In this episode of “Moment of Clarity,” you’ll hear a piece written by our partner Brad Deutser, who is also the co-founder of the Bermuda Clarity Institute and the founder and CEO of Deutser in Houston. Brad is also the person who came up with Circuit Breakers, a powerful and interactive exercise that we use with almost all of our clients in our Learning Lab.
In business, circuit breakers stop the flow of energy and break our connection with our employees, our company, and ourselves. These “breaks” can send people in the wrong direction or in different directions. At Clarity, we create the best environment by directing energy at the right frequency to the right places. This creates a steady flow of energy.
This flow is what drives the leader’s performance and, in turn, the organization’s performance. After 20 years of research and use, the following 12 universal circuit breakers have been found:
This great “gotcha” that grabs us in the gut and shows up when we least expect it can be felt whether we’re winning or losing. Even when we are successful, we worry about what will change and take us out of our routines. When we finally get that promotion we’ve worked so hard for but then start to worry about whether or not we can do the job, that’s when fear shows up. The impostor syndrome is another way that fear can show up. The list keeps growing.
This mix of feelings makes people go in the wrong direction or in no direction at all because they are pulled in different directions or toward ideas that are at odds with each other. When we’re not sure what we want, we’re always looking for it. In our frantic state, we get in the way of smooth operations by sending mixed messages or not making decisions. We sometimes give ourselves room to make mistakes and leave the door open for a quick escape.
No matter if the bog is mental, organizational, physical, or something else that can get out of order, clutter makes it hard to get where you want to go. Sometimes, you can’t find or make a way forward because you’re using up energy and resources that could be used elsewhere instead of just “figuring it out.”
Labeling something gives it shape and gives us confidence that we know what to do with or about it. Putting a name on it makes it seem more real. When we label something as known when it’s really just a theory or a limiting belief, that’s when it breaks the circuit.
The flow of creativity and growth in life is cut off by doubt. When you are put to the test, trust and faith can help you get through hard times and situations. Doubt is like a heavy, dense force that keeps you tied to old ways of doing things and old ways of thinking.
In clarity, we learn how to be strategically patient in a business world that often values short-term profits over long-term sustainability. Strategic patience is when you are careful, deliberate, and focused on doing things that have an effect. Strategic patience also teaches you to trust, as you save up resources for a better time, chance, or team member who can help you get a better result. Impatience creates a frantic energy that makes people take risks they don’t need to or shouldn’t.
Boredom is a lack of inspiration or higher thought, and it may be one of the most dangerous ways to shut down your brain. It sneaks up on you. It takes the easy way out and goes for the easy things. It does just enough to get by without being noticed or called out, so it can continue to underperform without being noticed or called out. In any field where safety is important, not paying attention to it can lead to accidents, injuries, or even the death of a business, a person, or a bottom line.
Power struggles involve a clash of energy that is focused on people instead of goals or dreams. Values that don’t match up can cause a power struggle, but most of the time it’s more about claiming resources and “territory” than it is about figuring out the differences in values. Conflict can also be caused by greed or a move that takes you too far away from your roots and cuts you off from what gives you life.
Leaders need to be sure of themselves. We have to be able to make decisions, have faith in ourselves and others, and figure out what the best choices are for our businesses. Confidence becomes a problem when it turns into things like arrogance, hubris, self-absorption, “peacocking,” and a false sense of invincibility. Overconfidence hurts leadership and makes people less engaged and less productive.
ten. Normal wear and tear
Leaders have to deal with the real effects of the daily mental and physical attacks they are expected to deal with because they are in a unique position to do so. Leaders are always being asked to connect different worlds and solve problems. They are trying to stay alive and set themselves up for future success at the same time, and they often don’t notice how hard it is on them. It’s like the creative high people talk about. That high keeps getting higher and higher until the inevitable crash. Leaders will all agree that it can’t go on like this, but few will do anything about it.
The inference is everywhere in the world we live in. The talk doesn’t last long. Even less time is spent on one thing. Instead of having a real conversation, we are talked at or talked around. In today’s world, headlines and short phrases are more important than the full story, which gives more color, context, and definition. We often fill in the gaps that others have left, even when there aren’t any gaps.
We have to work every day to try to find a balance between the things we have and what we need. The act of balancing itself is not a circuit breaker. It becomes one when it takes up all of our thoughts, makes us think about something else, and stops the flow of positive energy. Time is one of the many resources we must always keep in mind when figuring out how to get healthy energy.
How critical it is to understand circuit breakers
Leaders who try to clearly know what forces stop the natural flow of energy for themselves and their organizations. They know how it affects them and the people they are in charge of. They also know that it has a direct link to culture, which drives performance and is the first step toward being in clarity.
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