Overcoming dependency on the behaviour of others

Elon Musk

Another common type of “mis-blink” we can easily fall into during times of change is called dependency.

Dependency is a constraint that people sometimes place upon themselves when they know what they want to do or create but they refuse to take action unless someone else behaves in a particular way. They make their own behaviour conditional or ‘dependent’ on the behaviour of others.

In many cases this is a perfectly normal part of healthy business practice: “I will deliver this service, but only if you agree to pay me XYZ amount.” Or “I will pay you XYZ amount, depending on the quality of your service.”

But in other situations, dependency can also prevent us from achieving important goals.

In June 2014, for example, Tesla Motors realised that they royalties it was charging for its batteries under normal business practice were holding the company back from achieving its strategic goals. It decided to give up those royalties and licensing fees.

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.”

In a time of churning the old rules break down. Letting go of dependency frees you to you let go of “We’ve always done it like this,” which can help you to achieve your goals.

This kind of thinking can also allow new business models to emerge. For example, when Airbnb and Uber let go of their ‘dependency’ or requirement to own taxis or hotels or employ and directly control large numbers of people, they freed themselves to transform their industries.

Chapter 2 of Inner Leadership contains a tool for spotting these dependencies, together with the other seven mis-blinks. Applying it can help you, like Elon Musk and Tesla, to let go of your dependencies and free yourself to behave as the leader you truly are and can be.

Is there an area in your life where you are holding you back from getting the results you want, because someone else is not behaving in the way you want them to?


Adapted from Inner Leadership: tools for building emotional engagement and inspiration during times of change. Buy the Book

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Photo By Tesla Club Belgium via StockPholio.net

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