How to empower yourself and your employees to become great!
I’m going to start with a bit of mathematics. You may wonder what on Earth does this have anything to do with this website…. and especially if you hate maths… but I ask you to please bare with me…
Let’s start with a bit of algebra.
X +Y = Z. It’s a very simple equation.
X and Y are variables, if either changes it will impact what Z is.
Now assume that X is a fixed number, for example X is 10 and cannot be changed. Now assume you want the Z to be a 20. Therefore all you would do is make Y equal to 10 also. Therefore
We have X + Y = Z Want 10 x Y = 20 So 10 + 10 = 20
Simple, right? Now continue to assume that X is still fixed at a value of 10. Now, what does it take for Z to be a zero? Well:
We have x + y = z We want 10 + y = 0 Therefore if y = -10 10 -10 = 0
So now you’re wondering what the hell I’m talking about?!
To answer this question, I want to introduce you to another equation. This equation is the essence of your life. This equation is the truth that determine outcomes in your life and workplace; how you cope in life; the quality of the relationships with people, peers, family; and what you’re able to achieve in life!
E + R = O
Write this equation down. Remember it.
E = Event, R= Reaction, and O= Outcome. Event + Reaction = Outcome.
An event is a fixed item. It cannot be changed. An event is your situation, your experience, or anything that is happening in your life right now or has happened in the past.
The reaction is your reaction to the event. It is how you respond to any situation, experience or anything that is happening in your life!
Finally, the outcome is the result. It is the output or the consequence of the reaction and the event combined.
Going back to our original equation of X + Y = Z, remember that we fixed the X value. In this case the event is a fixed value also.
Also remember, to give Z a certain value, the only thing we could control was the Y. Well in this case to give a certain outcome, the only thing that we can control is the reaction.
It really is that simple. I’m not sure about you, but the more I thought about this when I first heard of this, it just brought a whole new prescriptive to the way I though and the way I felt. It brought in a lot of lose ends together and tied them up into this neat little package.
The only thing we can control is the reaction – our reaction to an event. This alone will determine the outcome. You must remember that the event is a fixed value, it is out of your control.
But the problem in life is that we tend to get hung up on the event. We wish we can change a certain event or we wish certain events never happened to us, and we continue to idle on this thought. We let these feelings linger on, without changing our reaction to the event. Even though we desperately want a certain outcome. This is the core of the victim mentality.
We carry the victim mentality with us, when we continue to think about the event. But we escape the victim mentality when we empower ourselves to have a positive reaction. The reaction in adverse situations can be negative too. But just as 10 -10 = zero or even worse 10-15 = -5, a bad reaction is more detrimental to our outcome!
The only thing that will impact the outcome is your reaction. If you want a positive outcome – then you need a positive reaction. Human behaviour dictates that our natural response to an adverse event is one of three: fight, freeze, or flight.
Are your typical reactions the following?
- Run away from the problem? (flight)
- Not stand up for what’s fair? (flight)
- Become defensive? or argumentative? (fight)
- Only ponder on how you could have changed the original event (freeze)
- Continue to blame other people for the situation you’re in (fight/freeze)
Or are your reactions the following?
- Instead of thinking about the event, you start taking actionable steps
- Instead of blaming other people, you think about how you can make an impact and alter your situation
- Listening, really listening to the people around you to gain their perspective
- Using new perspective or learning to try and improve the outcome
There’s a stark contrast between the two sets of reactions. One is negative, these only lead to negative or valueless outcomes. The other set are positive reactions which beget more action and better outcomes.
You may not win and you may not get your desired outcome. But that’s okay! Owning your reaction and enjoying the process or the journey is just as – if not more – important than the outcome. I would even argue that it’s not up to you to determine the outcome either.
Another way to think about the outcome is to think of it as the future event. Just as you must react independent of the original event, you must also become outcome independent.
Control your reactions to the original event.
Control your actions for the future event.
“But what if I don’t make it?“, you think. Then you need to read this! In short, do not make it about the destination. Because no matter what the destination looks like, you will have been more fulfilled by the empowerment, the relationships you build, and by the journey it self.
How do I motivate and empower my employees?
Humanizing your workplace means thinking people first. Putting people before you put the numbers and trusting that nurturing people, will lead to performance.
Imagine if your entire workforce was passionate, took accountability, took on additional responsibility without being asked, and just took action every time it’s needed? This comes from knowing that their own reactions lead to the right outcome.
It prevents them from spiraling into a victim mentality where they blame adversity on their peers, managers, customers, or other negative events.
This is also why having a solid vision, mission and objectives are critical to the success of a well aligned workforce. These give the employees an outcome to aim for or future events they want to see.
When every employee knows exactly what they stand for in your business, they know exactly what their part in the mission is, and they know exactly how they’re helping fulfill the vision, and they know exactly what their aim is for the year, and they know that their reactions alone .
The only things in life you control are the actions you take. The only thing that people (and your peers or staff) can control are also the actions that they take themselves.
E + R = O, where E is event, R is your reaction to the Event, and O is the outcome that is created through your reaction. The significance of this equation is it’s simplicity to show you and remind you that your reaction is foremost the most important thing that leads to certain outcomes in your life and workplace.
If everyone in your company thinks like this, it won’t matter what customers throw at you, it won’t matter what external pressures you’re under as a business, it will get each employee to be more accountable, to take ownership, and every employee will help your workplace become a great place to work.
It doesn’t mean that every outcome will be in your favour. But it will get you and your employees to appreciate and enjoy the journey it self while becoming outcome independent. That means even if the outcome is not what you wanted, you and your employees continue working towards solutions rather than fighting, freezing or fleeing.