Time Perspective

This week I have the opportunity to lead the discussion at our Business Minds Group.  I will be leading a discussion around one of the best books I have read in 2016.  The book is entitled, Culture Trumps Everything, by Gustavo R. Grodnitzky, Ph.D.

(Our Business Minds Group is a mastermind group.  A mastermind group it simply a group of people that meet regularly to challenge, inspire, and hold each other accountable.  Dan Sullivan’s Genius Network is one of the most famous and expensive mastermind groups. I first heard about this mastermind group idea from Dan Sullivan, but also understand that business greats like Dave Ramsey and Seth Godin have been part of mastermind groups.)

In our group this week, we plan to discuss how we can apply the entire Grodnitzky book to our respective businesses, and in this post I want to focus on one specific idea that Grodnitzky has about time. His thoughts on time perspective to build high-performing teams are revolutionary.

There are numerous ways in which a business manager can understand his teammates in order to build a strong team culture. I am a huge fan of using tools like Strengths Finder, Taylor Protocols, or DISC Assessments as a first step, and Dr. Grodnitzky provides a unique and different perspective to understand people based on their primary time perspective.   

Time perspective, according to Grodnitzky, is a key element of understanding people and creating cultural change.

“His book investigates the powerful ways in which a variety of factors, to include behavioral norms, alternative corporate models, habit patterns, connectedness, trust, language, and time perspective, impact the creation of “quintessence” in organizations. It is this quintessence – or lack thereof – that ultimately determines the success and sustainability of organizations. As leaders, we get the organizations we deserve, as a direct result of the cultures we nourish (or neglect). If we want to ensure the best possible outcomes for ourselves and our organizations, we must focus on developing the cultures that foster success for all stakeholders, because…culture trumps everything.”

Most people gravitate towards a single perspective, although it is possible (and healthy) to aspire to operate from multiple perspectives depending on the needs of the situation.

Dr. Grodnitzky builds on my favorite psychology test, known as the Marshmallow Test.  In this experiment, Stanford researchers presented children with a marshmallow, and told the children they could eat it immediately, but if they could wait for 15 minutes, they would be given a second marshmallow. For those children who were able to delay their gratification, researchers continued to study and eventually demonstrated that those who can exercise delayed gratification have a greater likelihood of success later in life.

In the book, Dr. Grodnitzky writes about how the reliability of people in their early life may assist or hinder with their ability to delay gratification.  He asserts that parents or others early in life can help children form if-then patterns in their brains.

My primary time perspective is future.  I score high as an achiever on Strengths tests and I  tend towards anxiety and competitiveness.   By contrast, my wife is more past perspective focused, which has helped me see life from another perspective.  In addition to my wife’s past perspective, I have benefited from people with a present perspective when creativity is needed most in projects.

What do you think about Dr. Grodnitzky’s ideas when it comes to building high performance teams?  Please feel free to share your comments.  Read his book and let me know how you are applying his ideas