Response Able

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Business is simple. People make it complicated

The commonest complaints I hear from business leaders, by a country mile, is the apparent lack of willingness of people to take responsibility when it comes to prospects, customers and profit margins.

When your team do the right things, with the right level of intensity they create a set of outcomes which are hopefully consistent with the results you are seeking. In business, there is never certainty of outcome because

Business is a contact sport

Being in business presents a paradox for a human being. A primary concern of humans is  safety, so we view anything uncertain as potentially dangerous. The paradox is, there is no certainty in business, only probability based on previous experience, knowledge and the feedback you get from the moment you take a course of action.

The world of business is in a constant state of evolution and change, driven by technological and economic shifts. As a result, the reality is

·     some markets will change or get wiped out as disruptive technologies change the way products or services are provided to customers

·     previously unseen opportunities and challenges will emerge all around you

·     your most inspired ideas may not survive contact with the market

The only thing you can be sure of in business is that if you choose to do nothing, then nothing will change for you, and the market will continue to evolve around you.

So against this backdrop you have to draw a distinction between the results you want and what it is possible to hold yourself, and others, responsible for.

ACTION: Stop for a moment and consider what it is your hold yourself and your teams truly responsible for? How do you measure whether they are fulfilling these responsibilities?

The nature of responsibility

In order to really get our heads around the nature of responsibility it can be helpful to break the word itself into two. TO be responsible is to be

Response Able

In other word’s someone who takes responsibility is someone who can

·     discern with clarity what is happening around them (how can you effectively respond if you are not accurately seeing what is happening) using data and conversations

·     Respond to what is happening with well thought out decisions and actions

A baseline for responsible people

My starting points in working with anyone whether they be the Managing Director or the Mail room apprentice are that they have

·     everything they need to be a fully functioning and contributing human being

·     nothing they need to learn to be, but maybe some things to learn to do (refinement of their skills, knowledge and experience)

·     the ability to reflect on their past performance and to think about what a superior level of performance might look like

·     a way of being that is them at their very best. From this place they are able to access their highest level of performance (I call this their Grounding).

So given this as a starting point the obvious question is what stops people from performing like this?

ACTION: Think about the perceptions you have of each member of your team. What are their strengths and weaknesses and, most importantly, what do they look like when they show up at their best?

Noise in the system

The challenge is not that people don’t have these innate abilities. It is that there is noise in the system that, from time to time, stops them from being able to access themselves at their best.

Their ability to be Response Able is mediated by their thinking and feelings about what is happening to them, and around them, in any moment. They respond to this thinking and behave accordingly and this is what other people will discern as their attitude (have you ever noticed that the person themselves rarely think they have a bad attitude?)

So the hidden variable is made up of the individual’s thoughts and feelings. I’ve found three thought patterns that particularly affect attitude:

1.    Identity – How an individual view’s themselves in the context of what is going on and what is being asked of them (ever tried to get a non- salesperson to sell to a customer?)

2.    Desired outcome – How clear an understanding the person is holding of what the company’s, and their personal, desired outcome is – in both the short and long term

3.    Global beliefs – How this person thinks the world is supposed to work, and whether the current situation is consistent, or not, with this view

Whilst some of these thought patterns appear almost hard coded in us, they are all constantly moving and shifting as our perspectives change. It is no wonder then, that people make business complicated!!!!

The role of attitude in performance

The attitude you and your team bring into your company is critical to your results. It is these attitudes that dictate how you perceive what is happening and how you respond.

Attitude drives the approach that you take to seizing opportunities or tackling challenges and it drives the intensity of activity (or inactivity) that happens in response to them.

It is the quality and intensity of the decisions, conversations and actions of your team take that create happy customers and big profits. These are the reasons why you are getting the results that you are currently getting (good or bad).

ACTION: Thinking about the different members of your team and the different business functions (Sales, Production, Service, Administration) what is your assessment of attitude, activity and approach, in each one?

Being Response Able is about everyone taking ownership of their attitude, activity and approach.

To help your team to understand how their personal thinking is formed and shapes how they are showing up introduces a new possibility for higher performance. This is the potential, in any moment, to choose their response to what is going on, irrespective of their personal thinking. To override the system, if you like.

Changing peoples understanding of their attitude doesn’t just fix what’s on todays agenda. It changes the way your company performs and operates irrespective of the opportuntities and challenges you may face in the future. It is the ultimate leverage point for performance in your business and given the changes all of us in the UK are preparing to confront, it is no longer a nice to have. If your perception and responses are just a few degrees out as you move forward now, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Beyond business I’d go further and say that this understanding profoundly changes all aspects of people lives when they insightfully understand it. It has the potential to allow anyone to access reserves of confidence and wellbeing that they never knew existed inside them.

This is true Response Ability

It is this level of business change that my work with you as owners and directors, your managers and your teams is 100% focussed on. Results come faster this way and you will be equipped with a team ready to take on whatever comes their way as we entering a new era for UK business.

Now, are you ready for that conversation?

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