1/ GUARD AGAINST THE FOUR MOST-COMMON MENTAL HOOKS
To make life easier, everyone puts people, things, and experiences into quick and simple mental categories. Too often, however, our heuristics become hooks that actually end up costing us time and energy. Watch out for the following agility-killing mental hooks:
1. Thought-blaming : I thought he was being aloof, so I stopped sharing information on the project . “In this example, the speaker blames his thoughts for his actions – or inactions,” writes David, who urges you to remember: “Thoughts in isolation do not cause behavior. Old stories don’t cause behavior. We cause our behavior.”
2. “Monkey mind” : describes that incessant internal chatterbox that can leap from one topic to the next like a monkey swinging from tree to tree,” explains David. “Monkey mind is obsessed with the push of the past (‘I just can’t forgive what he did)’ and the pull of the future (‘I can’t wait to quit and give my manager a piece of my mind’). It’s also often filled with bossy, judgmental inner language, words like ‘must’ and ‘can’t’ and ‘should’.
3. Old, outgrown ideas : We all inherit thought processes created to help us through various life experiences. The problem is that we often keep using them even after they’ve stopped serving us. For example, after moving from the trading floor to the boardroom, you might continue to present yourself in the same ‘rough- and-tumble’ way, trying to appear invulnerable even though it no longer earns you credibility.
4. Wrongheaded Righteousness : The need to be right and to demonstrate your rightness almost always blinds you to the bigger picture, unnecessarily aggravating your misunderstandings with family, friends, and colleagues. David describes the impulse to prove your rightness rather than seek mutual understanding as “cutting off your nose to spite your face.”
2/ RECOGNIZE THE SIGNS THAT YOU AND YOUR TEAMS ARE HOOKED
“Sometimes in the collaborative world of work it isn’t just one person who is hooked; it’s the whole team,” notes David. In fact, group work tends to aggravate the risk of emotional rigidity. Learn to recognize the following signs that you and / or your team members are hooked:
– “Unable to let go of an old idea or of ‘being right’ even when there is an obviously better course of action.
– Staying silent when you know something is going wrong.
– Keeping busy with small tasks without considering the bigger picture.
– Volunteering for only the least diffi cult assignments or tasks.
– Making backhanded comments about colleagues or projects.
– Relying on assumptions or stereotypes about colleagues.
– Not taking agency over career development”