Locus of Control – Are you in control?


There is a simple, but useful tool that helps you to understand how people respond to situations, and to anticipate their likely behaviour. It can also help you identify those who are likely to be winners and losers. This tool is called the Locus of Control.

Everyone wants to know what separates winners from losers? One of the significant factors limiting the attainment of your vision is the degree to which you believe you are in control of your destiny. Your locus of control can be internal or external. You can have a combination of both but normally one will outweigh the other. So what are the differences between an internal Locus of Control and an external Locus of Control, and how can you identify them?

External Locus of Control – listening to what you say, or your team members, when talking about your business and your life. If you hear things like, “I would have been successful but the economy turned sour” or “I got caught by a pile of bad debts so I had to close the business down” you or they have an external locus of control. People with an external locus of control blame the external factors for their failure.

Internal Locus of Control – people with an internal locus of control feel that they can influence the issues around them. You’ll hear them say things like “I misjudged the market so I put on too many people which ended up costing me a packet of money” or “I found that my skills weren’t sufficient to handle the negotiation”.
Get into the habit of listening to the people to determine whether they have an internal or external locus of control. Of course, those who have an external locus are the ones who find it difficult to change. It’s always someone else’s fault or responsibility.

If you are setting up a team or looking at staffing make sure you have plenty of people with an internal locus of control. In simple terms, a person with an external locus of control is problem focused, while a person with an internal locus of control is solution focused. Remember, you will always find what you are looking for. Sometimes you find that by teaching someone about the locus of control, and helping them to change their own mindset they can change from having an external locus of control to an internal locus of control.

There is little point in developing a focused and aggressive business strategy if you are surrounded with people who believe that the Government, their people and even their customers are conspiring against them. You are defeated before you start. How can this be resolved? By having people with an internal locus of control!

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Andrew Cooke
Andrew is the Managing Director of Blue Sky GPS and a leading executive and business consultant who partners with entrepreneurs and business owners in helping them grow the business, commercialize their offerings and increase profitability. In doing this he works with them on addressing key challenges and opportunities and, in doing so, enables them to learn experientially and embed the key commercial, management and leaderships skills they need to succeed personally and professionally. This allows them to succeed on an on-going basis independently of Andrew or any other third party. He is currently writing a series of five business books for both new and experienced managers on topics including developing your business acumen, strategy, personal skill for manager and leaders, developing your interpersonal skills, and personal career success. These will be published in 2016 and 2017. Andrew has worked nationally and internationally in setting up new businesses and divisions for both start-ups and blue-chip organizations. Andrew has a MBA from the London Business School, and is an accredited executive coach with Marshall Goldsmith, the world’s leading executive coach.


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