The Common Thread is Awareness | April Update from Craig Clark

While thinking about what to write for the monthly Newsletter, which typically recaptures the last four Momentum fundamentals of the week, I was looking at those last four FOW’s to see if I thought there was a common denominator.

There was, in fact, I realized it was there for all 26 of the fundamental core behaviors that we, Momentum, have committed ourselves to live by, not just in business but in life.

The common thread is “awareness,” that elusive fabric of being that illuminates in consciousness and evaporates into unconsciousness.

Awareness is the ability to directly know and perceive, to feel, or to be cognizant of events. More broadly, it is the state of being conscious of something. [from Wikipedia]

We find that pretty much everyone, and this extends to groups and organizations, has a menu or set of behaviors that represent successful or effective living, for themselves, their team or organization.

A lot of our work is helping them surface those.

Clarity precedes actionable, and to make these precepts a disciplined part of daily behaviors requires expanded awareness.

Awareness of when we are practicing them and more importantly when we are not.

Think of how many times you drove somewhere and got there and realized in retrospect you were pretty much on automatic pilot.

Our neighbors across the street are doing some work on their house, which I have lived across from for 16 years.  As Marlene and I were driving out of our driveway and looking at what they were doing, I had to ask her if a set of large windows had always been there?  Those moments are not only embarrassing but way to frequent! To my relief, she wasn’t sure either.

When I think about the numerous pathways we pursue to elevate our growth in life, spiritual, religion, self-help, transformational programs, yoga, etc.  it seems all paths lead to the same place…being more aware.

In our work with clients, we focus on “performance as a function of behavior and behavior being given by culture (environment)”, and we lead our work from there.

To sustainably elevate performance, it takes a recognition of “behavioral defaults.” That, requires awareness, especially of our blind spots.  One of the major inhibitors to discovering blind spots is a human default known as “conformational bias”

“Where do your beliefs and opinions come from? If you are like most people, you probably like to think that your beliefs are the result of years of experience and objective analysis of the information you have available. The reality is that all of us are susceptible to a tricky problem known as a confirmation bias. While we like to imagine that our beliefs are rational, logical, and objective, the fact is that our ideas are often based on paying attention to the information that upholds our ideas.

At the same time, we tend to ignore the information that challenges our existing beliefs.”    

As humans, we are far more prone to reinforce our beliefs than we are to challenge them.

After years of working with organizations, teams, and leaders we have come to recognize that this kind of awareness, if even pursued, typically evolves slowly with occasional moments of breakthrough or some epiphany.

I mean, we say we want to grow, but the work that characterizes that growth is often deemed too uncomfortable or confronting and we avoid more than engage.

Revealing “blind spots” is a path to greater awareness, however, it demands examining the undesirable impact our “blind spots” have on others and that is usually pretty uncomfortable and even frightening.

Returning to the Fundamentals that we started with, to effectively build those into my everyday behavior reveals to me where I’m inconsistent with the behavior.

The more consistent I get, the more aware I become of new places I’m not.

That raises awareness even more!  The more effective I get at practicing our company Fundamentals, more poor habits get revealed and then displaced with effective and authentic behaviors. We find everyone operates off of a given belief set of fundamentals for living life, which are often unconscious.

Take a moment, think about it, what are yours?
I’m now going to go practice Fundamental #10 “Keep things Fun!”

Until next month,

Craig

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