Rethinking What We Think About Change – Prof Scott Taylor at Babson College

After talking about the effect of poor business leaders, Scott asked us to think of people who influenced us to change our behaviour. This can be classified in the below ways:

  • Ideal Self – lifted your aspirations in some way or raised your model of what kind of person you want to be
  • Real Self – just gave you feedback
    • Strengths – expressed confidence in ability, pointed out an area of strong ability
    • Gaps – focused on a weakness or an area needing to improve; pointed out lack of ability; gave “constructive feedback”; hostility in sheep’s clothing
  • Learning Agenda/Experimentation and practice – suggestions or goals to make or action steps to take

The strong consensus from the group was that people answered that the Ideal Self / Strengths box is ticked when you ask the question “Who has helped you”, whereas when people are asked about who tried to change you at work, the answer is in the other boxes more frequently.

This idea of inspiring yourself by thinking about your “ideal self” ties in with what I do already – when I reflect on decisions I have made, my main framework for judging that decision is 1) is it moving me closer to my ideal state and/or 2) would the ideal “Michael Barry” have made that decision. The question I have to answer then is who is the ideal “Michael Barry”?! I think the answer to that is more an image than a list of attributes, which isn’t helpful for trying to explain what it means – however I find it still works.

Gustavo Dudamel and the True Self

We watched a fascinating clip from a 60 minute documentary about this very young virtuoso conductor from Venezuela. What came across was his authenticity, his passion and the way he is living in his ideal self and the achievement that comes from this place.

Managers and the Employee Ideal Self

Ask an employee what their best day was, when they felt most close to their ideal self.

Then ask the manager what they think the answer would have been for each employee?

In Scott’s experience, few managers are good at answering that question. So how can they inspire people if they can’t answer that question? This is key to inspiring people and employees.

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