Self-Efficacy as a Key to Your Success

August 25, 2018 by  

Self-efficacy relates to a person’s ability to have optimistic beliefs, but it’s more than just optimism, perceived self-efficacy explicitly refers to the belief in our ability to deal with challenging encounters. Thus it is one’s belief that they have the capacity to organize and execute the necessary course of action in order to manage situations as they occur.

Self perceptions of self-efficacy affect us in many ways: in our thought patterns, our actions and our physical and emotional states of arousal. People with low self- efficacy experience anxiety, hopelessness, and anger. They find it harder to bounce back after adversity. Those with high self-efficacy experience fulfillment and feelings of calmness that accompany decisiveness and certainty. They are resilient with stressful situations, self-starters, and self-motivating.

Here is how it affects our rate of success:
Self-efficacy provides the foundation for human motivation, well being and personal accomplishments. The more we believe we can do, the more we invest, and thus the greater likelihood we will accomplish what we set out to do.
Empirical research has shown that a belief in one’s ability to cope is a stronger predictor of success than objectively possessing the knowledge and operations skills necessary to get the task done. This is because how we perceive our abilities impacts how we choose to utilize those tools in such a significant way, that it’s more valuable to the outcome than the quality and quantity of the tools themselves.
In our daily lives we make decisions about not only what course of action to pursue but how long to continue the behaviors we have undertaken. Self-efficacy affects how much effort and energy we invest in the decisions we make.
Therefore a positive outcome is not necessarily a matter of what is objectively true regarding the knowledge or the skills possessed at the time of the dilemma, but rather a matter of one’s attitude since self-perception is more likely to influence behaviour.
That is why talented people can be plagued with self doubt while someone who is less talented will put themselves out there and get the task done. Along the way, the less talented person may experience some setbacks but they generally just ignore or discount them and maintain their perseverance toward their goal.

How to build self-efficacy:
As humans we have self regulatory mechanisms that provide us with the potential for self directed changes in our behaviour.
The manner and degree to which people self-regulate their actions are based on the ACCURACY and CONSISTENCY of self observation. The ability to appropriately self-monitor and make judgments regarding one’s own choices needs to be developed and sustained.

Here is how to start:
1. Be mindful of your own emotions– Ask yourself what primary emotions you are feeling and how likely they are to influence your behaviour.
2. An Assumption Detective– Get in touch with your underlying attitudes and the assumptions of individual decisions or hesitations (things you are avoiding) and investigate how truthful they are. Use simple tasks to help develop the necessary skill. For example, if you decide to take a cab versus the train, the assumption may be that you will arrive sooner. But is that necessarily true? Ask yourself what could have happened if you had done the opposite? Then apply that approach to the things you are avoiding: if you don’t ask your boss for a raise is it because the assumption is that he will definitely say “No”. If you are not certain, then investigate before you let assumptions rule your actions.
3. Challenge your attributions: Attributions are the judgments we make about our own or the behaviors of others. Look for specific, situational causes to events rather than global or personal points of view to explain things. This will give you a better blue print for how to change your behavior.
4. Focus on Intent Vs Outcome: Set Tangible & Measurable Behaviour Goals vs Subjective/ Outcome goals: Self-motivators set personal behaviour goals that encourage them to work in self directed ways. This involves measuring success by an objective means that focuses on intent versus outcome. For example, setting a goal of eating 1500 calories a day versus losing 5lbs or “trying to stay on your diet”. This is especially important since the most influential source of one’s self-efficacy is the interpreted results of one’s previous performance.
5. Watch & Mimic an Expert Model: Through vicarious learning opportunities we can feel confident that we are making the right decision simply because we have witnessed others being successful using similar strategies.
6. Avoid too much negative feedback & Surround yourself with Positivity: Social persuasion through feedback from others, including verbal judgments, constructive criticism, and praise, has a significant impact on how we rate our efforts. For the most part, negative feedback can have a stronger impact than positive ones, therefore try to focus your attention on strategies that utilize your strengths, cope with your weaknesses, and avoid conversations or mental thoughts that involve berating yourself.
7. Meditate & Breath: Learn to calm Body Sensations and Emotional States- People have a tendency to gauge the degree of confidence by their emotional state when they contemplate a particular action. Thus, when we are anxious and hopeless we look to escape, convincing ourselves we should throw in the towel sooner, because we think ” Why bother it is not going to work, so what is the point? Such a defeatist attitude will not help you to succeed, better to take a more positive approach and figure you can do it!

The famous Roman poet Virgil wrote:
“We are who we think we are-”. And one thing is certain, if we give up we definitely won’t win!
So, if you adopt a positive attitude, decide, no matter what you are not going to give up until you accomplish your goals no matter what, you will certainly be more successful in all aspects of your life.

5 Lessons to Align Your Team and Achieve Incredible Results

August 1, 2018 by  

Imagine a flock of birds flying in a V-formation, travelling thousands of miles together against the resistance of the wind. Have you ever wondered why they do this and how this could possibly be relevant to your business?
Alignment is the most efficient way to fly, and a strategy your team can also employ as it tackles challenges. However, unfortunately, teams sometimes get out of alignment; infighting develops, frustrations flare, and projects get derailed.
The brilliance of the V-formation is that synchronized movements allow each bird to ride the windbreak of the other birds in front of them. Or in the case of your team, people work together, leveraging each individual’s unique skills, to move efficiently towards a common goal.

Here are five strategies you can learn from the birds to get your disgruntled teams back in alignment.
1) Find each person’s sweet spot.
When birds fly in formation, they intrinsically know the sweet spot to occupy behind another bird as it flaps its wings. They use this uplift to travel more efficiently, and exponentially increase their flying range while using less energy than if each bird flew alone.
To do our most effective work, we must uplift each other by offering encouragement. This happens when managers empower employees to live in their zones of genius, using their unique talents, strengths, and skills. Just as an individual bird flying out of formation gets exhausted, employees that try to “do it all” will struggle and eventually fail. Take stock of each person’s individual strengths, then create a plan to leverage these strengths to help the entire team reach their common goals.
Maybe one person is great at big picture thinking, while someone else is more comfortable creating deliverables, and another person is great at keeping people on task in meetings. When individuals are working doing the work for which they are best suited, teams definitely achieve more and are more efficient and productive.

2) Share leadership responsibilities.
In a 5,000 mile round-trip migration, every bird takes its turn leading the front of the V to take the brunt of the wind and carry the flock towards their destination so no one burns out. And so every member of a team should have the opportunity to take a leadership role when it is appropriate to their skills and that particular point in the project.
People often confuse titles with leadership, but the qualities of true leadership can be found anywhere in an organization. Managers should take stock of their employees and spot the leaders among their teams. These key employees take initiative, inspire and encourage others, and positively impact productivity and morale.
Take time to acknowledge the leadership skills of these employees, asking how you can support them. Also, make sure their leadership skills don’t come across as bossy or top-down, because that will have a negative impact on the team. In addition, remember to encourage everyone to lead in the areas they are most successful. The birds figured out shared leadership a long time ago. Adopting a similar culture in the office creates a positive enthusiasm among teams that leads to solid results.

3) Clearly communicate objectives.
Humans, of course, don’t understand what birds are saying to each other when they squawk and chirp in flight, but we know these sounds help them to remain in communication with one another throughout the trip. To choreograph their movements and to fly efficiently as a group, each bird must monitor subtle changes in their wing-mates’ flight patterns, altering their own strokes accordingly. Making sounds likely helps birds with these continual adjustments.
To assimilate this tip from the birds, teams need to communicate effectively and constantly to stay on course, not just once a quarter during ‘reviews’. Checking in with each other via email, an employee feedback platform, and/or in person, is paramount to staying aligned on goals. Continual communications helps individuals understand where they fit into the big picture, and helps them to prioritize tasks that line up with the company’s greater mission.
Of course, communication is also essential to deliver encouragement and coaching. Positive reinforcement inspires everyone to work towards a common goal such as delivering a product, solving a sticky customer issue, or finalizing a plan. Who knows, maybe all those birds are calling out the equivalent of: “I believe in you! We can do this!”

4) Build trust when times get tough.
Something beautiful happens in a migrating flock when a bird is sick or wounded: two of the birds drop out of formation to assist, aid, and protect their fellow member until the bird can fly again. They are a team, all in it together. A team is a formation of trusted relationships, fostering natural accountability. This is the basis of success.
Unfortunately, many work teams don’t function like this. If one person is struggling, people sometimes gang up on that person because they feel “let down” that he/she is not pulling their weight. They complain about this person to management, and feel burdened to have to take on more of their work.
Instead, when situations arise when one team member is struggling, managers should take time to find out what is happening and why. When people fall short, think of it as an opportunity to build trust and inspire better work. Ask the person what is going on and together discover ways to improve performance. That might mean shifting the person’s role or inspiring that person to take on more of a leadership role. Working through hardships together builds stronger teams.

5) Rally around shared values.
One thing perfectly clear about migrating birds is they are all flying in the same direction. Teams are most effective when people are purpose-driven and feel they share a common mission. Beyond this shared end-goal, the best teams have the same vision of how to get to this end-point. In other words, they are aligned at every step of the way.
To align your team around common goals, it helps to create core values for your company. For example, our core values include supporting health and vitality; a commitment to customer success and delight; keeping things simple; embracing freedom and flexibility; holding one another accountable; and committing to constant learning and growth.

This might seem like overkill, but every value flows together into one main premise: we believe in supporting each individual to achieve his or her unique greatness. Embracing this approach, our teams are aligned on not just their goals, but on how to achieve them.
Productive teams work together through effective communication, alignment, and trust. They leverage the power of the collective to be greater than the sum of their parts. These strategies aren’t just for the birds, so the next time your teams get stuck, take a lesson from the experts in flight and create alignment for long-term success.