Sometimes our beliefs hold us back. I am talking about what we consider to be “a fact”. If I had more time and room, I could cite comment after comment that was proven to be inaccurate. Perhaps one of my favorite misquotes is attributed to a former Director of the Patent Office, who supposedly said in 1899 “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” There’s really no proof that Charles Duell ever said that, so I use it to prove my point and not to trash the former Director.
Over time, we’ve all probably heard that you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. That may be true of dogs; but it certainly isn’t true of humans. Because I get to travel quite a bit, I often see “older” people using 4G technology, reading books on tablets of different types, and doing other things they aren’t supposed to be able to do. Sometimes, it seems more difficult to teach old tricks to new dogs rather than the other way around.
In either case, people of any age can learn. Now some have chosen not to do so; and working with them can be more difficult because they have effectively “retired in place” and only want the clock to tick down to zero. Oddly enough, some of them just got into the workforce, or just became head of the family business. In other words, most of us become old when we decide to, regardless of our actual age.
People have all they need to change. They simply have to expand their awareness to their need and the tools at their disposal to do so.
Here are a few steps to help that process along:
Help people identify their limiting beliefs, what’s holding them back. After identifying the limiting belief, help them identify the positive opposite of that belief.
Help them identify internal and external resources available to them – increase their awareness.
Point them in the direction of other experts who see things differently.
Help them determine if what they want changed is based on skill or will.
Get them to focus on what they want to have happen.
This last bullet point may be the most important. Many of us play to keep from losing; and, as a result, we are focused more on what we fear might happen rather than on the discovery of what we have to gain.
In most cases, we can all change and we can all be better than we are. The ability to change is what separates us from the rocks.
Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to stay informed on how to overcome related succession planning issues.