Projectors and Reflectors

In Good to Great Jim Collins profiled some of the CEOs who had created extraordinary growth and returns, and compared them to CEOs who underperformed their industry. Both were projectors and reflectors.

The difference? WHEN they used projection and WHEN they used reflection.

Underperforming CEOs look in the mirror when things are going well and project the blame for poor performance on their employees, the market, and whatever else they can find.

Top performing CEOs project the recognition for success on their employees, but when things go wrong, they look in the mirror and look within. They ask: "What do I need to change (about myself) and how can I most easily make the change?"

In The Caterpillar Doesn't Know, by Kenneth Hey and Peter Moore, the authors state unequivocally that organizational change begins with personal change. When you change yourself, your family, friends, coworkers and organization will self-organize to behave differently.

Have you ever noticed how hard it is to get someone else to change? In 1990, having been married a couple of years, my wife and I were struggling with some issues. I blamed her and she blamed me. We were both projecting the blame. That Fall I started on a practitioner training in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). During the training, I took every one of our conflicts and worked through it as if it were something I needed to change about myself.

Every time I changed something about myself-my past, my beliefs, my values-our relationship improved. We no longer argued about the same issues. When I changed myself, my wife changed and adapted to the new me.

When something isn't working in my business, I ask: "What do I need to change about myself?" Do I have a negative experience in my past holding me back? Am I holding on to a limiting belief? Do I need to adjust my values? What do I need to learn? Invariably I get an intuition, change myself and my business becomes unstuck.

Are you stuck in your personal, professional, or business life? Are you blaming the economy? Your spouse? Kids? Boss? Co-workers?

Ask yourself: "What do I need to change about myself to get this issue unstuck?" Listen for an intuition. It may be to read a book, change your approach, or see a coach or therapist. In today's fast paced world, can you really afford to live with these limitations and stuck states for more than a few days? Probably not.

When you change, your world will change to adapt to you. When you try to make the world change to adapt to you, it will resist. Then you can spend too much energy trying to overcome the resistance. Change yourself; it's easier, faster, and it makes you more resilient.

Use your projector to share the recognition for your successes. Use your mirror to reflect on what you need to change about yourself to open the doorway to a more successful future.

Rights to reprint this article in company periodicals is freely given with the inclusion of the following tag line: "© 2008-2024 Jay Arthur, the KnowWare® Man, 888-468-1537, ."