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One of my preferred ways to recharge is by watching my favorite sports teams compete. Sports has so many parallels to business—it’s why I so often write about inspiring NFL coaches or top players on this blog. In business, your goal is to win and in sports, your goal is to win. I also see parallels between sports, business and being a parent. You lift up your family. You lead them when necessary and you ensure every member of your family finds success, just as you would with a business or sports team.

As the CEO of HomeServices of America, my goal is to make the other 30-plus CEOs of all our operating companies better. How can I put them in the best position to succeed and grow their organizations? Our game plan for execution isn’t just a process for goal accomplishment, it’s a system to help team members consistently win. To use a football analogy, it’s calling the perfect play that sets your team up to score.

But positioning your team to win is no easy endeavor. It requires taking challenges and turning them into transformational change. It requires precision. Growth. Focus. And not just a small amount of any of those qualities, but an exceptional amount. Good leaders do what’s convenient. Great leaders do whatever it takes. They tackle the hard and equip their team to do the same. They also train their team in every word they speak and action they take. And it’s the combination of a leader’s body language, emotional cues and mindset that allows for incredible potential to be realized in the form of a win.

Throughout my career, I’ve always focused on mindset because it’s the psychological foundation for sustainable success. However, a mind is a complex thing. Positive thinking can bring about success, but it must be tempered with reality, a sense of neutral thinking that does not generate false hope or a disassociation with the truth. Remember, the non-conscious brain is servile; it sets no goals of its own. It does not judge the merit or value of the goal; it only tries to carry out the given order. The idea follows that we are servants to the realities all around us.

Tony Robbins said, “The power of positive thinking is the ability to generate a feeling of certainty in yourself when nothing in the environment supports you.” Positive thinking does work most of the time. But you know what works all of the time? Negative thinking. Negative thinking works all of the time. Negative thinking always works against you. It’s simply a non-constructive mindset in any and all situations. There’s no progress to be made by thinking negatively. If anything, you’ll only dig you and your team deeper into a difficult situation. Instead, neutral thinking is a way to combat a tough scenario with insight, experience, knowledge and truth. Just as the Navy SEALs do when they’re facing a complicated mission, neutral thinking is a solutions-oriented mental framework that takes the realistic application of details and facts to create the most likely scenario to generate a win.

To be honest, this way of thinking works whether you win or lose, and if the latter happens, neutral thinking allows you to observe the failure as an instance where you can grow and learn. While neutral thinking isn’t natural thinking, a team can be trained to think neutrally and once it becomes an automatic part of their non-conscious brain, neutral thinking becomes habitual.

So, what’s the message? The message is positive thinking works a lot of the time but negative thinking works 100-percent of the time because it always works against you. And as a leader, my goal is to encourage my team to think more neutrally, avoid the negative and embrace the reality of truth because that’s how they’ll win.

This article is adapted from Blefari’s weekly, company-wide “Thoughts on Leadership” column from HomeServices of America.

 

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