Overcoming our dependency on the behaviour of others

The fifth common mistaken assumption or ‘mis-blink‘ we can easily fall into during a time of change is called dependency.

This arises when we know the action we want to take but we decide that we won’t take it unless someone else behaves in the way we want them to. We make our actions conditional or dependent on the behaviour of others.

In many cases this is part of normal business practice: “I will deliver this service on the condition that you pay me XYZ amount.” Or “I will pay you this bonus, depending on whether or not you achieve your targets.”

But at other times, making our actions dependent on the behaviour of others can prevent us from achieving our most important goals.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors provides a good example.

In June 2014, Tesla realised that the royalties and licensing fees it charged for its battery technologies were holding the company back from achieving its most strategic goals.

As founder Elon Musk explained:

“Tesla Motors was created to accelerate the advent of sustainable transport. If we clear a path to the creation of compelling electric vehicles, but then lay intellectual property landmines behind us to inhibit others, we are acting in a manner contrary to that goal.”

Even though these fees were normal business practice, the company decided to stop charging them. Instead, it allowed other organisations use its patents for free. And that accelerated the achievement of its most important goals.

Letting go of dependency allows innovation and new business models to flourish. When Airbnb and Uber let go of their need to own and control hotels and taxis they freed themselves to transform entire industries.

In this time of churning, the old rules are breaking down. Now we have a choice: either to restrict ourselves with the old dependencies, “Because that is how it’s always been.” Or to do it anyway and in the process not only make ourselves antifragile, but also put ourselves back in control of what we do and don’t do, become who we most want to become, and create the world we most want to create.

This is the choice that Elon Musk and Tesla have made, in-dependent of what anybody else chooses to do.

Are you holding yourself back from achieving something that matters to you because you expect or require other people to behave in a certain way? What would happen if you did it anyway? What would happen if somebody else did it anyway, without you? 

Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

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Photo By Tesla Club Belgium via StockPholio.net

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