April 3

Umar Hameed


Origins of a Micro-Manager

What I’m about to tell you happened over 30 years ago. Sonia was just nine years old and this was a significant day in her life. You see it was six months after the divorce and her mother was going out on her first date.

Her mother was so excited, that evening she turned to her and said, “Just keep the doors and windows locked and you’ll be fine.” With that she left.

Sonia wanted to be brave. She really did.

Everything was going okay until she heard someone walking up the front steps to the house. Something about that just freaked her out.

She ran into the kitchen and got the largest knife out of the butcher block. She ran into the bathroom slammed the door shut and just stood there holding that large knife in her hand waiting for what was going to happen next.

I met Sonia 30 years after this event. Sonia is a CEO who runs a successful company. One of the things that she’s proud of is her management team.

It took her two years to find the right people to help her grow her company. People who had the drive, passion and expertise to help her grow her company. The only problem, Sonia is a world-class micromanager.

Every decision that gets made by her management team she has to be a part of. This was alienating her team and slowing the entire company down.

To fix this, Sonia took a workshop on delegation. Sonja even hired a coach. Nothing seemed to help this compulsion.

Let’s Change – Quickly

When Sonja came to see me, she told me about her micromanagement compulsion. I asked her to think of a particular time where she felt the urge to micromanage. It took her moment and she said, “Just the other day, I was talking to a client and something was going wrong. And, I felt the urge to take charge.”

I said, “Great! Go back to your office when you were talking to your client and see what you saw back then. Hear what you heard back then (your client’s voice, your inner thoughts and any other sounds that were present).”

When you do this it causes you to feel whatever you are feeling back then. Sonia said, “Oh my God! I’m feeling it now! It’s a weird feeling in my solar plexus.

Using a tool from neuroscience, I got her to link that feeling in her solar plexus with her unconscious mind. And I asked her unconscious mind, “This is a very unique feeling, When have you felt it before?”

If I’d asked her conscious mind the answer would’ve been, “I don’t know.” But, your unconscious mind records everything. As soon as I asked her about the feeling, she went back to that memory from 30 years ago.

You see, when she was in the bathroom holding a large knife, she had a thought, “To my mother, men are more important than me.” From that thought she created a belief, “The only person in the entire world that I can truly trust is me.” This belief had been driving her behavior for over 30 years.

Using the tool from Applied Neuroscience, I was able to show her how to change that belief. After the 1 1/2 hour session, you could visibly see something profound had happened to her. I sent her on her way and asked her to notice what was different.

A couple of days later, Sonia called me and said, “I’m not sure what you did but it’s like 100 pounds have been lifted off my shoulders. My compulsion to micromanage is gone and for the first time in my life I’m truly enjoying my accomplishments”.

I want the world to know that change happens in an instant. In our culture, we think that change is difficult, it takes long time and it may never happen. But the latest advances in neuroscience prove that change happens quickly and the change is permanent.

How Your Brain Works

At the heart of who you are is where you hold your beliefs. It turns out that you have anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 beliefs that define who you are.

We have beliefs about cars, coffee, marriage. Pretty much we have beliefs about everything in our awareness. The problem is that most of our beliefs are formed by the time we are seven years of age. After the age of seven we only have an additional 5% of beliefs.

We get our beliefs from our parents, uncles and aunts, teachers. Pretty much, if someone in authority says something believable before the age of seven, that thought goes into our unconscious and becomes a belief that directs our life from then on. Getting a new belief could be as simple as this.

The family is going to a new car dealer one Saturday morning. Just before mom and dad get out of the car, mom says to dad, “Remember, don’t let the salesperson know you like a car otherwise he will force you to buy it.”

The five-year-old, Sally, is sitting in the backseat. She hears this and creates a belief, “Don’t trust salespeople.” From that point in her life Sally looks for evidence to support this belief.

Every time she hears about a salesperson taking advantage of someone, it will strengthen her belief. If she hears of a salesperson going above and beyond, she’ll either disregarded it or assume the salesperson’s only doing this for some nefarious purpose.

Your Brain is an Energy Hog

Your brain accounts for 2% of your body mass. But, it uses 25% of your body’s energy. Now, this sounds like a lot but it turns out your brain is lazy.

Well not exactly lazy, your brain realizes that you need energy to save your life. Because, one never knows when you will be attacked by zombies. To conserve energy, your brain uses your beliefs to creates a model of the world.

This model becomes a shorthand that saves your brain from thinking thus saving energy. Otherwise, you would use 70%+ of your energy and not have enough reserves to save your life in a moment of crisis.

This model allows you to respond quickly to situations without much thinking. This model dictates your behaviors, what you will do and what you won’t do. Your behaviors determine the results you achieve.

The results you achieve are clear to see. This is especially true in sales because there is a number attached to your name. If you’re not getting the right results (high sales), it’s clear that you have to change your behavior.

Traditionally, to change someone’s behavior we just tell them what to do differently (do more cold calls). This almost never works.

In fact, in America, we spend over $100 billion a year to change people and organizations. According to the Wharton school of business this fails over 70% of the time. Here is a model that explains what’s going on.

Neuroscience to the Rescue

Think of a belief as a black hole of gravity that locks your behavior in place. No matter how much someone wants to change a behavior it will not change unless we address the underlying belief that controls it.

For example, a salesperson wants to be able to increase her prices. The first time a prospect pushes back she immediately discounts her price. She knows this is wrong and has been trained not to do this. She knows that her product is worth the higher price. But no matter how hard she tries she can’t help her “discounting” ways.

You see, telling someone what to do differently doesn’t work because the limiting belief has that old behavior locked in it’s orbit. Sometimes, the behavior does change but the gravity from the limiting belief pulls it back within a few days.

If you want to change a behavior you have to change the underlying belief first. Neuroscience shows us how to change beliefs quickly and consistently.

About the author 

Umar Hameed


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