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Want To Increase Executive Efficiency? Get Your Leaders Out Of Their “Ruts”

Written by: Karen Brown, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Though attributed to Albert Einstein, it has not been definitively established who first uttered this oft-quoted phrase. Regardless, we all know what it means. And its real-life implications for executives in the business world is especially relevant: if an executive is doing the same thing over and over again and getting the same (negative) results, it can severely impact a company’s financial situation, not to mention the performance of other executives and employees.

A photo of businesswoman using laptop at office desk.

Though not actually calling anyone insane, I contend that everyone has behavioral patterns that stifle performance in the business world. These patterns, referred to as “blind spots,” are often unrecognized by the individual – at least consciously. Patterns in which executive leaders get stuck become ruts that prevent them from achieving the elite level of performance required to make a lasting impact in their organization.


Because both the behavior and its impact are indiscernible, the individual executive is unable to reach their full potential and help their company accelerate toward its goals. How do leaders overcome these internal obstacles that hold them back from truly outstanding performance? The first step is understanding where behavioral patterns originate.


What Is a Behavioral Pattern?


A behavioral pattern is a recurrent action by an individual or group toward a given object or situation. Some of the common ruts in which we see leaders stuck are:

  • Too little delegating

  • Insufficient development of team members

  • Reticence to engage in healthy debate with the team

  • Inadequate management of performance gaps with team members

  • Avoidance of confrontation

  • Reluctance to seek or give helpful, clear, feedback for improvement

  • Cultural differences

  • Concept that “my way” is the best or only way

Where Do Behavioral Patterns Originate?


To save energy, protect us, and achieve our highest good at the time, the mind establishes repetitive behavioral patterns. This is true for everyone and impacts every aspect of our lives. These patterns are formed in the unconscious mind, which processes 400 billion bits of information at a speed of up to 100,000 mph, compared to the conscious mind which processes only about 2,000 bits of information per second at only 100 to 150 mph ‒ like comparing a skateboard to a SpaceX rocket. Therefore, behavior patterns easily become permanent.


That’s fine for positive behavioral patterns. But what about the negative ones? Over time, they create deep ruts, from which it is hard to escape until a person becomes aware of them and decides to change.


For business leaders, ruts can mean applying the same ineffective methods repeatedly, with the same lackluster results, affecting worker relationships, team development, strategy fulfillment, and more. Attempts to change habits simply through discipline or willpower leave leaders with the same blind spots and unrecognized patterns because they are working only at the conscious, surface level.


Changing Ineffective Behavioral Patterns


The most effective approach is to use a science-based methodology that focuses on the behavioral patterns that impede performance, replacing them with patterns that produce elite performance. Quantum leaps are possible only when work is done at both the unconscious and subconscious levels, by focusing and aligning beliefs and behavioral patterns to support and multiply results.


Any behavioral pattern can be changed using these steps:

  1. Become aware of the pattern: Pinpoint the pattern, be aware of when you run it, and note the corresponding results. Identify the desired results and the new pattern that will create them.

  2. Interrupt the behavior when you run it: Once you have recognized the pattern, interrupt it every time you run it.

  3. Run the new behavioral pattern instead: Use the identified new pattern from Step 1 and run it when the old pattern is interrupted. Visualize what the attainment of your goal will look and feel like and how you can achieve it.

How Long Does It Take to Change Behavioral Patterns?


The key to change is running an “interrupt” and new behavior pattern every time. As in other areas of business, what gets measured gets achieved. That is why tracking these interrupt cycles helps executives change faster. That said, dramatic change can be achieved in the first 30 to 60 days of a sound, neuroscience-based program. And participants do not revert to previous patterns; the process should build new neural pathways in the brain, and the behavioral pattern change is permanent. Change achieved in the executive suite can then ripple throughout the rest of the team and the entire organization.


Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!


 

Karen Brown, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Karen Brown is the Founder and CEO of Exponential Results. She draws on 30 years of success as a corporate executive with over 20,000 hours of senior executive coaching experience. Years ago, Ms. Brown discovered the key to greater performance and effectiveness: identifying and addressing blind spots – the repeated thinking patterns that impede success. Using a professional coach and science-based methodologies of how our minds work, she busted through her own blind spots to achieve astounding results. Her discovery led to the creation of Exponential Results’ proprietary Power Pathways™ method, based in neuroscience. She’s also a focused athlete, having competed, as an amateur, in the Ironman World Championship.

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