Why Leaders Don’t Think Straight
Ruminating on what’s wrong exaggerates the importance of wrong. “Nothing is as important as you think it is, while you’re thinking about it.” Daniel Kahneman
Unmanaged thinking distorts reality.
In a world filled with good and bad, you notice bad and neglect good.
Deal with splinters:
Pull splinters before infection sets in.
Painful situations require intervention. Meaningful problems get worse with time.
Ruminate on solution-finding, not problems.
Removing ‘bad’ provides disproportionate advantage.
Bad pollutes good. A teaspoon of dirt has more power than a teaspoon of honey.
Jerks are jerks even when they give a few compliments.
Jerks experience disproportionate advantage when they stop being jerk-holes first, and add compliment-giving to their social repertoire.
A little good is nice but inconsequential.
A little bad goes a long way. An occasional correction has more impact than several compliments.
Tip: Frequent compliments and affirmations give power to occasional correction.
Triggers for good:
It’s work to recall good but remembering bad happens all by itself.
My gratitude notepad sits on the corner of my desk. It’s a trigger for good.
Remind yourself to notice good or bad captures your attention. (This is doubly true of self-talk.)
What triggers for good might work for you?
How might leaders leverage the power of good and bad?
Would You Be Happier If You Were Richer? A Focusing Illusion
Negative Bias: Why We’re Hardwired for Negativity (verywellmind.com)
As Ken Blanchard said–Focus on catching people doing good things.
Check your assumptions–Theory X managers think people are lazy and irresponsible and they look for evident to support their position. Theory Y managers do just the opposite.
Appreciative Inquiry is a wonderful concept—focus on what working.
My son’s 7th grade report card–2As, 4Bs, 1C+ and 1 D. You know what I focused on. I gave him the big lecture on why a D was unacceptable. Never mentioned the As or Bs.
Leverage good and bad. I should have praised my son’s As and Bs and discussed his approach in those classes versus the D-class. What can we learn from success that will help us deal with problem areas.
I have improved over time. With my grandsons, I focus 95% on all the good stuff and only 5% on improvement opportunities. And only discuss those by asking questions. “Are you Okay with a D in this class?”
Brilliant! thanks Paul. Focus on improvement opportunities by asking questions. — For some reason I love to give people solutions, even though I know that it’s important for people to find their own.
“Pull splinters before infection sets in.” Or don’t let the rust/corrosion grow until it costs you six figures to fix. I had this situation with a customer who has a Wind Farm on the Texas Gulf coast. They let the rust/corrosion become so bad in their substation it cost them six figures to fix. Had they attacked the “rust/corrosion” when it first showed they would have save much. Unfortunately I see this in much I deal with. It is associated with “attention to detail” or lack thereof and “knowledge” or lack thereof than anything, which is the simplest way I can break it down.
Powerful story, Roger and a great illustration of the cost of ignoring problems. It’s always helpful to see a principle in real life.
I see Paul and Roger hitting it out of the park today! “Pull splinters before infection sets in,” hits home today, we tend to become complacent and let things fester, having learned this lesson more times than I care to admit, I have learned to address the issues before they fester, by merely giving them the attention when they show up. Sometimes priorities take over, just remember that when its costs you six figures……
Tim: You said it, you should have seen the “holes” in some structures big enough for one to put one’s head through and certainly big enough for the rattlers to seek refuge. I would have never thought this company (quite large in the market) could have let things get so bad. But then again I’ve learned this in many ways for many other larger companies. “Attention to detail” missing all over.
Thanks Tim. I suppose the problem is a splinter doesn’t hurt that much, at first.
Experience should help us discern between a minor irritation that goes away with time and an issue that gets worse as time passes.
Which issues and irritations get worse? Which go away as time passes?
I keep an letter pad on my desk with anything that needs addressed, obviously importance ranks for for the basics, eventually everything gets addressed. The key is which goes away if we don’t address it often times often times goes back to importance of how we relate to clients or others, everyone is important, yet to what extent? If it makes the daily list needs attention, works for me. Having slid down a Telephone pole once or twice in my pole climbing days, the splinters will eventually come out!!! Have a great weekend?
Great advice today that really hit home for some activity I’ve encountered; “Pull splinters before infection sets in” and “Jerks are jerks even when they give a few compliments.”
Another thought to consider.
Psychoanalysis focuses on what’s wrong with the person.
Positive Psychology focuses on what’s right with the person.