Competitive Advantage: Employees Who Know They Can Make A Difference

Step 5 of my inspiration recipe called for “Make others
believe that they can make a difference.”

That’s an ingredient you can’t buy at Wal-Mart.

Let me approach this from a personal experience: A few years ago, my husband was diagnosed with adult ADHD. ADHD is linked to low levels of
the neurotransmitters Dopamine and Norepinephrine. This results in, for example, inattention,
distractibility, difficulties with planning and sequencing.

Over a period of almost 30 years, my husband became used
not being able to rely on his will power or memory. There was
no chance of predicting if his neurotransmitters would relay certain pieces of
information (for example, “pay rent today”) or not. Entering into a commitment felt like gambling to him; he could never be sure of the outcome.

Once we learned about the condition, how to restore the chemical imbalance and effectively manage
it, symptoms like procrastination and the
inability to plan ahead financially completely disappeared. My husband experienced
an immediate and incredible recovery from what had previously been described as a lack of stick-to-itiveness.

He was suddenly able to make a difference, to change his future. Only he did not
believe that yet.

You see how important it was for me to

Step 5. Generously spread Change: Make others believe that
they can make a difference. Believe in them, empower them. Allow your
thoughts to become their thoughts.

The big question: How can you make others believe that they
can make a difference?

My answer: Uh, you can’t.

The wording is crappy because you really can’t make someone believe something; at least
not for long.

Generally, I have
a very high internal locus of control – I believe I can make pigeons in China
eat less bread so that US food prices go down. But you can’t make someone believe something. It took me almost two years to learn this.

What if you could make others believe that they can make a

1. You’d be pretty arrogant to think you have the power to influence their thoughts.

2. You’d be manipulative.

3. You’d be implying that you don’t believe in them in the first

So, what can you do?

Learn how you can create the best
environment in which someone can reach his/her potential, do your part always, and
then forget about inspiration and focus on action.

Workplace example:

You want your employees to believe that they can achieve

Learn what their perfect environment would look like and what you can do to help create it (empower employees, delegate responsibility and authority, consistently enforce standards, get rid of
toxic employees, provide employee training, … definitely ask your employees for input!). 

Then allow your employees to be successful. Your part in all this: Forget about inspiration, focus on action.

Do what’s in your power: Communicate, empower, delegate, train, review hiring practices, work on your leadership skills, clarify expectations, build relationships with third parties…

Once employees start seeing results of their labor, they will know that they can make a
difference. All you do is let them.

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