Leading from any chair: leading behaviours

By Samke Mhlongo

When conducting research, one is cautioned against using leading questions as they guide the respondent towards a particular answer, instead of the most objective one. This concept of being able to influence an outcome forms the basis of my interpretation of the theme “Leading from any Chair”.

My argument is this: Can we use the concept of leading questions to exercise leading behavior in our lives, and in so doing, guide our environments towards our desired outcome?

In truth, we all practice leading behavior as our realities are the outcomes of a series of preceding behaviors and actions. Outcomes that seem random or unintended only seem so because the preceding behavior would have been random or unintentional. If you have ever felt that you do not know where your life is going, or that you are “going nowhere slowly”, you are experiencing the outcome of unintentional behavior.

I observe the same phenomenon in my wealth coaching consultations, where clients often do not know where their money is going. This is regularly the result of unintentional spending. However, the behavior quickly changes with two simple steps. First, quantifying the amount wasted every month due to frivolous spending and the second; setting a financial goal and showing how the amount going to waste could be contributing towards achieving set goal.

This principle yields the desired results when applied to all areas of one’s financial life. I have clients that have settled credit card debt simply by setting a date by which they would like to have the credit card settled (goal), calculating the installment they will need to pay to settle the debt within this timeframe (action), and then cutting down their unintentional spending by the amount necessary to top-up their current installment to their target installment (behavior). I even sweeten the deal by encouraging them to spoil themselves after every financial goal achieved (reward). The relationship between goal, action, behavior and reward has proven to be the surest way to changing unintentional behavior, to intentional or leading behavior, much like leading questions garners intended answers from the respondents to whom they are posed.

My interpretation of Leading from any Chair is therefore about taking charge of the outcomes of all areas of our lives by setting goals, aligning our daily behaviours and actions towards the achievement of those goals, and enjoying the rewards that come with living in our intended reality.