DX celebrated its third birthday on April 1. WOW! While in our early years we’ve learned how to walk and are now speaking coherently, every day is a learning day, and we have so much more to learn. We’re getting better and growing up. As I reflect on the last three years, I’m fascinated that our journey is very similar to my vision of how DX will improve the workplace by unlocking leadership potential. Come with me on my journey so far….
Unconscious Incompetence – blissful ignorance
For the first year of DX’s life, I had no idea what I was doing. I had a vision and an idea about why I founded DX, but in terms of knowing if it was working or not, I had no clue. I had a plan, and I just went about my daily work with no real understanding whether what I was doing was good, bad, or indifferent. I was so busy that when I did get feedback, it went in one ear and out the other. Or if someone who was not in my trusted circle gave me advice, my brain discredited their input and nothing changed.
When I looked in the mirror, I saw this 6-foot-2 (I’m 5 foot-10) glorious hunk of a man (I am not that). I had this elevated view that everything was just dandy. Despite my lack of self-awareness, it worked! We had an unbelievable first year. How many leaders walk around like this in your business? In their minds, things are working, and the results are there to back up their assumptions.
Conscious incompetence – rude awakening
The second year, I hired someone. I trusted her, and she started to give me feedback – which I listened to. I started to read more and listen better. I got cold sweats as I accumulated data on all the things I wasn’t doing well and could do better. I started to look in the mirror and see things I hadn’t seen before. I was now more aware ofmy blind spots as a business and as a leader, and it was hard. I am not this 6-foot-2 hunk of a man after all!
With a growth mindset and the right frame of mind, this is amazing data that gives you what you need to #getbettereveryday, and I started to think of the #DXDifference. No one is perfect. We can all get better, but we first need to know what we can get better at and be motivated to want to do it. I’ve barely slept since! I learned more than I could cope with, but it was invigorating. How many leaders have this insight and glimpse of self-awareness, but never actually do anything about it?
Conscious competence – the hard work begins
If, in Year 1, you look in the mirror and love everything you see and more, and in Year 2 you start to see things you’d like to improve and reality sets in, then Year 3 is about working hard on the things you don’t like, and doing them with a smile. I now surround myself with people who enable me and the business to grow, and who do the things I don’t do well.
As a founder, you want to do everything. As it’s your baby, you innately want to have your say in everything that goes on, but you can’t. This is the hardest thing I work on every day. I want to control everything! We are hard-wired to control, and it’s even worse when it’s your company, founded with your money, blood, sweat, and tears. But I’m consciously working on letting go, leading my team, and allowing them to think for themselves. Am I competent at this? Hell, no. That’s what Year 4 is all about!
Unconscious competence – habit
If I keep working on my blind spots and leveraging my strengths, and if I continue to listen to feedback, ask for feedback, and create a culture of feedback, my day becomes a series of unconscious habits. When someone asks me how to do something, I coach them to their own conclusion. When something happens that I don’t like, I’ll give feedback on it. I won’t tell people what to do, but I’ll do my best to allow them to conceive of a solution themselves. I’ll always be clear on expectations, so people don’t blame each other. I’ll treat everyone fairly. This is what I aspire to model, but to get to that point, you first need to know you’re not here yet, and then be motivated to want to be here.
That’s why I started DX. This is the journey I want every leader and every person to go through. However, I don’t want them to suffer the way I have and as millions of others do. We move people along this journey in weeks, not years, using a combination of experiential learning, neuroscience, and technology. Imagine how many millions of leaders are stuck in blissful ignorance with a bloated view of themselves? Even those who have a rude awakening – are they really motivated to go to the next step?
You’ll have to wait a year to see if Year 4 becomes a series of habits. If you want your leaders to model habits that will move your culture to the next level, give me a call. I invite you to leave your feedback below. Love to hear your thoughts!