Economic Turbulence Yielding a Business Identity Crisis
If the world economic crisis is negatively affecting you or your business, I have some advice for you…stop worrying about it. There’s next to nothing you can do to fix it, and worrying about it certainly isn’t going to help anything.
If you really want to help yourself and your business, there’s another crisis you should be focusing on. It’s one that nobody is talking about and yet nearly everyone is suffering from. It’s also a crisis that you can actually do something about – and by doing so – you can help yourself fare better in these challenging economic times. Believe it or not, it’s called a Business Identity Crisis.
Economic Crisis, or Identity Crisis, in Business?
What does an identity crisis have to do with you, especially during turbulent economic times? Let’s start by shedding some light on the definition of an identity crisis. Erik Erikson, the ground-breaking developmental psychologist and psychoanalyst, said that people experience an identity crisis when they lose “a sense of personal sameness and historical continuity”. The only way to fully address this crisis is to find a way to see themselves differently and in a way that is more congruent with the new and different world in which they find themselves.
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I am often engaged by leaders of organizations seeking to ignite a transformation. In my leadership and organizational development programs around the country and the world, I have encountered questions about transformational thinking and how to move hearts and minds.
In this blog, my team takes a Q and A approach to addressing training formats and the best way to achieve transformation to reach better outcomes in a leadership team and an entire organization.
Q: Explain your approach to transformational thinking.
Joe Caruso: The templates on which our thoughts are formed typically live in the past: past myths, old driving truths, and past self-definitions. Transformational thinking is different from the way an individual or organization normally thinks in that it doesn’t rely on these three things. When we don’t use past myths, old driving-truths and past self-definitions, we are more likely to think differently enough or change our approach enough to create a vastly different outcome. In other words, to change the behavior, we must first change the thinking that drives the behavior. This is necessary to experience transformational thinking.
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In an interview with Newsweek Magazine, Jack Welch, the iconic CEO of General Electric said, “The old days of asking managers for 3 percent productivity gains–you can’t settle for that. You can’t think incrementally–you have to think transformationally.”
While he’s right, this is much easier to say than to do. The challenge is that few people, let alone organizations, understand the mechanics of transformation. Most people have never had a transformation, and surely even less actually know the mechanics of how to “create” one. One of my pet peeves is when I hear someone say they’re going to attend a full day or multi-day seminar on “change” with the goal of “getting one good thing out of it.” Have we become so jaded about our ability to truly transition that we’ll settle for merely learning “one” new concept as significant movement in our quest? This is hardly the stuff of transformation.
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