Imagine showing someone how to play the game of golf while standing on a tennis court. They won’t be able to fully understand the game because the context is off.
So if the context is off in when trying to play the game of golf on a tennis court, what difference might context make in your decision making?
Consider that if you make decisions in the context of fear or scarcity, your actions will align with fear and scarcity. This reminds me of the story of the business owner who owned a training company. He worked 18 hour days. He was trying to do everything himself, both bringing in sales and executing the training contracts. He had employees and set up an incentive program to compensate his employees who brought in referrals.
The mentor asked the business owner how his new referral program was going. The business owner was discouraged.
The mentor asked the business owner if he was holding employees to their promises on the number of referrals they would bring in and reviewing those promises on a consistent basis? The business owner replied that he was not holding his employees to account.
Mentor: What are you afraid of?
Business Owner: If I hold my team accountable they might leave and they might get angry. I would continue to work 18 hour days.
Mentor: In that context, who benefits?
Business Owner: Nobody.
Mentor: What is the contribution your business makes in the world?
Business Owner: We change lives through our training. Families who had a lot of conflict, have tools that change their family dynamic for the better.
Mentor: So you change the lives of families. What’s possible if you and your employees took action inside of the context of transforming family lives?
Business Owner: [Brief Pause] Whole new opportunities would open up. If my employees were in touch with how much our training changes the family dynamic, getting referrals almost seems easier.
Mentor: As the business owner, when you don’t hold your employees to account on a promise that they made, what are you telling your employees?
Business Owner: I’m telling them that they aren’t capable. And, I know they are!
Mentor: If you hold them to account on the number of referrals they promised in the context of changing lives what does that make available for your employees?
Business Owners: It changes everything! It sounds more fun! They get to see how their actions serve our bigger mission. Now they have a context of how their jobs relate to our contribution to family life.
Taking action inside of the context of your contribution is like playing golf on a golf course. Working inside of the context of your contribution adds new insights and makes a world of difference. When you make decisions inside of the contribution (not the limitations, fear or scarcity), you’ll be setting up a game everyone wants to play.