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In a recent discussion with a group of fellow leadership development people I offered that what we do is to provide guidance to generate the culture that creates the success clients want. Sounds simple, right? Not so much.
Changing culture means that people have to change their behavior. And I don’t mean that the CEO gets to stand in the front of a room and direct others to change. The change in company culture to what’s desired and needed starts with the leader and is sustained by the leader. In other words, leader, if you want to see change, you need to create it in yourself first and that just isn’t as easy as you might think.
Wilfred Bion was a psychoanalyst who first helped shell shock patients of WW I and then WW II. He did group therapy work with many different types of people at many levels of society and found certain consistencies, one of which he labeled BAMS: Basic Assumption Mental State. Placing you at the center of this description, it is the default response or behavior you exhibit – your knee-jerk responses. It’s the unthinking reaction to any stimulus.
For example, if your typical response when you’re challenged is to get belligerent, then most times when you’re challenged, that’s how you will react – aggressively. Such behavior may often be self-defeating, but if your personality and life experiences have conditioned you that way, then that’s your M.O.
And here’s the key: If you want something different or better, you’ll have to change your M.O. The only way to do that is to obey the direction of the Oracle at Delphi from the 6th century B.C.: Know thyself. It’s about your authenticity and your mindfulness. Have a look at Bill George’s book True North for more on this.
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