Five Reasons People Stop Learning and Don’t Change

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I spoke with a client last week that told me of a leader who lost her job because her employees had lost trust in her. They were demoralized because their customer satisfaction scores were the lowest in the organization. After multiple sessions of talking about strategies to reverse the situation, and the development of detailed plans, nothing in the leader’s behavior changed. There was plenty of talk but no action.

There are many reasons why leaders don’t change, but in my consulting and coaching work, I’ve found five common reasons:

  1. Inertia. Inertia is seductive. It’s easy to get lulled in to doing your work in ways you’ve always done it even if it doesn’t work anymore. There is a tendency to become enamored with the simplicity of replicating the past and remaining content to do uninspired and pedestrian work. Work that is not creative but is safe and predictable.
  1. Ignorance. You can be smart and ignorant simultaneously. For example, a leader can be ignorant about employees’ or customers’ hopes, dreams and aspirations. When leaders lack the knowledge of how to win the hearts and minds of those they work with, those leaders need new information and insight as to how to build personal engagement and commitment.
  1. Incompetence. Incompetence in a leadership context is not having the talents and skills to do transformational work while also navigating adversity and change. People who are incompetent are fully capable of doing meaningful work, but need training and mentoring in how to become an exemplary leader. Incompetence is not a pejorative word unless the fourth barrier is also an issue.
  2. Indifference. Indifference comes from not having a clear and compelling leadership purpose. While achieving financial results is essential to remaining relevant as a leader, financial metrics as a purpose counter-intuitively ensures lower performance. Making a meaningful difference in employees’ lives as well as customers’ lives, on the other hand, jettisons indifference and brings forth greater creativity, energy and a willingness to grow.
  1. Insecurity. Low levels of self-worth and self-esteem are prevalent at all levels of an organization. When I worked with a Senior Vice-President of Operations the biggest factor affecting his effectiveness was a deeply rooted insecurity and belief that he was “the wrong person for the job”.

When I’m asked how to counteract these five barriers I suggest one overarching strategy that not only shatters the barriers, but also catapults leaders to once unimagined heights. What’s the one strategy? Master your mindset.

How do you do that? You take the Monday Morning Mindset Challenge.

Monday Morning Mindset Challenge:

Download your copy of the Mastering your Mindset Special Report and isolate the primary negative thinking habit that holds you back. Choose one of the success strategies and implement it starting today.

You can find the report using this link.

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