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We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”
Anais Nin

Typically successful companies are described in terms of what differentiates their product or service, market competition and pricing power. However, Jim Collins identified that one of the key factors is the quality of the leaders. Great leaders know themselves.

Sounds obvious and yet many of us act as if on “automatic pilot.”  We are unconscious about what motivates or hinders us when working with our colleagues, customers or suppliers.

We all have unconscious patterns of making sense of information. These patterns or Meta Programmes affect what we notice and what we filter out. Ian McDermott and Wendy Jago discuss several Meta Programmes that affect how we work and engage with others.

Questions for reflection:

How do you respond to risk: do you “move towards” risk or “move away from” it?

What calls you to action: what is “necessary” and has to be done or what might be “possible” and what is new?

When analysing a business opportunity do you look for “similarities” or do you focus on “differences”?

What inspires you: sifting through the finer detail “small chunk size” or the big picture “large chunk size”?

In “ It’s My Way or the Highway…Isn’t it? we explored some different standards, practices and norms of culturally diverse teams.

Now it is time to consider what makes you tick; what you really care about and how you make sense of your world so that you can lead a successful business.

You can build your awareness:

  • Start to notice how you react when something goes well or poorly.
  • Notice the trigger – e.g. it could be a word or phrase, someone’s name or appearance, the speaker’s tone of voice or the way a proposal is displayed.
  • Take a deep breath, centre yourself and acknowledge your emotions, internal chatter or how your body is responding.
  • Jot down in your journal how you are reacting and build your awareness of your patterns.


To further explore different styles and motivators see the following:

Caloni, Sylvana. (2015). Six reasons to write a journal

Collins, Jim. (2001). Good to Great. USCollins Business

Goldsmith, Marshall (2015).  Triggers: Sparking Positive Change and Making it Last. US: Random House

McDermott, Ian and Jago, Wendy. (2002). The NLP Coach. UK: Piatkus


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