Practice Management—Looking in the Right Place
By John Brantley
Do you remember the story of the stranger walking down a street at night who comes upon a man on his hands and knees under a street light looking for something? It is an old story. The stranger asked the man, “What are you looking for?”
“My keys,” he says. The stranger starts helping him look for his keys. After a few minutes he asked the man, “So where did you lose your keys?”
The man responds, “Over there,” pointing into the darkness.
“Why are you looking for them here,” the stranger asks.
“It is light here, I can’t see anything over there,”
Obviously a silly story, but it does illustrate an important point for every leader.
To improve performance, you must learn to examine the beliefs that drive performance.
The tendency for most leaders when performance problems occur is to either focus on sales activities or to “tell” the person what to do. It is an engrained leadership practice for most leaders. If you want high performers, though, you must learn to look somewhere else.
The problem is below the surface, not on the surface.
The result that the person is achieving is just the surface expression of the problem. The source of the problem is the person’s beliefs.
Beliefs drive actions. Actions when repeated over time create results.
Results are how we define reality.
Writing a prescription without addressing the beliefs that created the result is like trying to get in shape without exercising and changing your diet. It just won’t happen.
The secret is knowing how to constructively examine someone’s beliefs. Helping someone examine their beliefs can be a very transformational experience for the person and you as the leader, if you know how to do it. Exploring beliefs with someone in a caring communicates that you genuinely care about the person.
Here is a simple three step strategy for helping someone examine their beliefs.
- Look for patterns in performance
- Identify the possible beliefs that may be creating the performance problem.
- Meet with the person and use “call what you see, help me understand, VCR.”
First, examine the performance of the person to identify patterns in four areas:
- What the person is doing
- How the person is doing things
- When the person is doing things
- Who the person is doing things with
Next, identify the possible beliefs that may be driving this performance issue. It may be beliefs about self, success, others, personal power, or some other area. Identify at least two or three probable beliefs.
Meet with the person using “call what you see, help me understand, VCR (Validate, Clarify, Refocus).” This is a simple template to get someone talking and drill down to beliefs. Here is how it works.
“Susan, I have been looking at your reports for the past four weeks and I see this pattern. Help me understand what you think is happening.”
This puts accountability on her shoulders, which is where you want it. Listen carefully to her response, looking for her thought process. When she responds, validate that you hear her by mirroring back what you heard, “So if I am hearing you right, the pattern exists because… or so you did this.. because you thought this...”
Then, ask for clarification. “Susan, if you knew that this pattern was happening, why have we not talked about it before?” Susan will most likely respond with a belief statement. “I was afraid… or I thought that…” Her response will help you hear clearly her beliefs.
Refocus the conversation on results by using the following response, “There will be times again in the future when you will see negative patterns in your reports. What are you going to do different in the future to create a better outcome?” Once she gives an answer, either explore how she will do it or develop a timeline to review it with her.
Practice Management and similar topics are covered in great detail in many of Cannon’s professional development solutions. To find out more visit: www.cannonfinancial.com.
Most people want to be successful. Your job as a leader and coach is to help them build the belief system that leads to the right rhythm of action in their work for success.
Copyright ©2012 Cannon Financial Institute and John Brantley - All Rights Reserved
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While the content herein is based upon information believed to be reliable, no representation or warranty is given as to its accuracy or completeness. For this reason, the program of study should not be relied upon as such. Although effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of these materials, you should verify independently all statements made in the materials before applying them to your particular fact pattern with a client. You should also determine independently the legal, investment, accounting, tax, and other consequences of using any particular device, technique, or suggestions, and before using them in your own wealth management planning or with a client or prospect. Information, concepts, and opinions provided herein are subject to change without notice.
The strategies contained within these materials may not be suitable for all clients. For many concepts discussed herein, clients are strongly urged to consult with their own advisors regarding any potential strategy and will need to strategy described herein is suitable for their particular circumstances.
Examples, provided throughout these materials, are for illustrative purposes only, and no representation is being made that a client will or is likely to achieve the results shown. The examples shown are purely fictional and are not based upon any particular client's circumstances.