We are all subject to being influenced by events and people around us. It is common for people to say: “the situation demanded that I do it that way.” But the reality is that it wasn’t the situation that caused you to react in a certain way – it was you response to the situation that caused you to react in that way. You always have a choice about what you do.
Good leaders do not just react or respond to situations – they take the time to analyse (think), “What is going on here?” And to formulate an objective, “What is the best course of action?”
Human beings are hot wired to auto-respond to situations. Response is probably part of our internal fight or flight programme. This means that our responses are mostly habitual or based on what we have done previously in similar situations.
Albert Einstein said: “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Leaders constantly ask questions like: “Is there a better way? is this the right way? Is this a good way?” They are in constant quest for improvement.
Outstanding leaders recognise that it is their responsibility to find ways to make improvements for their customers, to cut costs, to optimise profits. These improvements can only be achieved by those who demand of themselves and their teams that they constantly change and refresh their own thinking processes.
Duncan McColl said: “If you do not take charge of your mind, other people and events will do it for you.”