April 2011

The World of Expectations, Part 2

(This is the second part of a three-part series; if you haven’t already, I recommend that you read the first part to set the context for yourself)

Welcome back. In this part of our exploration of the world of expectations, we will take a look at how our overall performance and experience are shaped and constrained by what we expect, and then look to see what will allow us to restore and elevate our effectiveness and results. And again, this is not The Truth or something to be believed, but something to consider. For when we see something from a new perspective, we give ourselves new opportunities for action, new ways to be and a whole new experience.

In last month’s newsletter we looked at ourselves and started to get an idea of the degree to which how we see the world, and in fact how we are (think, feel, act) in the world, is colored and influenced by our expectations. Let’s revisit this once more from the view of neurobiology. Consider this: If visual sensations were primarily received rather than constructed by the brain, you’d expect that most of the fibers going to the brain’s primary visual cortex would come from the retina. Instead, scientists have found that only twenty per cent do; eighty per cent come downward from regions of the brain governing functions like memory.

In fact, Richard Gregory, a prominent British neuropsychologist, estimates that visual perception is more than ninety per cent memory and less than ten per cent sensory nerve signals.

Are you starting to get this?

We don’t “see” with our eyes. We “see” with our brain. What we “see” is almost totally constructed from what we have seen and what we expect to see. We think and act as if we’re “perceiving” something “out there”, and reacting accordingly, right? It’s just not the case. Our expectations don’t just influence our “response to what’s happening”, they create the “happening” that we’re “responding to”. The same goes for the other senses, and, by extension, listening (as distinct from just hearing). The way that a situation (and “the world”) occurs for us, and therefore the way we act “in response” to that occurring situation, is wholly a function of the future we expect, which is limited to some variation of what we’ve “experienced” in the past.

What does this actually look like? Well, in sales it could look like this:

Read More »The World of Expectations, Part 2

The Natural Brand

I’d like to talk about Branding. Not to discuss how to get your brand known, create brand recognition, nor how branding is supported through marketing or advertising. This instead, is the description of the “Natural Brand”.

Business success – lasting, enjoyable, and profitable success – comes from a business or organization knowing who it is, what it is committed to, and what it does best. Business leaders could be tremendously well served by examining this, both personally and organizationally. Ask: What are you passionate about, and what are you great at?

“Branding” has value. But lasting value comes from identifying one’s own “natural brand”. Identify the things you are most passionate about and greatest at, and keep your focus on doing those things. Know yourself and “to thine own self be true.” Let the brand come forth from who you are, and you will likely live up to the expectations you create. Natural Brand is an expression of values. Real Values.

Many companies have a great “Statement of Values”. For example, Enron had the following engraved in stone in their main lobby: “Integrity • Communication • Respect • Excellence.”

But, I am not referring to value statements; I am referring to real values. If you want to see the values of a business, look at their practices, e.g. how they approach their clients, their challenges, their decision making processes, etc. Real values are always realized; in existence, in the present tense.

I highly recommend that people who are interested in long term success read the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins. In it, the discussion of knowing who you are and what you are committed to is discussed with examples of some very successful organizations, world leaders in their time. And if any of you ever want to speak about how to apply these principals to make your business more successful, I would be happy to discuss it with you.

It is my belief that people who love what they do, and do it well, can be well compensated for their work. Further, I suggest that being well compensated for doing what one loves to do and does well is simple to create.

Read More »The Natural Brand