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April 30, 2014

Working Smart

Change Thinking—Change Results

by Tony Jeary

When leaders, executives, managers or anyone who has the responsibility for achieving results, get results that are less than expected or unsatisfactory, some sort of problem-solving process begins. The quest to produce superior results always begins with attempting to either come up with a better way to do something or to fix something that isn’t working properly. It can involve a minor part or a larger process, or it can engage the very core of a vision that isn’t succeeding. The approach taken for problem solving comes in many forms, but the end goal is always to produce a better result.  

Wouldn’t it be great to have a process by which you could accurately identify a core issue that causes poor results? I’m talking about a process that would be common to all problems and could be deployed in every instance to overcome challenges and improve results. Would it shock you to think that all problems and poor results might always begin with the same core cause? Would it surprise you to learn that all problems and solutions are in fact the same thing? Well, I submit that is exactly the case. The purpose of this article is to identify the issue and explain why and how to use it as the basis for an unfailing problem-solving process and to relate it to the change of thinking that needs to happen that first 30, 60 and 90 days of a new person joining your organization. You only have one opportunity to start that person down the right path.

The cause of poor results and the solution for superior results is always the same: Thinking!  

The simple explanation for the truth of this is that your thoughts determine your action, and your action produces the results you get. In any endeavor, if you get poor results along the way it’s because someone’s thinking in the action chain was not what it should have been. It may be yours or some else’s who collaborates with you. 

There is an old cliché we all know—that the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same things over and over again expecting different results. The real question that must be asked is what causes people to keep doing the same things over and over again, even if their results are not what they need or want? The answer is that they do not change their thinking; therefore they don’t change what they are doing, so they get the same results! If your results are less than you expected, the path to better results begins by examining the thinking that drove the action that produced the results. Thinking is the core issue that causes poor results, so the examination of thinking is always the starting place for changing results.

Why Thinking Drives Change and, therefore, Results

Tony Jeary’s latest book, Business Ground Rules.
Tony Jeary’s latest book, Business Ground Rules.

From the day we are born the process of learning begins. Our subconscious mind, where all new information is processed and stored, is capable of processing 40 million bits of data per second. Most of that data is just filed away to be recalled when needed, but the accumulation of all that information creates what I call a Belief Window. The Belief Window is the way we see the world and interpret its meaning, and it’s the filter by which we make our decisions. Underneath the Belief Window is all the information we believe to be true, false, right, wrong, correct or incorrect, appropriate or inappropriate. All the things we believe combine to create our conscious thoughts and our feelings. The thing to understand about this fact is that we make all of our choices in life based on our thoughts and feelings. 

Our choices determine the action we take, and our action drives the results we experience. It is easy to understand that this process is the reason our thinking is the root cause of results. It is the foundation for everything we experience that is within our control. The truth of all this explains why change is so difficult for people. Real change requires us to change some things we believe to be true that are not true. Emotionally we have to accept that our thinking has been incorrect or outdated, and few people want to admit they have been wrong. The most heated discussions involve differences in belief. Think about every argument you have ever had, and you will quickly see that it was caused by two or more different beliefs about something.

How Do We Change Someone’s Thinking?

How do we change the thinking of a new person coming into an organization? The only way people can really change what they believe is to do it voluntarily. Convincing others to change requires compelling reasoning to make them think about things a different way. That requires giving them distinctions and different perspectives that make sense to them individually and that they can use to help others believe and buy in to as well. It requires helping them see Blind Spots—and we all have them. It means getting them to see through the eyes of someone else’s success. If someone I trust is able to sit me down long enough and simply facilitate some basic facts about something, I can “get it.” That revelation can often be life-changing, and I am motivated to take action accordingly. The right thinking attracts momentum and helps ensure execution.

I propose, and I think as a leader in this industry you would agree, one of the most critical touch points that really matters is the starter kit. How’s yours? Is it old, new, fresh, pretty, big, small, etc.? Does it break down potential barriers that inhibit taking action? Or does it facilitate understanding in a way that it becomes a catalyst for success? 

Bottom line, the most important questions are: “How well does my starter kit change thinking?” “What tools in my starter kit impact thinking the most?” “What thinking do I want to change?”

As leaders with more than a few years in the business, I’m sure you have dissected your starter kits from all kinds of angles: its cost per tool included, usefulness, size, etc. But have you dissected or assessed each tool regarding the thinking it impacts? Have you determined what thinking you want someone to have as a result of experiencing your kit?

  • Confidence (self, company, industry)
  • Support (belief in product)
  • Being a pioneer
  • Time (how long, how much)
  • Personal development
  • Winning

These are six good ones for sure, and I know you can certainly add more—and should—based on your research, input from your field, and even the trust of your own intuition. I encourage you to invest a bit of time, select a few colleagues and field leaders, and determine the thinking that’s most important for your new people in order for them to take action and to really win as a part of your business. Then decide on what tool or tools best align with converting this kind of thinking.

To sum it up, life is fast, and thinking is hard—most people don’t do enough of it. With the age of technology we are currently experiencing, things change so quickly that continually assessing and changing your thinking is what will keep you competitive in today’s world.

Thinking matters. Are you thinking enough yourself? Do you have a balance between thinking strategically and tactically or are you being overly tactical? 

To reinforce a change in thinking, here are my recommended takeaways for you.

  1. Thinking matters. Period!
  2. Guiding thinking as a strategic process for positively impacting a new person is an advantage—and we all want advantages.
  3. It is a good practice to assess everything often, including your starter kit.
  4. When you think about what you want to happen in the minds of your prospects, recognize that the toolbox or your starter kit plays a big role in their initial thinking and success.
  5. The tools—in your starter kit—you use will either support your growth and future or not, so get this right.

Most importantly, let me repeat—change thinking, change results.


Tony JearyTony Jeary, The RESULTS Guy™, is the author of Business Ground Rules, 100 Lessons for Success, his 40th book. Jeary is a strategist and industry expert who helps companies think better and plan better, hence creating the right faster results. For more information about Jeary, visit www.changethinkingchangeresults.com.