Busting Beliefs – again!

I love the (thankfully!) regular news items we receive celebrating the achievements people have made when the odds are against them.

This week it’s the story that an Australian, Steve Plain, has set a new record for climbing the highest peaks on each of the seven continents, four years after breaking his neck in a near-fatal surfing accident.

These achievements continue to push the boundaries of what we consider to be achievable.  Think Roger Bannister and the 4 minute mile. Once he had broken this milestone, a raft of other athletes achieved it too.  What had held them back?  The belief that it couldn’t be done.  He busted that for us all.

So how does this relate to business?  We love introducing teams to ‘belief busting’ – a process that enables them to challenge beliefs about the business that are holding them back.

These beliefs are like the table top and you probably had evidence (table legs) that held this belief up.  Take for example, the belief that Father Christmas is real.  The evidence likely came from the fact he left you presents, everyone told you he was real and you might have seen him outside the supermarket before Xmas…but remember when that belief was shattered?  Chances are new evidence came to light.  Maybe a school friend told you it was your parents?  Or you woke up and saw your parents placing presents in your stocking?  All of a sudden, the foundation for your belief in Father Christmas has been shaken and you probably start to question the other evidence you had.

A group of leaders might hold a belief such as “the business is a big tanker and difficult to turn” and sure enough they usually have evidence for this.  However, with a bit of rocking of the table legs e.g. “give me an example of when you have done something quickly”, they usually quickly identify new evidence to shake the disempowering belief.

So a great process for teams to use to challenge beliefs that are not helping them as a business (apologies to anyone whose Father Christmas belief has just been busted!).


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Sam Eddleston

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