Does your business struggle to achieve all of your goals? Holly G Green teaches how to master the skills required to win in today’s hyper-paced world.
Holly G. Green is the CEO and Managing Director of The Human Factor, Inc. She’s also a sought-after keynote speaker and the author of “Using Your Brain to Win” and “More Than a Minute.”
What do you do?
- I help organizations get crystal clear on winning and then get there.
- That means aligning everything and everyone in the organization so that we’re all in the same race, we know what the targets are, and we’re moving towards them each and every single day in every way.
What does a likely client or prototypical client look like to you?
- Any organization that has humans, that’s the number one criteria. Thus the human factor because we do really work with and through the brains of adult humans at work. That’s the number one criteria.
- Any organization that knows they can be better, that may be stretched too thin, departments or teams are not aligned, they’re working really hard, but not quite accomplishing what they know they should be able to accomplish, we have people pulling in different directions, we need to professionalize or get to the next level of our stage of growth. Or founder-owned and run organizations that now need to be able to scale larger or need to skinny up a little bit to compete more effectively. Or where we’ve been running along at the same size for a long time and, again, we know we can get more out of who we are and what we are and what we’ve got.
- For us to be able to help anyone, it requires a desire to be even better. And that’s kind of it. So, adult humans and a desire to be even better.
We focus on why and how humans think and behave the way they do at work; how can we leverage some of the things we’re incredible at and some of the things that just instinctually we are not good at?
- Each of us has biases, assumptions, and perceptions, all of the things that are required for us to function well as a human, but that don’t really serve us well in a lot of different ways.
- This is an exploding field, there’s been some amazing research and work done in this space in the last 10 years, in particular, we are beginning to understand that illogical and irrational human. I’ve taken that side, the academic side, the research-oriented side, the hardcore neurosciences, if you will, and combined it with the experiences that I’ve had working with truly elite performers in numerous sectors: military, musicians, Olympics, FBI, you name it, people who are unquestionably the best at what they do; and how can we learn from that and apply it effectively in the more traditional workspace?
How would you characterize the similarity when you go into a corporate arena versus perhaps the military arena on their strengths and weaknesses?
- There’s a technique that we use that kind of underlies every single thing we do that I think we really took from, not only the military but any elite performer – Olympic athletes, NFL players – anyone who’s truly elite. And that’s this notion of focus on a target- getting crystal clear with specificity on what is the win.
- And the fascinating thing at work is that I could…you know, let’s pretend you’ve got 15 employees and I can ask that question of all 15 and probably get a different answer in most organizations. But I bet you if I asked the Denver Broncos player what it is, I’d get exactly the same answer from all of the players on the team. It’s the Super Bowl, it’s very, very clear.
- Same thing with the United States Navy SEALs. I know what my mission is, I’m crystal clear on the objective.
What really drives us?
- It’s that specificity and the clarity in the brain. One of our deep tendencies, the thing we’re better at than anything else in the whole world, is to prove ourselves right. So if I want you in my game, I need to make sure I have set those targets and I have pushed the ‘prove yourself right button’ with you. I want you working every day to achieve what we’ve defined. And this is not about motivating people with recognition, etc., although that’s certainly all threaded through. This is about real specificity. What is our game? What is the target? Where are we according to that target and how we are going to get there effectively together.
What process would a potential owner, CEO, or president expect when you engage with him?
- We’re going to talk to you as the CEO, understand what are your dreams, what is your win, what does it look like to you? I’m going to ask a lot of questions to tease it out of your brain because that is one of the great challenges.
- Most owners, leaders, they know what excellence is, but the ability to articulate it is a challenge. And when I say articulate it, I don’t just mean saying things like, “Oh, we operate with integrity,” because that clearly didn’t work at Wells Fargo or Enron, but the ability to pull that into what will you see when people are doing that?
- What are the behavioral indicators? What are people actually doing and saying so that it comes to life in very real way versus the theory? You know, we put the nice poster up on the wall in the break room, check, were done. Not so much.
- How do people know the best possible decisions to make every single day?
- What criteria are they using to make those decisions?
- How do they know moment to moment the best possible choice?
Who do you work with?
- I work with everyone from Google to pest control and everything you can possibly imagine in between, companies that are billions and billions in revenue, companies that are small.
- We have products and services that fit most budgetary constraints and are pretty realistic. For instance, my pest control company of 150 people certainly doesn’t get charged the same price, and we don’t do the same process I might with a Google.
- We have a lot of very scalable, free tools on our website, in our store. I encourage people to go out to, take advantage of those. Most of us have more resources than we realize available at our fingertips today. It’s really taking the time to take advantage and I’m happy to share a tool or process with anyone who feels like they could benefit from that.
What is pause, think, focus?
- Slowing down to get it right instead of doing it wrong and do it over.
- The slow down is to really pause and we teach techniques that take a whole whopping 30 seconds just to visit your brain, which, by the way, loves when you visit.
- We’re using our brain less and less and reacting more and more, traveling what we call well-worn neural pathways. To just kind of simplify, our tendency is we like what we already know. Our brain digs what it’s familiar with, it tends to go to that. It’s served us very well as a survival technique and in slower times that was fine.
- Unfortunately, the world is changing at such a fast pace today, that just because it worked five years ago does not mean it will work today. Just because it worked a year ago does not mean it’s the case today. But we forget to refresh and update our brains.
- The pausing is really to force you to go to that brain and just ponder “what if”, could we, should we, change perspective, challenge assumptions. We have a set of 99 different tools or techniques, what we call neuroprompts. Ways to prompt or poke your brain very quickly to just slow it down just enough. Just enough to be able to truly think and focus on the right thing.
One of the techniques we use is called Destination Modeling.
- That’s the umbrella for the clarity on winning and the driving to execution with everyone every day.
Is it a pattern interrupt at some point?
- There has to be. There has to be, not only pattern interrupt, but new patterns created. The really cool thing that we have uncovered about the human brain, really in the very recent past, is that as adult humans, we have enormous neuroplasticity in our brain.
- In other words, unless we’re dead or our brain is deceased, we can create new pathways until we die. Now that truly was a breakthrough in understanding.
- So that adage that old dogs can’t learn new tricks, we don’t know about dogs, but we do know, or we’re fairly certain, that the human can.
What drives me to do what I do is I love helping people be more successful. Where do you think that came from or how did that get seated with you?
- I grew up with great parents who always pushed us to be anything we wanted to be. I grew up in a fairly normal middle-class family, but we certainly were encouraged.
- Some of it was chance and circumstance and, you know, things beyond anyone’s control and a lot of it was just growing up with people who believe you can do what you want to do, just put your mind to it and work hard.
When you’re working with an organization and they say, “We have a problem innovating,” what types of discussions do you have with them in regard to that?
- Well, we’ve got a toolset. You know what I find fascinating is people presume if we say that innovation is one of our values that magically everyone can do it. Innovation is counter-instinctual for the adult human and remembers we like what we already know.
- Our brain digs what it’s familiar with. We have to learn the skills of being innovative and believe there is an underlying skill set that allows us to be innovative.
- It is a series of prompts and tools that we can rely on and push ourselves to do that well. It’s the putting together of pieces and parts in whole new ways for value creation. That’s really all that innovation is. Again, our brain likes what it already knows, so it doesn’t do it instinctually.
- We just have to teach people how to do it and if it truly is important, we have to carve out the time to teach people how to do it and make it part of how we hold them accountable and give them the tools and the support necessary to do it well.
- Start practicing pausing and visiting your brain to think and focus. Get crystal clear on winning. Every day, consider, what are the things you need to do to win that day?
- For your company as a whole, for your team, for your role or position, wherever you are in your life, get crystal clear on winning. Your brain has the amazing ability to prove itself right and to look for the things that will help you achieve once you’re clear.
- You’ve just got to be clear with specificity first.