Is Sabotage Destroying Your Business or Workplace? 3 Ways to STOP it Now.


  • SumoMe

Hey Caveman! Not everything is about YOU!

It has been over 50,000 since human beings lived in caves. All those years  ago, life was pretty much about survival – each morning our ancestors would  emerge from their caves and scan the horizon for imminent danger. Although  things have changed a lot in our external environment in the last few thousand  years, in many ways, the wiring in our brains has not. In fact, 90% of what you  and I do on a day to day basis is still based on that ancient wiring and  survival mentality and it is precisely this legacy that needs to be re-directed  to prevent self sabotage from holding you back, personally and  professionally.

You see our brains are wired to spot and avoid danger.  It is because of these primitive instincts that we all have a tendency toward self sabotage.

Even though the danger may not be “life or death”, we see this dynamic play  out in our work environments almost every day. For every daring and outlandish  new idea that is proposed by one hopeful soul, there will be a long list of  skeptical colleagues who are willing to offer 20 reasons why the idea might fail  or cause harm.  This sabotages innovation and progress.

So, how does this play out exactly?

We seem to have a biological urge to save people from themselves – this may  take the form of overtly belittling the person with the idea, tearing the  proposal to shreds, refusing to examine or consider the suggestion seriously or  creating an environment where it is unsafe to brainstorm or take risks. Instead  of fostering initiative and exploring options, the focus is immediately shifted  to put up protective roadblocks and creative stop signs (i.e. sabotage).

Does any of this sound familiar?

Either the voice in your own head that says “you cannot do it” or the guy who  sits two cubicles away and has a knack for tearing everyone else’s ideas to  shreds… yet he can never seem to come up with an innovative or original  solution of his own. In our vigour to ensure that new ideas are properly vetted  and scrutinized, our ancient and hard-wired brain response to scan for danger  and protect ourselves, is effectively killing innovation. This automatic reaction needs to be identified and consciously overridden in order to ensure  that we (as individuals and organizations) start generating novel and  constructive solutions to problems.

3 Tips to Avoid Sabotage and Foster Innovation

1.Eliminate “But” – Instead of searching for looking for defects or pointing  out why something won’t work, focus on how you can add to the discussion or  process. When you (or someone else) conceives of a concept or strategy, resist  the urge to say “yes, but that will never work because”. By substituting the  word “and”, it will allow you to constructively add to or expand upon the idea  rather that stopping the creative process dead in its tracks. This slight change  in words and focus will exponentially impact creativity and reduce sabotage.

2.Don’t mix right and left – Creativity and innovation are often associated  with predominately “right” brain thinking. While critiquing and evaluation are  often considered the domain of the “left” brain. It is difficult (particularly  in a group dynamic) to generate momentum around creativity and imagination while  simultaneously attempting to evaluate and examine each idea. Even the most adept  and flexible brain will struggle to shift gears back and forth. In order to  create the best environment for each and get the best results, it is preferable  to schedule a separate time for brainstorming and appraisal.

3.Put away your club, caveman – It takes approximately one second, from the  time you physically react to something in your environment that generates a  strong emotion, to when your conscious mind kicks in and you start to think  things through. When generating new ideas and searching for innovative  solutions, resist the urge to club suggestions to death. Take a deep breath and  think things through before commenting verbally. Consider using a trained  facilitator for group sessions – this will keep everyone accountable and provide  an objective perspective if the atmosphere becomes in conducive to  advancement.

I once heard a senior manager chastise someone in front of 14 colleagues for  suggesting an idea that seemed [to him] preposterous and impractical. You could  have heard a pin drop in that room and it pretty much shut down the  communication for the rest of the meeting. Nothing got solved and everyone left  deflated. In one foul blow that manager essentially killed any hope of  brainstorming a viable solution. At the end of the day, every problem has a  solution. The key is to harness and re-direct the infinite potential within your  own mind (and the collective mind of the team) to find the inspiration that will  produce the desired result.

 

ImagineeringNow
About The Author
Rhondalynn's life changed forever after the loss of her mother due to a senseless tragedy in 1992. She decided that despite her formal training and a promising career as a lawyer and chartered accountant, she wanted to do something more. So despite the fact she had already invested 10 years of her adult life in university and articling, she did the unthinkable. She left her high paid job as Commercial Manager for one of the largest corporations in the country, she re-trained herself in the sciences of the mind and she discovered a passion for writing and sharing her knowledge with business owners and executives. Rhondalynn has distilled the secrets to business success - that she learned from her life experience and working in GM level roles with Price Waterhouse Coopers, Max Factor, Village Cinemas, and Coles Group Ltd. - and produced a simple step-by-step process that you can apply to your business to boost your sales and bottom line. Rhondalynn can help you put strategies in place to grow your bottom line and ensure that your customers would never think of going elsewhere. She is the leading expert on harnessing the power of your brain and using it to improve your financial results in business. Rhondalynn is the author of On The Shoulders of Giants, Imagineering Your Destiny, Sobre Hombros deGigantes, Financial Foreplay, and Sales Seduction. She has appeared on CNN, Bnet/CBS, Channel 7, Channel 9, Kochie's Business Builders and 3AW, and writes for Yahoo, MYOB, Fast Thinking, Sunday Life, Dynamic Business, Business Spectator and Australian Retailer.

2 Comments:


  • By Pete Nicholson 07 Sep 2011

    I love it! Got someone right next to me in my office who is Mr. But This Won’t Work Because…
    I can relate to this totally.

  • By Seema Bhardalla 08 Sep 2011

    As a typcial “green hat”, to use Edward De Bono’s methodology, I can relate to this article very much. In most meetings at our company all management wants to do is shoot down ideas and come up with reasons why something won’t work. I think it is good to play the devil’s advocate – but not all the time. It’s killing creativity in my workplace and I know of 2 people in my team looking for another job.

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