An excellent article appeared recently entitled ‘5 Toxic Beliefs that Ruin Careers‘. The piece hits on a key issue in life and business, namely how our perceptions affect the way we think and act. In this post, we look at how the Decalogue Methodology can address toxic beliefs.
Why do some succeed where others fail in the same circumstances? It is a matter of personal conviction, and this notion is nothing new. We learn in the bible that when Moses wanted to enter the land of Canaan, he sent twelve spies ahead to survey the land. Ten of the spies returned dejected by the monstrous things they had seen. Only two spies returned convinced of the land of milk and honey, because they truly had faith in their mission. They were then able to enter the Promised Land.
In his article on Toxic Beliefs, Geoffrey James identifies some common beliefs that handicap people, such as “My self-worth is based on what others think of me.” This is a sure-fire way to lack self-confidence, and there are a variety of techniques that can be adopted to overcome this kind of negative belief.
Transforming the Negative
At Intelligent Management, we also work on eliminating toxic beliefs, but we do so at organizational level. As a group, organizations, and indeed even entire sectors, hold negative beliefs. These beliefs prevent organizations artificially from achieving more than they do. We refer to these beliefs as “assumptions”. They are mental models about the reality in which the organization operates. First of all, these assumptions need to be surfaced and verbalized accurately. Only then can we challenge them. Rather than using techniques to combat them, we attack them with a powerful set of cognitive tools that transform those negative beliefs into a positive strategy and implementation to take the organization to a new level. (See Thinking Process Tools from the Theory of Constraints.)
From Bondage to Freedom
Over the years of transferring the Decalogue methodology to organizations, we have unearthed a vast array of assumptions, or negative beliefs, some of which are specific to an organization, and some which are common to a particular sector. They may have to do with how long it takes to produce a particular product, or what kind of market the organization should address. They may even be about why the organization actually exists and what it does. One of the most exhilarating aspects of our work is surfacing and challenging these beliefs. Once this is achieved, the sense of liberation is palpable, a whole new horizon of possibilities emerges, and the exciting task of designing and implementing a new reality begins. The only limit is what we can conceive.
In our next post, we will look at the toxic belief Geoffrey James mentions regarding “My goal is to be perfect or do something perfectly” and how this connects to W. Edwards Deming and Statistical Methods.