Self-belief in the balance - Business Works
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Self-belief in the balance

Peter Ryding, CEO, DOIT Success System Self-belief is an essential asset for both business leaders and the businesses they run, but it can also be dangerous. A lack of confidence can lead to procrastination, delaying and avoiding tough decisions, and giving mixed messages through words, body language and actions – or lack of them. On the other end of the scale, too much self-belief can cause people to start putting their ego ahead of their work. This is risky at any level, but particularly for business leaders.

I witnessed both aspects of self-belief several years ago when I was asked to coach a director at HMV. Recently promoted, he suddenly found himself responsible for over 200 stores and 3000 members of staff and felt a powerful need to prove his abilities to those around him. This came across as aggressive and even bullying. It became clear that his need to prove himself was actually driven by a misplaced fear of being 'found out' as he felt, mistakenly, he was not up to the role.

Together we explored his drive, confidence and abilities and used a powerful psychological tool called Belief Builder to find and replace two self-limiting beliefs with a single positive empowering one. As a result he chose to focus upon becoming a more inspiring and accessible leader instead of a tough, intimidating one.

During my time with him I shared the idea of 'S-curves'. This charts the cycle of success, usually in the shape of an elongated 'S' that represents the lifespan of a product, service or business. Initially, the curve dips down, requiring a major investment of time, effort and money, then it works well for a period as it rises up to the right and then naturally starts to decline and dips down again at the end. The trick is to start investing in the next S-curve using profits from the previous one before it’s too late.

The director recognised that HMV was facing the early signs of the second dip, so via a two-day workshop with his team we formulated a strategy based upon an impending shift towards new technologies. However, the board had seen its existing strategies and 'S curve' work for many years and it decided to stay focused primarily upon these approaches and offerings. HMV subsequently missed the opportunity of leveraging its established retail brand and adopting a new S-curve to become the leading online entertainment business, integrated with it's established high street presence. Sadly, we all know what happened next.

Organisations of all sizes can learn from HMV’s experience by using a proven methodology or 'system' of success to make the switch from one S-curve to another. The DOIT system is one we’ve used for over 20 years and it has never failed either us or our clients. Here’s the basic outline of how to DOIT for your business:

  • Define your Desired Outcome, identifying both the Outcome (what needs to happen) and the Desire (why it needs to happen) separately.
  • Pin down the Important things that are critical for success – usually only six or seven.
  • Finally, Take action. This is about professionally planning the work and then working the plan.

Using a step-by-step approach like this, business leaders can learn to balance self-belief, adapt to S-curves and provide their business with the power to succeed.

For more information, please visit the: DOIT success system web site

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