Psychology of Performance – 24 Suffering, Attachment, and Business Performance

This month’s blog theme has been on addictions. This post will focus on a related theme of how suffering comes from attachment in business performance. In our consultations through BizPsych (www.bizpsych.com), we have the opportunity to observe how businesses underperform due to attachments (beliefs) that no longer serve the business. These attachments can be rigidly or compulsively (similar to an addiction, but not the same) held on to or may range from a subtle “this is how we do business,” to “they are loyal employees and I don’t care if they do cause trouble or do not perform as well as the others do.”

So how does suffering occur in a business when an unexamined belief is allowed to operate because it is a “sacred cow” in the organization or because of some other psychological phenomena in the mind of leadership? In one example, the organization (belief 1) had a large contract that was supposed to start in 6 months; the leadership (belief 2) made a decision to borrow money to increase the staffing (belief 3) in the production arena. This occurred and the contract did not materialize. The contract implementation was delayed a year. In the meantime, the organization was overstaffed and now the staffing level was viewed by some as necessary (belief 4). What actually was happening was that the net profit performance was not only compromised, the organization was losing money due to carrying too much overhead without corresponding productivity.

The suffering was occurring on many levels. The organization was suffering from inadequate cash, too much debt, and staff morale problems. The leadership was suffering because of a “sacred cow” belief that they had invested too much in the staff to let some of them go. The staff was suffering because they were fielding complaints from vendors who were not being paid in a timely manner. All of which could be traced to unexamined core beliefs that lead to the behavior observed by us.

The solution was to examine the core beliefs, challenge them, and for leadership to make the hard business decisions they had to in order to keep the organization viable even if it meant giving up the beliefs that they were going to get bigger and more profitable if only the big account would start.

What suffering is occurring in your organization because of attachments to a belief or set of assumptions that do not have data to support them?

Have a day filled with love and happiness,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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