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Leave Your Ego Behind – FBI Network Meeting 28th May 2018

Presented by: Ross Anderson, Coaching & Leadership International and FBI Faculty

We continue to explore the psychological forces at work in business families that prevent technically “correct and appropriate” advice from being implemented.

Ross has worked with many individuals and groups over many years. He applies knowledge and skills gained as a former clinical and organisational psych, to his current work as a family business solutionist. He collaborates with legal, commercial and financial advisers whose perspectives and approaches are very different to his own.

Tonight’s session was a lively discussion about the effect of ego on: (a) family groups; (b) their advisers; (c) the giving and receiving of advice.
Key takeaways:

  1. Egos aren’t real things – they are intrinsic views that we create as “social masks” to represent the roles we play in our lives. “Your social mask thrives on approval. It wants control, and it is sustained by power, because it lives in fear” Deepak Chopra
  2. We’ve all encountered individuals in family businesses who block every effort to deal with issues. This is getting increasingly serious as more business owners get older.
  3. Age 70 sounds a loud warning bell. At around this age a lot of people are getting past their best decision-making days. By age 80 things become immeasurably more difficult. In part, this is caused by entrenched views of who and what they are (ego) and in part by a fear of letting go of what’s familiar. Suggestion: guide individuals towards ‘refiring’ rather than ‘retiring’ to help them develop a new self-image.
  4. Current theories of neuroplasticity (the brain’s ability to change and adapt) indicate that age is not a primary physiological cause for increasingly fossilised thinking. However, if individuals develop an increasingly Entrenched Mindset over time, it will eventually lead to fossilised thinking.
  5. Fixed / Entrenched Mindsets: intelligence, character, personality and potential are perceived as fixed. Fundamental conservatism avoids change through fear of challenge and possible failure. Would prefer to stick with what they know, even if it hurts.
  6. Growth Mindsets: intelligence, character, personality and potential can be continuously developed and improved. Natural curiosity and optimism lead to continuous learning, embracing challenge and change, and a desire for success.
  7. Advisers need to recognise and respond to (fossilised) clients with Fixed Mindsets. Rational reasoning won’t work. Suggestion: Emotional negotiations are required.
  8. Advisers need to recognise and respond to their own professional mindsets, which tend to be Fixed due to: silo conditioning, professional elitism, competitive practice cultures, complacency and discipline-centric process rules. These can prevent advisers from becoming Agile and Adaptive and … from remaining relevant.

FBI Network meetings are held on the last Monday of the month, from February to November. Guests are welcome. Attendees can connect remotely, using Zoom.


Written by Family Business Institute

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