“It’s 9:00 a.m., you’re across the table from a colleague who doesn’t like you or the changes you’re proposing, she’s pushing all your hot-buttons and resisting your efforts to get her to support the change. What’s your typical reaction?” I recently posed this question to a group of executives.
About two thirds of the executives admitted that their typical behavior is competitive: return the aggression and argue to win. The other third said they typically do the opposite: retreat, recoup, and try again later. But either way, it was a default reflex – not a strategic response.
We all have default behaviors. And when we are in the moment, trying our best to perform well, how we handle these automatic reflexes can be the difference between success and failure. It’s these moments that add up to the larger tasks and projects that are our work. Moments in which behavior – what we think, feel, say, and do - is the primary driver of performance.