The Finance Director is firm: “No, this is far too expensive, impossible to authorize this purchase! “. The Marketing Director argues: “But this investment is very important! Our product will be even more appealing and interesting! »… A typical discussion in a management committee…The Director of Operations remains silent. He feels not concerned by this discussion. So, he thinks: “Better let the storm pass” and not take sides.
The Commercial Director? “My friends, first, we have to agree on our investment priorities and define a clear strategy. But do what you want, anyway, nobody ever listens to me…! ”
The HR Director may add: “Guys, arguing is useless, it’s always the same! And by the way, when are we going to talk seriously about corporate well-being and employees’ training? ”
Possible response of the Marketing Director: “Without selling our products, anyway, we will not have money to invest in employees …! ”
And on it goes … you know the scenario! Of course, the distribution of roles (the wicked, the nice one, the absent, the moralizer, the constructive, …) varies and can change from one situation to another.
Now think of an inner conflict (within you), a hesitation, a decision to make: Take a nap or go for a walk as planned? Do not eat this chocolate cake or “enjoy it anyway” because it’s Saturday night? Prepare one more analysis for tomorrow’s meeting? How to manage my anger against a friend whose behavior annoyed me the other day? …
You may say “yes, but …”, “it does not matter, because …”, “anyway, this is not normal …” or “finally, it will not help …”. These are our inner voices, some we hear very clearly, some shouting loudly, others barely audible, still others that we want to ignore and silence at all costs…
We live permanently with an inner management committee in us! A committee more or less well “managed”, more or less efficient, whose members do not communicate well together, sometimes not at all! The inner finance director who does not want to spend money, the inner marketing director who dreams of joy and pleasure, another inner director who remains silent, yet who has things to say …
We have different parts in us who want and need to express themselves, who have different interests and views … Often – as in a “real world” executive committee of a company – it is the one who speaks the loudest and the most eloquently who will be heard and followed (and not the one with the best arguments). And that can quick become a problem!
And the CEO’s role in all this? He is the one who makes the final decision. Ideally he/she listens to everyone, creates a climate of exchange, respect and listening. Who makes sure that everyone is heard. And who then is capable of making the best decision for the overall good without losing sight of the strategic vision. The one who takes an objective (and fair) look at facts, who has the ability to listen to fears and concerns, as well as one who has the courage to take ownership for decisions made!
So, let’s do the same for our inner conflicts !! An inner management committee of sharing, respect and listening to all inner voices, guided by a smart inner CEO who will make a decision after hearing all ideas, concerns and comments.
Our inner parts ( our inner voices) are like members of a management committee, that is to say the experts of their respective fields. We shall listen to them carefully because they often have valuable information to give us. We invite them to express themselves, sometimes it’s just a concern that must be heard and welcomed, sometimes it may be very relevant a point of view. Only then the inner CEO will decide. It is the “Self”, the “I” that decides and not the anguished, stressed and conflicting parts! The one who knows how to distinguish between relevant information of one voice (“I have to act in this situation…”) and biased information of another voice (“he looked at me strangely this morning, so he must dislike me … “). The inner CEO acknowledges exaggerated fear (“no one will ever love me again“) and murmuring of an excessive ego (“she is really a terrible person, I will never speak to her again … “). All this in order to then take the best decision.
It is the communication with our inner parts that is key (with the help of a trained external help): let our inner voices express themselves, listen to them, welcome them before making a decision and act accordingly… a very powerful approach when facing an inner conflict, a hesitation, a doubt, or when there is a decision to make!
Inspiration/Theoretical framework :
Richard Schwartz: « Internal Family Systems Therapy » (The Guilford Press, 1997)
The term “inner CEO” was invented by a friend, also an executive coach. Hence, the copyright belongs to her… 🙂
©The Vibrant Factory
About Stefan Lehner: Executive coach, Life coach, as well as nutrition coach & educator based in Paris, available worldwide. He previously worked in management in an international corporation. He loves to explore with the client his or her emotions, thoughts and limiting belief patterns, in order to shift towards a renewed outlook and jeopardizing his or her old certitudes. His credo in all coaching situations is empowerment and taking responsibility: become responsible for one owns choices, desires and acts.