talked about being transparent as having no hidden agendas and authentic as lining up your actions with your intentions for the best impact.  When you piece together the traits of being authentic and transparent the sum of the characteristics is the description of genuine to describe the exceptional leader.
When you look at the traits people use to describe you, have you heard the use of the words transparent, authentic and genuine?  If you have heard these comments continue to grow and lead. If you haven’t heard them, maybe its time for a leadership checkup to get a feel for what may be missing or not coming across to the people you lead.

Thanks for coming along.

Authentic Leadership

Authenticity seal

Being authentic is one of the traits used to describe someone who is considered an exceptional leader.  In the last Nimble blog we talked about transparency and what it takes for a leader to be transparent.  It is the consistency of your actions lining up with your intentions that provides the impact you want to have as a leader.  If you really focus on being consistent with your actions then the impact you have on people will be positive.  With positive impact comes trust.  When people can count on you to be consistent with your actions and decisions through daily interaction and during difficult times you develop the qualities of authentic leadership.  It is not easy by any means.  Some of the decisions we have to make are extremely tough and not everyone agrees with the decisions we make.  But if we are transparent, consistent with our actions and concentrate on the goals that need to be accomplished, authenticity will become part of the language used to describe you as a leader. Wouldn’t it be nice if you could be awarded a seal of authenticity for your leadership so people would know the type of leader you are?  Leadership and building trust isn’t quite that easy.  However, if you are consistent with your actions and decisions and have a positive impact, you build trust so you won’t need a seal.  People will be able to determine on their own, you are authentic.
Thanks for coming along!

Building Trust

Leadership is tough work.  If it were easy, everyone would be a leader. But we know that is not the case.  One of the key ingredients to excellent and effective leadership is building trust.  Although this sounds simple, people struggle with this concept.  Where does trust come from?
From the dictionary you get a description like this: firm belief in the reliability, ability, or strength of someone or something. Well that’s pretty vague isn’t it?
Let’s see if we can come up with a better definition. I agree with the reliability aspect but what makes someone or something reliable?  Easiest way to reflect upon on reliability is that someone or something meets your expectations.  If someone says they are going to do something by a particular time and they get it done on time, you would consider them reliable.  If your car starts every time you turn the key over, you consider your car reliable.
So here is where reliability comes into play with leadership.  We judge ourselves based on our intent.  Most people have good intentions.  When your actions line up with your intentions and you do it on a consistent basis then you become reliable.  The significant aspect here is to recognize that people don’t judge you for your intentions.  Rather they judge you on whether your actions line up with your intentions. This is where you have an impact on your people.  If your actions line up with your intent, you have a positive impact on people. If your actions don’t line up with your intent, you have a negative impact on people.  Your people will study you closely to see how often you do what you say you are going to do.  When you consistently act according to what you say you are going to do, you begin to build trust.  When people realize they can trust you, they begin to follow you.  When you have people following you, then you can focus on developing stronger relationships and be effective in moving people through change.
Some key building blocks of leadership.
Thanks for coming along.

Getting a Clear View of What We Want to Accomplish in 2014.

Vista ViewAs we close out the year 2013 and prepare for 2014, it is a good time to reflect on our accomplishments this year and then look at some of the missed goals we didn’t achieve. It’s easy to pat ourselves on the back and glow in our accomplishments but what about those goals we consider important enough to make our list but we didn’t get around to completing. Do we take them off of our list for 2014 or add them back on, hoping we will accomplish them in the new year?

One of the key questions to ask ourselves as we plan for 2014 is: What are we trying to create? What is the reason behind making a change? Do you have a picture of what the end result looks like? Are there examples or models of what you are trying to accomplish? Charles Garfield in his book Peak Performance showed with his research that peak athletes and peak performers were visualizers. They see their goal, they feel it and experience it before they actually go out and try to accomplish it.

I like to think about it as getting above the fray, gaining that vista view and seeing your objective clearly. When you can see clearly where you’re going, you create a picture that can be repeated in your mind over and over. This picture then let’s you know how accomplishing your goals will have an impact on your life both professionally and personally.

When difficult situations arise you can stay calm because you know where you are going and can make the proper decisions to get to the end result that matters. If you don’t know where you are going then you have no clue if you are making a good or bad decision and fear begins to creep into your decision making process. Take the time to truly understand where you are headed and why it’s important to you.
You will get comfortable with the decisions you have to make, and the fear will not be a deciding factor in how you make decisions.
Take some time to create a clear picture of where you want to go in 2014. It will be worth the effort.
Thanks for coming along.

Nimble – How to Stay Above the Turmoil of Change

Nimble book cover pictureFor years in the corporate world I watched change initiatives come and go from product launches and product recalls, to mergers and acquisitions. Some changes were effective and quickly implemented. Other changes never even got out of the starting blocks before they were shut down due to a false start.

When you look at the statistics regarding change, it is fascinating to note that roughly 70% of change initiatives wind up as failures. If change is so important for an organization why is there such a high mortality rate with these change initiatives?

Change initiatives contain different energy levels depending on their size and scope. This energy status can quickly turn into turmoil that is indiscriminate and affects people in a variety of ways. This vortex of negative energy can throw almost anyone off balance and create a state of confusion. You can’t predict the direction nor the intensity of turmoil that can spin at its own speed, direction and breadth. What should be simple objectives and tasks for accomplishing a change initiative turns into a futile exercise of bogging people down, with excuses becoming the number one reason change initiatives go off track.

My objective is to:

  • Help you understand the importance of knowing what you are trying to change
  • Provide you a simple but effective model of the change process
  • Walk you through five steps to keep you above the fray of change — in short, how to stay Nimble!

With each of these steps, there will be one or two Enrichment practices. If you follow them carefully, they will allow you to move nimbly through the change process. These Enrichment practices will help build momentum and this momentum will keep you from being sucked into the turmoil and vortex of change. We know that it isn’t a question of “if” change is coming, but rather “when” change will be coming.

Check out the book Nimble, it’s a pretty darn good read.

Thanks for coming along!