I don’t breach any confidentiality by sharing that wherever I travel in the world, “Growth” has become the central strategy piece of all organizations I speak to… at the point of wondering if un-grow couldn’t be a really worthy disruptive strategy!
So everybody wants to grow? Those who truly will, in a sustainable way, will put energy behind that intention and challenge implicit assumptions on which their current business models are based.
In February 2010, we invited Dr. Kristin Doyle, a Director at the Albert Ellis Institute, to explore whether or not Dr. Ellis therapy could have application for business. The therapy developed by Ellis is called R.E.B.T. (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy). Taking a steep shortcut, this is what we found:
- R.E.B.T. helps patients identify the self-limiting and self defeating “tapes” or beliefs they hold within themselves
- It then challenges the patients about those beliefs (“Why would it always happen like this? Why should people behave like that? Etc…”)
- In the third step patients construct positive and credible alternative beliefs or stories
- Finally, when insecurity or anxiety are triggered, the patients learn to choose (strategy is about making choices would say Nick van Heck) which beliefs they want to play from.
So, following R.E.B.T. we do construct our own self limiting ways of thinking and are also able to deconstruct them. It isn’t without reasons that therapies such as R.E.B.T. are now rapidly gaining interest and recognition and seem to take over from lengthy traditional other types of analysis.
Recently, an article in the Swiss press from two professors of Lausanne University Hospital (CHUV) drew my attention when talking about the power of implicit memory. Their context was about addiction but some of their points supported an excellent article of David Rock (“The Neuroscience of Leadership”). Humans have an implicit memory in which they happily store the information that can be used on “Automatic pilot” (all the things we have come to do naturally, instinctively and almost automatically). There are two good reasons for this: we would otherwise be incapable of multi-tasking and the implicit memory consumes far less energy than the “working memory” (the one we use to reflect, think, analyze, create). Physiologically we are programmed to store as much as we can in our implicit memory. The problem is that a sizeable lot of the assumptions, reflections, hypothesis on which we build our tomorrow’s strategy come directly from that “unconscious memory”. According to Francisco Varela the famous neuroscientist “more than 80% of the information we use to create visual perceptions of the world comes from information already inside the brain”. Talk about preconceived ideas? THIS is also at play during our strategic dialogues!!!
The clip here below was already posted on this blog. It shows one of the world’s leading musicians, Joshua Bell, playing in the metro of Washington, the same concert he had played days before. Nobody stops nor listens as for the busy people the information given by their implicit memory is that no star would ever play at 7.45 am with a 3.5 million US$ Stradivarius in such a risky place than metro…
We will not grow in a sustainable way through “Last year’s budget + 5% mindset”. We will need a totally different mental map which will previously require to identify our implicit assumptions and other (self) limiting beliefs about our businesses.
São-Paulo and Belo-Horizonte were, as always a refreshing occasion to dive into bits of tomorrow’s world. “Emerging” economies and their actors seem far less restrained by inherited orthodoxies than we, in US and Europe, are. And the results are fascinanting…
On my way to Paris, have a good week all! Didier
 Prof. Jacques Besson & Prof. Ansgar Rougemont-Bücking