Over the last several weeks, I have been reflecting on some of the subtle and unwritten expectations society places upon us to behave in certain ways. I have seen this in action throughout my career as an accountant. I am sure that many of you have experienced that in your career as farmers, for example farm discussion groups that go from an uplifting place where farmers get support and ideas, to a meeting that condemns innovation and focuses on the factors that are outside of anyone’s control.
One of our family’s favourite movies is “The Blind Side”. This film is based on the true story of a young African-American boy who was raised in a family with gangs, drugs and violence. Through the vision, love and support of another family that accepts this boy as one of their own, he goes on to excel in American Football. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs places our needs in the following order:
• Self fulfilment needs – achieving our full potential including creativeness and acceptance.
• Psychological needs – feeling of accomplishment, belonging and love.
• Basic needs – safety, security, food, shelter and warmth.
So often we limit the potential of others by the expectations we place upon them. This is strongly evidenced in The Blind Side as Michael is written off before anyone has even seen his capabilities. Our son recently studied the movie as part of his high school English learning and in his review of the film wrote “It’s not the actions that make the people, but the people that make the actions”. I think what he was trying to say is that when we judge people by external appearances, we can place them in a box and therefore place a limit on their potential by the way we treat them. When we view people as vessels of potential, we are able to become a foundation on which they can thrive and become their best, and it usually requires us to take the first step for this to become a reality.
Are there relationships around your business that you have unintentionally placed a ceiling on with your expectations that perhaps you need to revisit? Remember developing strong relationships is the key to a strong business.