Knowledge does not translate into action unless your emotions cooperate. Many of today’s executives are paralyzed by fear of this recession. And, you may be one of them, says Samuel J. Lucci III, founder and CEO of Partners Through People.
“If knowledge was the answer, we wouldn’t be in this position in the first place,” says Lucci. “With knowledge of basic budgeting, a teenager would know that one can’t buy a house they can’t afford, that giving people fraudulent mortgages would have to be accounted for someday, somehow and that the homeowners who bought these mortgages must have still believed in Santa Claus.”
Greed and ignorance fueled the subprime market and almost caused a global crash of the world’s financial system. How could this happen in a country where almost everyone is literate, most are high school graduates and millions have higher education? It’s the disconnect between the thinking part of the brain and the emotional part of the brain.
Smart Business spoke with Lucci about how your behavior can prevent you from making fact-based decisions.
Why should business owners be concerned about their behaviors?
This recession is not a typical one; it’s a game changer. You’re going to have to be a solid business person who is thinking 24-7. You’re going to have to go into the marketplace, find the opportunity, create something of value and compete. These last twenty five years fueled by deficit spending, credit card abuse and the subprime market has created a false economy that has to be reconciled. Because of this, in a lot of cases, all you had to do was just show up, and those of you who are legitimate had to share the market with these charlatans. The times ahead will actually afford you even more opportunity.
Now, you have to give people real value. To do that, you’re going to have to be innovative. You’ll have to look at new products and new ways to entice a customer that you may not have had to do before. You’ll have to get the most out of your people and get teams to work together. You have to be able to think and you can’t if your mind is paralyzed. The people who can think and plan are going to win and the others will lose big-time.
How does doubt affect your decision-making?
When your mind is paralyzed, you can’t think. Thinking is what separates humans from other animals. It enables you to look at a situation in your imagination and project possible outcomes, and then pick the one that makes the most sense to you. Everything goes back to fact and opinion. Facts can’t be disputed, and opinions have no place in reality. People blend facts and opinions together like a big stew and think they’re the same thing. But they’re not the same thing; they’re exact polar opposites.
If you want to start working on a solution to stop doubt from paralyzing your mind, consider this. The brain has two dimensions — you think and you feel. When you are feeling the influence of an opinion, you can only feel, you can’t think. When you can’t engage both parts of your brain, you’re being robotic. Robotic behavior has become normal. You do the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. It appears normal because that’s the way you always do it. I call this ego behavior. There’s another problem even bigger — you believe you can’t change. But now you can.
How can that behavior be changed?
If you want a different pattern of behavior, you have to stop letting opinions run your life. Opinions are what cause doubt, and doubt is what paralyzes the mind. The first thing you have to do is recognize that it is happening and accept it. Then, decide that you want to do something about it. No one can ever make you do anything, you have to cooperate. You have full control over yourself but you must take back possession of your mind from your ego.
In the book ‘Think and Grow Rich,’ Napoleon Hill said you have to learn to take possession of your mind. Then you can direct it to create what you want to create, not the negative results that it creates from your opinions. So if I don’t have possession of my mind, then who does? My ego! You’ll probably think you have possession of your mind, but very few do. How do you know? It’s really easy to know. Do you ever override your instinct to do what you know is right because you want to avoid conflict? If you do then you don’t have possession.
Opinions are actually negative even when they appear to be noble. The natural response is to give in to your opinions, thus the negative. What causes the problem is always different. Everyone has his or her own brand of opinions that contaminate their outcomes and destroy the possibilities that life has to offer them.
How can people eliminate the negative influences from their minds?
You need to take the opinions out of the decision-making process. I don’t want to bring my opinion or your opinion into the equation. I want to look for the facts, the truth. Any time you shut off dialogue, you make it impossible for your mind or the minds of others who are helping you to explore new ideas.
It has to start with the leader. The problem with leaders is that most of the time, people won’t tell them the truth because they don’t want to tangle with them. They tell them what to hear instead of what they need to know. Who challenges the leader, especially in a small company? No one, so their opinions rule. Whatever they say goes. If they decide it’s time to stop advertising, then the company stops advertising. If they think it’s time to cut employees, then employees are cut. If the leader’s mind is in doubt, the company is cutting itself to pieces.
People look to leaders for direction; that’s natural. But the blind can’t lead the blind. If the leader falls apart, the rest of the company is doomed. If he or she sets the tone, that’s the first step in the right direction.