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Are You Guilty Of Picking Things Apart?

by David Brock on December 22nd, 2016

It seems to be human nature to pick things apart.  We may be looking at a new prospecting or marketing program, we may be looking at a deal strategy, we may be looking at a new organizational structure.

Whatever the level we act, we have a propensity to look for faults, or what could go wrong.

We hear various manifestations of that in lot’s of ways,

“We’ve tried this before…..”

“But we’ve always done things another way….”

“We’re different…..”

“There’s a lot that could go wrong…”

Think of your own favorite ways to pick things apart.

Too often, when we focus only on what could go wrong or the risks, that we end up doing nothing at all.

Sometimes, it’s the nature of our jobs–or more likely how we interpret our jobs–that we look at what could go wrong.  We look at the downsides or the problems.

As a consultant, I fall into that trap too often.  Yes, part of my role is to be a skeptic, to question everything.  But my job really isn’t that, it’s to help people and organizations grow and improve.  It’s really less pointing out what’s wrong, in fact I wouldn’t be there, if the client hadn’t already figured out something was wrong.  In reality my job is to help them make things work.

As managers, it’s easy to fall into that trap as well.  We look for problems, we look for what’s wrong, we tend to critique or find fault.  But as managers our job isn’t to find things wrong, it’s to find out what’s right, to identify the things that work, then scale those to drive growth.

Too many managers look at their people, finding fault.  They focus on the mistakes the people may have made, the things they may not be doing.

As sales professionals, we have a tendency to do this as well.  We look at what we don’t have.  We never have quite the right product, or the right price, or the right support.  We second guess the customer’s reaction talking ourselves out of trying.

Sometimes we try something new and it fails.  As a result, rather than figuring out how to make it work, in hindsight, we pick it apart to find all the things that were wrong.

What would happen if we stopped doing this?

What would happen if we could start to look at, “How do we make this work?”  “What have we learned, what could we do to adjust what we do to make things work?”

Nothing we choose to do will ever be perfect.  Everything will have problems or challenges.  Everything will have something that goes wrong.  Everything we do can fail.

What sets great people apart is not focusing on what’s wrong.  Not doing Monday Morning quarterbacking picking things apart.

Great performers always look at new ideas, challenging themselves with “How do we make things work?”  “How do we leverage this to produce a better result?”

When they do make a mistake or fail, rather than picking things apart, making excuses, or assigning blame, they look at things from a different point of view.  They look at what they have learned and how they might do better.

Unconsciously, we fall into closed mindsets.  There is far more opportunity if we choose a growth mindset.

Rather than picking things apart, let’s start looking at “What do we have to do to make this work?”


From → Leadership

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