Is this goal to big? Is it possible? Do I BELIEVE it is possible? What does my institution say?

When I was at the Global Leadership Summit this past August, Jason Jaggard shared a great reflection about humans and our intuitive fence.

He shared two leadership challenges with no exceptions.
1. Every leader drastically underestimates what they’re capable of.
2. Every leader drastically underestimates what their team is capable of.

In order to expand our vision for what we and our team are capable of we have to expand our belief and our “intuitive fence”.

What we think is possible is in the center of the circle.  Our intuitive fence is the edge of the circle. Some people have big circles and some have small ones. Typically people at the top of an org have a larger circle of belief before hitting the edge of the intuitive fence. Sometimes people within teams and lower in organizations also have larger belief circles/ intuitive fences… these people tend to work their way up the ladder to the top because they are willing to trust and lean into possibility. They are willing to figure out what seems impossible rather than dismissing it as impossible. The more we think something is not possible we move to the outside edge of our circle of belief and intuitive fence.

If we generally see life with less hope and possibility, we have a smaller circle and our intuitive fence shows up quickly. If we are more hopeful and optimistic, we tend to have a bigger circle of belief and our intuitive fence takes longer to hit before we see an obstacle or question if it is possible. Humans have a personal intuitive fence and so do our teams. It is important to be reflective of where this fence is as we set out to achieve goals.

As humans, we are unwilling to accomplish goals we do not think are possible.

This is important because it is why New Year’s resolutions and goals get sabotaged. Often, we set things we “want” but don’t really “believe” is possible. If a goal is outside the intuitive fence of what we believe is possible rather than believing it is impossible, we stop thinking about it and cannot allow ourselves to work for it. To be able to make it happen, we must believe it is possible by expanding our intuitive fence so we can see more possibilities.

People on teams WANT to have larger initiative fences too, sometimes they are lacking information or empowerment which is why leadership communication, encouragement, and activation are critical. Create space for conversations, questions, and expanded awareness.  It is not that people with large circles of belief are smarter, they are just willing to stick with it and figure it out. They believe they will figure out what they put their mind to.

The world is longing for leaders and teams who can see the invisible and do the impossible.  We must expand our fences and see how big you can make it and make seemingly impossible goals happen!

For more information see a summary here: https://globalleadership.org/articles/leading-organizations/the-2-greatest-challenges-for-every-leader/