Think before you act…

“Thought For Today”

Good morning to you.

Think before you act

Think before you act

Before you start to work, always ask yourself these questions –

Why am I doing it?

What the results might be? ( write down positive and negative results)

Where will this lead?

Who should be involved and why?

Speak with a trusted advisor/mentor/counselor/coach.

“Only when you think deeply and find satisfactory answers to these questions, go ahead.”

Happy Blessed Saturday!

By Daniel Phillington


Ten Ways to Build Trust

Ten ways to build trust in your personal and work relationships.

1. Keep it confidential
2. Keep your promises and follow through with commitments
3. Realize that trust is up to you
4. Trust people who are different from you
5. Tell the truth
6. Communicate openly and honestly
7. Forgive and move on
8. Be a good listener
9. Work at building trust when there is a problem
10. Learn to recognize whom to trust

Everything from a good relationship with a customer to a good marriage is built on trust. Trust affects how we see the world, how safe we feel, and how we approach new people and situations. It affects whether we’re willing to go the extra mile for a friend, relative, co-worker, or even someone we’ve never met but with whom we do business.

When trust levels are high, you feel relaxed and accepted; you can be yourself. When trust levels are low, you feel uncomfortable and on the defensive; you can’t be yourself. Co-workers with high levels of trust enjoy working and spending time together and tend to be more productive.

How can you build trust in your personal and work relationships? Below are ten tips.

1. Keep it confidential
You build strong relationships by being a trustworthy listener.

When you are working with a group or committee, don’t share sensitive committee work outside the group.
When a friend, a relative, or a co-worker confides in you or shares personal information, don’t share it with others.
Respect the confidence your children place in you. Don’t discuss your child’s personal relationships or secrets with your friends.

2. Keep your promises and follow through with commitments
When you keep your promises and follow through with commitments, you show people that you care about them, that you’re reliable, and that you can be counted on in the future.

Always try to do what you say you will do, even for the small things.
If you promise your child you’ll be home by 5 o’clock to help with a project, keep your promise.
If you tell a friend you’ll be there for her child’s baseball game, show up.
If you tell your co-worker you’ll be at a meeting, arrive on time and be prepared.
If you can’t make a deadline, explain why as soon as you can and renegotiate the deadline if possible.

3. Realize that trust is up to you
You are responsible for how much — or how little — people trust you. Think about your relationships with others and about your actions. Are you a trustworthy and honest co-worker and friend? When you have a breakdown in communication with someone, do you try to get beyond the misunderstanding?

Accept responsibility for building trust in new relationships.
Collaborate with co-workers and others.
Offer to help a colleague who seems overloaded.
If a friend, a relative, or a co-worker is ill or going through a difficult time, offer to help with errands or other jobs.
If a breakdown in trust occurs between you and a co-worker who is not open to discussing the problem, try to identify a likely intermediary to help you talk.
If mutual friends, family members, or co-workers have had a breakdown in trust or communication, offer to help reopen the channels of communication.
Keep in mind that some people aren’t trusting by nature; they may be overly suspicious or fearful. It’s not realistic to think that everyone will trust you.

4. Trust people who are different from you
It’s easier to establish trust with people who are more like you than it is to establish it with those who are quite different from you. In an increasingly diverse and changing workplace and world, it’s important to be able to trust people outside your circle.

Be open to new ideas and beliefs, regardless of where they come from. The more open you are, the more trusting your relationships will be.
Respect the fact that others may not always share your opinions.
Show a genuine interest in other people. Ask non-intrusive questions about the other person’s life, culture, beliefs, and background. Look for common interests.
Try to use inclusive language that doesn’t assume that everyone is heterosexual or married, or from the same racial or ethnic background.

5. Tell the truth
Tell the truth and you’ll surround yourself with trusting — and trusted — co-workers and friends.

Tell the truth on your résumé.
Admit when you are wrong. Don’t cover up a mistake.
Don’t embellish your role at work or lead people to believe you have more responsibility or authority at work than you do.
Give credit to the people who deserve it. Never take credit for someone else’s work.
Talk with your children about the importance of being honest.

6. Communicate openly and honestly
To build trust in groups or with individuals, you must be willing to communicate openly and freely and to share your ideas, thoughts, and concerns. When you withhold important information, for example, people question your motives and intentions: “What isn’t he telling me?” When you share information openly and honestly, people trust that your intentions are good.

When you are in a group discussion, don’t dominate the conversation. You want people to feel they can share information. Give everyone an opportunity to talk.
Be careful with email. Be cautious about how you communicate with associates, clients, and co-workers. Sometimes email notes or memos can sound curt or too casual. Review your email messages before sending them to make sure the tone is what you intended. If you’re unsure, pick up the phone or go see the person.
Be careful about what you post on social-networking and other sites. Be aware that associates, clients, and co-workers may see or hear about anything you post on a networking or other website. Security breaches can occur even on password-protected sites. Never post something that you wouldn’t want an associate, a client, or a co-worker to see. Send consistent on- and offline messages about who you are. This will help to show that you are good for your word.
Consistent messages about who you are means that people can depend on your reactions. Everyone has bad days, but avoid taking it out on others. They may remember your occasional tirade or temper tantrum long after you’ve put it behind you.
When you have a problem with someone’s behavior, provide constructive feedback in private, rather than in front of others. Sometimes it seems easier to sulk or strike back than to talk, but the payoff from a successful conversation is likely to be much higher. If your co-worker doesn’t want to talk, the next best thing is to show no hard feelings and to try to rebuild a strong working relationship through positive behavior yourself. Avoid speaking against the person to others. Negativity doesn’t build trust.
When you’re talking about difficult issues, avoid words and behavior that can trigger a conflict or put people on the defensive. Avoid phrases like “You always . . .”, “You never . . .”, “It’s your fault,” and “Why didn’t you . . .” Name-calling and negative labels create mistrust. Ignoring questions, acting like the expert, pointing a finger, lecturing, yelling, and humiliating others all create mistrust.
Be aware of the tone of your voice and your body language. Sometimes it’s not the words you use but how they are expressed that creates mistrust.

7. Forgive and move on
To build trusting relationships, you must be able to forgive and move on.

Try to let go of old arguments, resentments, and issues from the past.
Accept the other person’s apology and don’t dwell on how it was offered.
Don’t rehash what happened in the past.
Remember times in your life when you needed or wanted forgiveness. Face your own mistakes and forgive yourself. It will become easier to forgive another person when you can admit your own wrongs and forgive yourself. Similarly, apologize to others who were adversely affected by your mistake.

8. Be a good listener
Listening well is one of the best ways to show, give, and rebuild trust.

When you are talking with someone face to face, don’t answer the phone, check email, or sort the papers on your desk.
If someone wants to talk and you don’t have the time because you’re busy with something else, be honest and say that. Instead of listening and being distracted, it’s better to say, “I want to talk with you, but I don’t have the time right now to give this my full attention. Could we arrange a time to talk later?”
Be a patient listener. Not everyone thinks or speaks as fast as you do. Avoid completing people’s sentences or putting words into their mouths.
Make time to talk one-on-one with your spouse or partner.

9. Work at building trust when there is a problem
When there are setbacks or disappointments at work or in personal relationships, the only way to regain lost trust is to work at it.

Talk with the person who let you down. If you feel angry, disappointed, betrayed, or taken advantage of, talk about it.
Don’t wait. The longer you wait to talk about a problem, the bigger the misunderstanding becomes.
Find small ways to trust the person again. When you see smaller commitments being met over time, it’s easier to trust that the larger ones will be met, too.
Consider professional counseling to work through the tough issues of rebuilding trust.
Be realistic and know that it can take a long time to rebuild trust.

10. Learn to recognize whom to trust
The unfortunate fact is that not everyone can be trusted. It can be harmful to trust too much, just as it can be harmful not to trust enough. It’s not a good idea to trust everyone you meet or to share personal information about yourself too freely.

Use your instincts, good judgment, and interactions with people to determine whether or not someone can be trusted. If you feel uncomfortable, take time to figure out why you feel this way. Check out the person’s story or background if possible. While first impressions sometimes turn out to be wrong, they can still send valuable signals to be careful.

Watch for signs that someone may not be trustworthy. These may include: avoiding eye contact, stumbling over words, excessive fidgeting, making conflicting statements or outlandish promises, or purposely speaking so that you cannot hear. (Be aware that there may be other reasons for some of this behavior, such as cultural differences or disabilities.) At the same time, the least trustworthy people can be con artists: charming, smooth talkers who put you at ease right away; you need time to tell.

If something feels wrong, hold off trusting the person until you feel comfortable doing so. Distrust and suspicion are healthy reactions under certain circumstances.
Choose the people you trust. Be alert to any stranger who tries to strike up a sudden friendship in person, online, or over the phone. The person may use your first name or engage in small talk as part of his pitch. Don’t automatically judge a stranger by his voice or good manners.

Written with the help of Lynne Gaines, B.A. and Advanced Human Resources Certificate, Boston College Graduate School of Management/Bentley College. Ms. Gaines is a human resources manager in the Boston area. She has written widely about employment issues and is the former editor of The Levinson Letter for middle managers. Her HR experience spans 25 years in financial services, higher education, and publishing.

© 2003, 2011 Ceridian Corporation. All rights reserved.

Try Feedforward Instead of Feedback by Marshall Goldsmith

Mentoring, coaching, ...

Mentoring, coaching, …

Providing feedback has long been considered to be an essential skill for leaders. As they strive to achieve the goals of the organization, employees need to know how they are doing. They need to know if their performance is in line with what their leaders expect. They need to learn what they have done well and what they need to change. Traditionally, this information has been communicated in the form of “downward feedback” from leaders to their employees. Just as employees need feedback from leaders, leaders can benefit from feedback from their employees. Employees can provide useful input on the effectiveness of procedures and processes and as well as input to managers on their leadership effectiveness. This “upward feedback” has become increasingly common with the advent of 360 degree multi-rater assessments.

But there is a fundamental problem with all types of feedback: it focuses on the past, on what has already occurred—not on the infinite variety of opportunities that can happen in the future. As such, feedback can be limited and static, as opposed to expansive and dynamic.

Over the past several years, I have observed more than thirty thousand leaders as they participated in a fascinating experiential exercise. In the exercise, participants are each asked to play two roles. In one role, they are asked provide feedforward —that is, to give someone else suggestions for the future and help as much as they can. In the second role, they are asked to accept feedforward—that is, to listen to the suggestions for the future and learn as much as they can. The exercise typically lasts for 10-15 minutes, and the average participant has 6-7 dialogue sessions. In the exercise participants are asked to:

• Pick one behavior that they would like to change. Change in this behavior should make a significant, positive difference in their lives.

• Describe this behavior to randomly selected fellow participants. This is done in one-on-one dialogues. It can be done quite simply, such as, “I want to be a better listener.”

• Ask for feedforward—for two suggestions for the future that might help them achieve a positive change in their selected behavior. If participants have worked together in the past, they are not allowed to give ANY feedback about the past. They are only allowed to give ideas for the future.

• Listen attentively to the suggestions and take notes. Participants are not allowed to comment on the suggestions in any way. They are not allowed to critique the suggestions or even to make positive judgmental statements, such as, “That’s a good idea.”

• Thank the other participants for their suggestions.

• Ask the other persons what they would like to change.

• Provide feedforward – two suggestions aimed at helping the other person change.

• Say, “You are welcome.” when thanked for the suggestions. The entire process of both giving and receiving feedforward usually takes about two minutes.

• Find another participant and keep repeating the process until the exercise is stopped.

When the exercise is finished, I ask participants to provide one word that best describes their reaction to this experience. I ask them to complete the sentence, “This exercise was …”. The words provided are almost always extremely positive, such as “great”, “energizing”, “useful”, or “helpful.” One of the most commonly-mentioned words is “fun!”

What is the last word that comes to mind when we consider any feedback activity? Fun!

Eleven Reasons to Try FeedForward

Participants are then asked why this exercise is seen as fun and helpful as opposed to painful, embarrassing, or uncomfortable. Their answers provide a great explanation of why feedforward can often be more useful than feedback as a developmental tool.

1. We can change the future. We can’t change the past. Feedforward helps people envision and focus on a positive future, not a failed past. Athletes are often trained using feedforward. Racecar drivers are taught to, “Look at the road ahead, not at the wall.” Basketball players are taught to envision the ball going in the hoop and to imagine the perfect shot. By giving people ideas on how they can be even more successful (as opposed to visualizing a failed past), we can increase their chances of achieving this success in the future.

2. It can be more productive to help people learn to be “right,” than prove they were “wrong.” Negative feedback often becomes an exercise in “let me prove you were wrong.” This tends to produce defensiveness on the part of the receiver and discomfort on the part of the sender. Even constructively delivered feedback is often seen as negative as it necessarily involves a discussion of mistakes, shortfalls, and problems. Feedforward, on the other hand, is almost always seen as positive because it focuses on solutions – not problems.

3. Feedforward is especially suited to successful people. Successful people like getting ideas that are aimed at helping them achieve their goals. They tend to resist negative judgment. We all tend to accept feedback that is consistent with the way we see ourselves. We also tend to reject or deny feedback that is inconsistent with the way we see ourselves. Successful people tend to have a very positive self-image. I have observed many successful executives respond to (and even enjoy) feedforward. I am not sure that these same people would have had such a positive reaction to feedback.

4. Feedforward can come from anyone who knows about the task. It does not require personal experience with the individual. One very common positive reaction to the previously described exercise is that participants are amazed by how much they can learn from people that they don’t know! For example, if you want to be a better listener, almost any fellow leader can give you ideas on how you can improve. They don’t have to know you. Feedback requires knowing about the person. Feedforward just requires having good ideas for achieving the task.

5. People do not take feedforward as personally as feedback. In theory, constructive feedback is supposed to “focus on the performance, not the person”. In practice, almost all feedback is taken personally (no matter how it is delivered). Successful people’s sense of identity is highly connected with their work. The more successful people are, the more this tends to be true. It is hard to give a dedicated professional feedback that is not taken personally. Feedforward cannot involve a personal critique, since it is discussing something that has not yet happened! Positive suggestions tend to be seen as objective advice – personal critiques are often viewed as personal attacks.

6. Feedback can reinforce personal stereotyping and negative self-fulfilling prophecies. Feedforward can reinforce the possibility of change. Feedback can reinforce the feeling of failure. How many of us have been “helped” by a spouse, significant other, or friend, who seems to have a near-photographic memory of our previous “sins” that they share with us in order to point out the history of our shortcomings. Negative feedback can be used to reinforce the message, “this is just the way you are”. Feedforward is based on the assumption that the receiver of suggestions can make positive changes in the future.

7. Face it! Most of us hate getting negative feedback, and we don’t like to give it. I have reviewed summary 360 degree feedback reports for over 50 companies. The items, “provides developmental feedback in a timely manner” and “encourages and accepts constructive criticism” both always score near the bottom on co-worker satisfaction with leaders. Traditional training does not seem to make a great deal of difference. If leaders got better at providing feedback every time the performance appraisal forms were “improved”, most should be perfect by now! Leaders are not very good at giving or receiving negative feedback. It is unlikely that this will change in the near future.

8. Feedforward can cover almost all of the same “material” as feedback. Imagine that you have just made a terrible presentation in front of the executive committee. Your manager is in the room. Rather than make you “relive” this humiliating experience, your manager might help you prepare for future presentations by giving you suggestions for the future. These suggestions can be very specific and still delivered in a positive way. In this way your manager can “cover the same points” without feeling embarrassed and without making you feel even more humiliated.

9. Feedforward tends to be much faster and more efficient than feedback. An excellent technique for giving ideas to successful people is to say, “Here are four ideas for the future. Please accept these in the positive spirit that they are given. If you can only use two of the ideas, you are still two ahead. Just ignore what doesn’t make sense for you.” With this approach almost no time gets wasted on judging the quality of the ideas or “proving that the ideas are wrong”. This “debate” time is usually negative; it can take up a lot of time, and it is often not very productive. By eliminating judgment of the ideas, the process becomes much more positive for the sender, as well as the receiver. Successful people tend to have a high need for self-determination and will tend to accept ideas that they “buy” while rejecting ideas that feel “forced” upon them.

10. Feedforward can be a useful tool to apply with managers, peers, and team members. Rightly or wrongly, feedback is associated with judgment. This can lead to very negative – or even career-limiting – unintended consequences when applied to managers or peers. Feedforward does not imply superiority of judgment. It is more focused on being a helpful “fellow traveler” than an “expert”. As such it can be easier to hear from a person who is not in a position of power or authority. An excellent team building exercise is to have each team member ask, “How can I better help our team in the future?” and listen to feedforward from fellow team members (in one-on-one dialogues.)

11. People tend to listen more attentively to feedforward than feedback. One participant is the feedforward exercise noted, “I think that I listened more effectively in this exercise than I ever do at work!” When asked why, he responded, “Normally, when others are speaking, I am so busy composing a reply that will make sure that I sound smart – that I am not fully listening to what the other person is saying I am just composing my response. In feedforward the only reply that I am allowed to make is ‘thank you’. Since I don’t have to worry about composing a clever reply – I can focus all of my energy on listening to the other person!”

In summary, the intent of this article is not to imply that leaders should never give feedback or that performance appraisals should be abandoned. The intent is to show how feedforward can often be preferable to feedback in day-to-day interactions. Aside from its effectiveness and efficiency, feedforward can make life a lot more enjoyable. When managers are asked, “How did you feel the last time you received feedback?” their most common responses are very negative. When managers are asked how they felt after receiving feedforward, they reply that feedforward was not only useful, it was also fun!

Quality communication—between and among people at all levels and every department and division—is the glue that holds organizations together. By using feedforward—and by encouraging others to use it—leaders can dramatically improve the quality of communication in their organizations, ensuring that the right message is conveyed, and that those who receive it are receptive to its content. The result is a much more dynamic, much more open organization—one whose employees focus on the promise of the future rather than dwelling on the mistakes of the past.

Marshall Goldsmith is the million-selling author of the New York Times bestsellers MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – the Harold Longman Award winner for Business Book of the Year.

Results Delivery: Managing the highs and lows of change

Results Delivery: Managing the highs and lows of change
May 08, 2013 Bain Brief By Patrick Litre and Kevin Murphy

Looking back over the centuries, it’s difficult to grasp the emotional turmoil that Columbus and his sailors must have faced on their voyage into the unknown. Yet the pattern of highs and lows would probably seem familiar to anyone living through a corporate transformation, with its bipolar effects on the participants.

The initial reaction to the proposed journey is invariably skeptical, fearful, resistant. We can’t do that. It’s too risky, too expensive. We might fall off the face of the earth. Columbus and his confidants may have been excited, but they were just about the only ones. He was turned down by the rulers of Portugal, Venice and Genoa before he found backing for his venture from Spain.

Results Delivery®
Changing behaviors to deliver business results
Results Delivery
But then the mood begins to shift. Perhaps influential individuals—think Ferdinand and Isabella—sign on. Perhaps the organization’s leaders become seduced by the potential gains. Soon the idea picks up momentum, and people start clamoring to be part of it. What once looked impossible now seems both feasible and desirable.

That’s two severe mood swings already, even though no one has yet gone near the water. And the emotional fluctuations don’t end there. Once the ships have actually set out—once the initiative is under way—the original negativity returns with a vengeance. Obstacles once again loom large. Gloom sets in, and progress sputters. Like Columbus’s sailors, people grow dispirited. They want desperately to turn back. They threaten mutiny.

This down-up-down sequence is remarkably similar, whether the journey focuses on cost reduction, organizational restructuring, post-merger integration or any other major change (see Figure 1). In some respects, it’s a corporate version of the psychological condition known as bipolar disorder, with its patterns of extreme highs and lows. Certainly the results are the same: clouded judgment and poor decisions, the emotional pendulum swinging first one way and then the other. In a merger, for example, deal fever can lead executives to overestimate potential synergies and discount organizational obstacles. But once the deal is done and the integration process has begun, reality sets in. Cultural differences and operational challenges now look insurmountable. Some people leave; some customers defect. What once seemed like a great idea now feels misguided.

Organizational psychologists have studied the reasons for these extreme mood swings and the poor decisions that result. In times of stress, they say, people are the prisoners of cognitive biases. They don’t see reality clearly, so their judgment is compromised. Different cognitive biases cut in at each stage of a journey, creating a predictable sequence of moods and mindsets as change unfolds. These states of mind affect how people process information, how much weight they assign to particular experiences, how they receive feedback and a host of other factors that influence judgment and decisions. (See below “Common biases that affect change.”)

It doesn’t have to be this way. Some business leaders retain their common sense and wisdom, even in the face of radical change. They recognize that mood swings occur in predictable patterns. They anticipate what’s coming, and they help others cope by counteracting the emotional fluctuations and mitigating the accompanying risks. Successfully managing the biases and effectively guiding change in this way create significant value, as we have seen through an approach we call Results Delivery®. In a Bain study of more than 300 change programs, those that most effectively managed change (the top 20%) delivered 86% or more of the promised results, and one-quarter of that group delivered more than what had been promised. By contrast, those that were least effective at managing change delivered only 43% of the promised value (see Figure 2). Over time, the top group delivered eight times the profitability and two and a half times the shareholder returns of the low group.

Phase I. Mapping the journey
When a leader proposes a major new direction in an organization, people usually feel skeptical, even threatened. They don’t see the need to change. They can’t perceive the possibilities.

In effect, the proponents of change are asking team members to move out of their comfort zone. But the way forward is blocked by cognitive biases that interfere with people’s openness to change. Anchoring, or relying on familiar reference points, locks them into conventional thought patterns. The ambiguity effect, which leads people to favor the known over the unknown, raises fears about the future. Confirmation bias encourages them to look for evidence that supports their fears and casts doubt on the possibility of change. When these inevitable biases emerge, people on the leadership team feel uneasy. They tend to cling to incremental ideas rather than embrace more dramatic change. A bricks-and-mortar retailer, for instance, might persuade itself that it is moving rapidly into the digital world because it is offering goods online, when in fact it is far behind the more comprehensive and integrated digital strategies of its competitors.

Results Delivery helps loosen these anchors and starts by assembling the facts. Data—about the company’s situation, what customers are saying, the “size of the prize” to be realized from the change—helps cut through the biases by appealing to people’s left-brain, rational side. Another effective tool is co-creating a clear, compelling vision of the future. Change proponents help the leadership team buy into the proposal by activating their right brain and enabling them to picture that future new world.

For example, when a healthcare provider launched a major change effort to improve patient satisfaction, it started with the hospital registration process. In a workshop, the company’s leaders jointly developed a powerful metaphor for the vision: a hotel check-in. The efficient yet friendly experience of checking into a hotel captured exactly what they wanted for their patients. And every employee could understand the idea—it changed not just the definition of the process but how people behaved and even the architectural design of the registration area. A compelling metaphor like this not only helps people to visualize the change; it also accelerates the change process. Project teams can now make most decisions without input from top leaders because they have a clear understanding of the future state.

At some point in this process, the idea of the change catches on. The balance tips. Fears vanish, and enthusiasm grows. What once seemed impossible now feels within reach.

Phase II. The tide turned
As the emotional tide turns, new cognitive biases reinforce and exaggerate the change in mood. Confirmation bias now reinforces people’s belief in the possibility of change. So does pervasive optimism, or the natural human tendency to believe that we have control of our lives and will be able to achieve what we set out to do. These biases are powerful, and they seem to sweep away doubt or disagreement. Team members choose the most optimistic scenarios about the benefits of the new direction. They think they can achieve those goals in the shortest possible time frame.

It’s just as important to contain the over-optimism at this stage as it was to counteract the initial pessimism. Overconfidence and unconstrained optimism can cloud return-on-investment calculations. They lead to even deeper pessimism later, when the next mood swing occurs.

How can leadership teams mitigate these risks? One effective tool is to look backward. Using a standardized risk model, teams can analyze what went wrong and what went right in previous change efforts. What were the typical failure modes? What does our organization do well, and what does it do poorly? Benchmarking can be valuable in this context: For example, a database of nearly 350 companies helps Bain identify the biggest obstacles to change. People naturally expect today’s change initiative to play out much like yesterday’s, with all the same problems. But if you can learn from the past, you can surprise them by doing it better.

It’s equally essential to look forward—to immerse the team in the future they have begun to co-create. Asked to think in specific detail about future events, people create a richer, more accurate reality. Leaders can then ask themselves exactly what changes are required and who will be most affected. This kind of analysis highlights the impact of change on specific groups and has the effect of bringing everyone down to earth.

To anticipate the future, it helps to use a predictive risk model and then to develop an explicit risk-mitigation plan. Fifteen specific risks, such as poor sponsorship and change overload, threaten to disrupt change efforts. (See below “The 15 questions you should ask about your change initiative.”) These risks tend to occur in predictable patterns over the life cycle of a change, but only a handful of risks determine success or failure at each stage. A risk assessment enables a company to understand the unique risk profile of an initiative and identify the four or five risks that pose the biggest threats, the sequence in which they will arise and the tools that will be most effective for containing and managing each one.

For instance, when Merck KGaA, the German chemicals and pharmaceuticals concern, acquired US biotech equipment supplier Millipore, managers drew up a two-by-two chart representing every group in the organization on two dimensions: their importance in achieving the integration goals and the degree of disruption they would experience from the upcoming change. That allowed the leadership team to focus on supporting the people who were most important to the success of the merger and faced the greatest risk of serious dislocation. Leaders clarified roles, set priorities and provided focused change management support to help the integration succeed.

But then, inevitably, the voyage begins. And once more the mood changes…

Phase III. Skirting the rocks
The initiative has launched. Everyone is supposed to climb on board. But now, somehow, things don’t play out as expected. Obstacles appear. Costs mount. The venture is harder than people thought. Some argue that it is time to call a halt and cut losses. Even those who initially perceived the change positively may have their doubts, as uninformed optimism inevitably gives way to informed pessimism. The supporters realize that everything will not be perfect.

A different set of cognitive biases takes over when people confront real obstacles. Facing reality, most human beings are loss averse—they prefer avoiding losses to acquiring an equal amount of gains. When the going gets rough, they naturally look back at the familiar harbor they left behind. Negativity bias, the tendency for negative events to loom larger than positive ones in people’s minds, reinforces that reaction. So does normalcy bias (also known as the “ostrich effect”), which refers to the difficulties people have in seeing problems when they are in new situations outside of their normal experience.

This is a critical and time-consuming phase of an initiative. What’s at stake, typically, is winning the hearts and minds of employees and helping them change well-worn patterns of behavior. A variety of tools can help to counteract the natural negativity at this stage, but four in particular stand out:

Creating an enrollment cascade. Instead of relying on broadcast communication from the top, change leaders create a companywide dialogue about what is happening. The dialogue rolls out through the ranks: Every individual in the organization hears the plan from his or her direct supervisor and is invited to ask questions and provide feedback on the spot. The story is thus told in the best possible way, by the most credible person, the one with the most influence on an individual employee’s work life. The resulting dialogue allows individuals to feel they’ve been heard, and it offers them a greater sense of control. It also sets expectations that are more likely to be realistic. The newly merged Merck Millipore, for example, conducted this kind of structured dialogue throughout the organization—one key to the successful post-merger integration of the two companies.

Preparing leaders at all levels to be sponsors. When people’s lives are disrupted, their reactions follow a predictable resistance curve. It is often said that companies at this stage should “communicate, communicate, communicate.” That is wrong. Some communication is necessary at the outset. But now, it’s more important to listen. Much of the listening inevitably falls to middle managers and supervisors, who will need training in how best to deal with resistance. They can learn, for instance, that resistance is a natural and normal reaction to disruption, a sign of progress rather than a problem to be solved.

Designing positive consequences for behavior change. Transformations often involve changes in how employees must think and act every day on the job. A company in this situation needs to spell out not only what people should do differently, but also how they will be reinforced for adopting the new behaviors.

One bank, for instance, invested heavily in a program for cross-selling products to customers. It alerted bank tellers about which customers would be suitable prospects, trained tellers how to sell and compensated those who successfully cross-sold. It also designed a set of immediate consequences for changed behavior. After witnessing an encounter between a teller and an impatient customer, for example, a platform manager standing nearby would offer encouragement: “You handled that well. You were not defensive. Remember, it’s only one in five customers who will buy.” That encouraged the teller to continue applying the script—and as he began to sell the new product to more clients, the rise in performance metrics typically encouraged him further. Positive reinforcement of this sort is four times as powerful in changing behavior as “push” activities (such as training) alone.

Encouraging a “red is good” attitude. “Red” in a change process—the identification of a problem area or a risk—is often seen as a negative sign. That’s backward: It should be seen as a signal that people are involved, and they care about the initiative’s success. Companies we work with often train change agents in every branch and function to look for the highest risks perceived by frontline employees and others on the receiving end of the change. They discuss those concerns right away with local leaders, resolve whatever issues they can and elevate concerns that need attention to a higher level.

Conclusion: Building a change capability
Leaders who try to change an organization are up against some of the deepest attributes of human nature. The mood swings and cognitive biases that accompany change efforts usually blur people’s ability to evaluate a situation and make good decisions. Leaders have the job of managing and minimizing these mood swings, not just for themselves but for the whole organization. But even experienced leaders sometimes struggle to see what is really happening. They make promises that they can’t keep, damaging their credibility and eroding trust in the change initiative.

The executives who are most successful at leading through change establish mechanisms to ensure that the biases will be acknowledged and the risks mitigated. That often makes the difference between success and failure, in our experience. Results Delivery helps a company mount systematic efforts to identify the risks and counter the biases, which alters the terms of the equation. Now the change effort is no longer an unfair fight. The obstacles have become predictable and thus manageable. Over time, the company strengthens its change muscles, creating Repeatable Models® for change. It becomes more adept at managing not just this transformation but the next one as well. In a world of constant change, that equips a company to outexecute its competitors.

Patrick Litre is a partner in Bain & Company’s Atlanta office and leads the firm’s Global Results Delivery practice. Kevin Murphy is also a partner in the Atlanta office and a senior member of Bain’s Global Results Delivery practice.

Common biases that affect change
A cognitive bias is a departure from good or rational judgment resulting from a particular situation or set of circumstances. The biases have been confirmed by replicable research. The following examples, referenced in the article, are representative of the many that may be at play.

Anchoring is an attachment to the earliest information encountered in decision making. “Anchored” to that information, we are unduly influenced by it. We see new information in the context of the anchor.
Ambiguity bias occurs when the information available on two or more options is uneven. We are biased toward the option with more known information even if the other option might be preferable.
Confirmation bias is a tendency to favor information that supports our point of view.
Loss aversion is a preference for avoiding losses over acquiring gains of equal magnitude.
Negativity is a bias that leads us to pay more attention to negative experiences or options than to positive ones.
Normalcy is the tendency to underestimate the risk of disaster or catastrophe if we have not previously experienced it. We expect outcomes that are closer to normal.
Pervasive optimism is a belief that the future will mirror the past. We believe that we have more control than we actually do.

The 15 questions you should ask about your change initiative

Is our description of success clear and inspiring enough to generate emotional buy-in with our people?

Are the proposed solutions appealing to the organization, and will they work in our culture?

Are top leaders demonstrating alignment on this change in their communications and actions?

Do we have the right leaders who can work effectively as a team, both today and in the future state?

Are line managers at all levels actively and visibly reinforcing the adoption of the change?

Have we selected credible team members and involved trusted opinion leaders?

Do we know who will be most disrupted, and do we have a plan to address resistance and build commitment?

Can we develop or acquire the talent and expertise we need for this change?

Have we identified the few behaviors that will drive results and the reinforcements to encourage them?

Is the program governance designed to make and execute sound, efficient and timely decisions?

Can we deliver the change on time while protecting our business’s per formance from capacity overload?

Do we have goals, metrics and a system to forecast results and course-correct before it’s too late?

Are we tuning our organization (structure, culture, incentive system, etc.) to sustain the change?

Can we enhance our systems and leverage new technology fast enough to deliver the results on time?

Are we designing fast feedback loops to learn and enhance our solutions over time?

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The Twelve Demonic Spirits

“You cannot cast a demon out that is nameless.” Benny Hinn

“Deliverance From Demons”

The Spirit of Jealousy
Numbers 5:14
Proverbs 6:34

“If you ever find the spirit of jealousy you’ll will find the spirit of murder, you’ll find the spirit of anger,
you’ll find the spirit of rage.” – Benny Hinn

The Spirit of Lying
2 Chronicles 18:22
Jeremiah 23:14

“This spirit is connected to adultery – it’s connected to evil doing…. profanity, hypocrisy, vanity.” – Benny Hinn

The Spirit of Familiarity
1 Samuel 28:7
Deuteronomy 18:10-12

“This (spirit) is forbidden by the Lord… astrology, horoscope, fortune telling, the occult.”
” You will find ever evil demonic activity connected to it.” – Benny Hinn

The Spirit of Perversion
Isaiah 19:14
Proverbs 14:2
Proverbs 23:33
Acts 13:10

“This spirit will cause people to live in error… bring about laziness… lust after women… this spirit amazing also hates God.”
“This spirit always twists the word of God.” Benny Hinn

The Spirit of Heaviness
Isaiah 61:3

“This spirit of heaviness carries with it grief, carries with it despair… hopelessness, rejection, self pity… gluttony.”
“Grief that has no joy… a life of sustained grief… a life of sustained despair.” Benny Hinn

The Spirit of Whoredom
Hosea 4:12
Ezekial 16:28-39

“This is the spirit of prostitution… idolatry… never satisfied… it will cause a weak heart.”
“The end result of whoredomness… poverty.” Benny Hinn

The Spirit of Infirmity
Luke 13:11

“All sickness if it’s demonic its controlled by the spirit of infirmity.” Benny Hinn

The Spirit of the Deaf and Dumb
Mark 9:17-25

“This spirit is not deaf and dumb… this is a spirit manifesting in insanity, epilepsy, suicide, seizures, lunatics.” Benny Hinn

The Spirit of Fear
2 Timothy 1:7
Job 4:14

“With the spirit of fear there is torment… there is terror, worry, timidity, an inferiority complex, phobias.”
“That spirit will make you feel inadequate.” Benny Hinn

The Spirit of Pride
Proverbs 16:18
Proverbs 13:10

“This spirit of pride will cause mockery… stubbornness, gossip, causes contentions and wars… causes wrath.”
“Not all pride is wrong – there is that Godly pride where we’re proud of our Heavenly Father.” Benny Hinn

The Spirit of Bondage
Romans 8:15
Exodus 6:9

“This spirit is also a spirit that manifests in fear… has anguish… bitterness, you see addictions.”
“There is spiritual blindness… unless it is broken they’re unable to receive spiritual truth.” Benny Hinn

The Spirit of Antichrist
1 John 4:3

“The spirit that denies the virgin birth.. denies the deity of Christ… this spirit denies He died on a cross,
this spirit denies the resurrection.” Benny Hinn



Job 41 is the key passage on leviathan. Most of the people who have this powerful spirit never get deliverance because one of his chief jobs is to block deliverance. Ministers who refuse to open up to the ministry of deliverance are being controlled by a leviathan spirit. This is their chief problem. Most of the people who fight the deliverance ministry have powerful leviathan demons, and are therefore rarely delivered. Perhaps one of the reasons we know so little about this spirit is because we do not get to tackle him as often as others.

Strong’s Concordance (3882, 3867) defines leviathan as a wreathed animal or a serpent. He is also called the constellation of the dragon, or Orion. Within the constellation Orion there are seven stars, each with a name. These names have been found helpful in dislodging leviathan in deliverance. Pleaides and Articus are two of these seven stars (demons) tied in with leviathan. Often when you manage to force them out, leviathan is also defeated.

Another word for leviathan means to twine, to unite and to remain. Again we are reminded of his serpentine nature and that he is a strongman. A word which occurs six times in the Old Testament comes from a root word which means to bend or twist. It means literally wreathed; like a wreath; to be wreathed; gathering itself in folds. The context suggests some form of aquatic monster which dwells in the sea. In the scriptures the sea represents nations of people. The sea is the voice of many waters, or many people, in the book of Revelation.

In Psalms 74:14, is a reference to Pharaoh and the Exodus, which parallels with another Hebrew word “tannon,” which means a sea or river monster. The word occurs again in Ezekiel 29:3-5 symbolizing Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Oftentimes there is an Egyptian spirit tied in with leviathan, a spirit of the world and worldliness.

In Job 3-8 reference is made to a dragon, which according to ancient mythology, was supposed to cause eclipses by wrapping itself around the sun. Leviathan was considered to be a great mythical monster, identified with the Babylonian mother goddess, Timat. The father of Timat was Apsu, in the Babylonian creation story. This monster fought with Marduk by reciting charms and casting witchcraft spells.

In the Word there is a seven-headed monster, which takes us back to the constellation Orion and its seven stars. The seven heads are the seven stars and the creature is described as a fleeing serpent, the tortuous serpents smitten by Baal.

Isaiah 27:1 declares: “In that day the Lord, with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan, the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent (or tortuous serpent) and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” There is a dragon in the sea (people or nations) and God is going to slay that dragon.

I believe He is already beginning and we are already there, tribulating now. For example, there are some things which no longer bother me. I have overcome areas in the sex and drug area, yet out in the world some are still falling like flies in those traps. Even some Christians are being snared because they are not getting into deliverance and therefore not being set free.

The noun translated leviathan may also designate serpents such as might be roused by snake charming magicians. These men were also reputed to be able to impose curses, therefore snake charming curses are involved here.

There is another root word, Lawa, in the Hebrew (Strong’s 1087) used once in Ecclesiastes 8:15. It refers to the joining of an item or a person to someone or something else. Significantly, we believe that in the Bible this refers to foreigners who join God’s people as converts, the joining of an alien thing to God’s people.

In general, I think it refers to the way in which hedonistic pleasures stay with a man. In Ecclesiastes 8:15: “Then I commended mirth, because a man hath no better thing under the sun, than to eat, and to drink, and to be merry; for that shall abide with him of his labor all the days of his life, which God giveth him under the sun.”

Notice, these pleasures will cling to a man. Again the reference is to clinging, writhing and twisting. They get caught up with a man internally.

Job 41 says: “Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? Or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?” In our congregation there is a man from a hard background, he was a career army officer in Viet Nam. When he came home his brains were scrambled. Officials of the Army had judged him to be a 100% disabled schizophrenic. He appeared on our doorstep one day after hearing our radio program. This began a battle such as I had never seen, and it is not over yet. We have been at it now for about six months.

Being a disabled veteran, he is required to report every month to a psychiatrist in order to maintain his disability. After deliverance, he came to me and said he was so much better that he no longer was schizophrenic. He asked “What am I going to tell them when I go back for my interview?” I said, “Well, what do they want to find out?” He said they just want to know whether or not I am still crazy. I told him to tell them what had happened to him in deliverance. It worked, for after that report they were certain he was crazy.

In his Bible studies he came to the conclusion that Behemoth (Job 4) was the will of man. That big sluggish animal is strong, brassy and very hard to budge. Leviathan represents or burrows into the self of man.

In the book of Job the whole context is an ongoing debate between Job and his friends. Finally, God announces that He has had enough and demands an answer in chapter 38:4: “Where was thou when I laid the foundations of this earth? Declare if thou has understanding.” In verse 31 He asks, “Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades or loose the bands of Orion?”

Here at the culmination of an entire revelation, God gives this righteous man of God an entire discourse about leviathan. Some call him a crocodile or something else, but he is an evil spirit. There is revelation here and although we do not have all of it, we can utilize what we do know.

When we get down to that real, true self, we are where leviathan has his stronghold. He’s a writhing serpent, seven heads, etc. Although I’ve never seen him in the Spirit, he must be very ugly. There is a part deep inside where leviathan dwells. Even after ousting him, there’s still self-will which says, “This as far as I’m willing to go,” and sure enough, if you listen; that is as far as you will go.

Job 41:8 says that when we lay our hands on leviathan we will remember the battle and will not do it again. That struggle reminds us of our old self who does not want to reveal things, does not want anyone to know.

Job 41:15 states that the scales of leviathan are his pride and are shut up together with a close seal. One is so near to another that no air can come between them. In the scripture, air, breath and wind are synomymous with the Holy Spirit.

The reason people get so shut in is because of the effects of leviathan’s tight coils around them, inhibiting the moving of the Spirit. They cannot hear or discern the Spirit and they say they never get a word from the Lord or move in the gifts. The reason is that no air of the Spirit is able to get in because this demon has such a strangle hold. The scales are joined one to another and cannot be sundered.

“By his sneezings a light doth shine and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning or the rays of dawn; out of his mouth goes burning lamps and sparks of fire leap out.” This brings to mind James’ references to how the tongue kindles a fire. Tongue problems are rooted in leviathan. When he gets in the church and looses some of that fire, he sets the whole place ablaze.

“Out of his nostrils goeth smoke as out of a seething pot or cauldron; his breath kindleth coals and a flame goeth out of his mouth.” This refers to a cutting, critical tongue rooted in a spirit of pride. I see this smoke going out of leviathan’s nostrils as false praise and worship, like the smoke going up from the incense burning of Nadab. Because the person is so bound up with pride, he cannot really praise God. He is too important, too bound up in himself to give any real praise and worship to God.

In verse 22, “In his neck remaineth strength.” The neck reminds you of the will. Stiffnecked pride and stubborness are with leviathan. Sometimes strength in the neck can be a negative thing, because Jesus spoke of the stiffnecked and uncircumcised heart. The bowing of the neck is rebelliousness, which brings us back to pride and sorrow.

Dismay goes with stubborn people just as the flakes or the folds of leviathan’s flesh are joined together; firm in themselves and unable to be moved. These people cannot be told anything, they know it all. Haughtily they speak: “God showed me that a Christian can’t have a demon. You’re in deception, brother.”

His heart or chest is said to be as firm as a stone, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone (verse 24). Here, hard and cold heartedness are tied to leviathan. “When he raises up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breaking they purify themselves.”

In verse 31, he makes the deep to boil like a pot and there is a verse in Psalms which says “deep calleth unto deep.” This brings us back to self again. The deep is where the real you is located. There is a deep in me and I’m very careful about who I let in there.

God can get in there, deep calls unto deep, but the leviathan spirit will cause that deep to boil. There will be a restlessness and turmoil inside. Sometimes you cannot sleep well because there is something moving around, boiling in there. This could well be a leviathan spirit at work inside. Also note that this boiling is not only in you but that it also stirs up other people.

If you ever have occasion to spend much time around schizophrenics you will find that they just wear you out. They have a problem and you do also. We need to become unmovable, unable to get stirred up about anything except God’s righteousness and the evil that is in the world.

“He maketh a path to shine after him and one would think the deep to be hoary (or have white hair; to have wisdom with old age); upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear, or (who behave without fear). He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride (vs. 32-34).

Another way of stating this is that he looks down on all who are haughty; he is a king over all those who are proud. Pride and leviathan are practically synonymous. It is hard to separate them because pride causes that stony heart to close the scales and folds together blocking the Spirit of God from entering. Some sit listening, but not understanding or hearing the Word of God. Leviathan’s most crucial work is in the area of keeping people from receiving the things of God and of the Spirit.

You may say you have no pride but rebellious pride often hides. Leviathan is sneaky and subtle and can easily hide himself. He can twist, writhe and slip out of the way; causing one to reject dependence on God and subjection to God. he is quick to attribute to self the honor due to God, therefore this pride is the very root and essence of all sin.

Long ago Lucifer said, “I will exalt myself; I will sit on the sides of the north and be king” (Isaiah 14). The very root of his downfall was pride. Me! Me! Me! The awful worship of me, who needs no help. “If I go to a church which is really real, they’ll get revelation by the Spirit, of what I need.” That is just pride, nothing more or less! It is like driving into a gasoline station and telling the attendant, “I have an unspoken request.” To tell the workers, “Just see what the Lord tells you,” is rebellious pride in action.

The fallen devil, as described in Luke 10:18, still has a craving to be like God. As a result of the fall our whole nature has become infected with pride. The temptation to know good and evil, to eat of that forbidden tree was motivated by pride in Adam and Eve.

Just think, the tree of life was also there in the garden and God did not forbid them to eat of it. Yet, they went straight over to eat of the tree of good and evil, not the tree of life. That is pride.

We are descended from Adam and therefore easily affected by pride. This why leviathan is so strong, powerful and deeply rooted in us. The fascination with the forbidden, feeds leviathan who wreaths himslef tightly in the old self.

There is yet another dimension, even after deliverance from leviathan. The crucifixion of self must still take place in many areas. For example, people want to be delivered from cigarettes but they also must have a part. In our church there is a pouting brother right now who refused to come to church last Sunday. He had gotten deliverance from cigarette spirits, nicotine, tobacco, etc., and expected to get up the next morning without any desire for a cigarette.

Although this might happen, many times when you get up the next morning, you want one so bad that you think you are going to die. Is the evil spirit still there: No, he has gone. What is that then? That’s me, that’s me, that’s the old self down there. The only course to pursue is to put on the cross.

Crosses were instruments of death having two dimensions. Frankly, I don’t know where we cross the line from the spirit of pride to just the old self which refuses to humble itself in submission to God. You can resist the devil all day long but there must first be submission to God if you are really going to be free.

You may have to say, “God, I’m going to have to break out of this pride and become submissive to You.” This indeed might be the starting place to overthrow pride. The condemnation of the devil is associated with pride (I Timothy 3:6) and his undoing. Proverbs 8:13 says: God hates pride, therefore there is no place in us for it.

Proverbs 16:18 warns that prides goes before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall. The word for pride used here is one which means swelling excellence. Psalms 10:4 declares it to be the root cause of atheism.

Psalms 10:4: “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” The word here again is haughtiness, which brought about the downfall of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4.

The dictionary defines pride as an over high opinion of oneself; exaggerated self-esteem, conceit; haughty behaviour; arrogance; delight or satisfaction in one’s own or another’s achievements. God hates all of this.

Once when I was meditating and praying about leviathan, I asked God for a revelation. Awakening in the night, God spoke to my heart that leviathan resides in the Holy Place and that he is a counterfeiter.

Any studies on the tabernacle of Moses will show a fenced outer court with a tent-like structure on the inside containing two rooms. One was the Holy Place and the other the Holy of Holies.

The Holy Place was entered dialy by ministering priests and contained three pieces of furniture. A massive golden candlestick or lampstand was lit and provided the only light. There was a golden altar of incense where incense made sweet smelling smoke to go up as a type of worship and prayer to God and as a type of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. There was also a table of shewbread to the right with twelve loaves of shewbread, which were replenished weekly.

When you came in through the second veil, you had already been at the Brazen Altar (salvation). The second veil is the place of revelation and illumination by the Spirit of God, symbolized by the oil burning in the lamps. Nourishment is from Jesus, the bread of life, on the shewbread table.

This is where leviathan has his place. He is more interested in Spirit-filled people than anyone else. One of the big problems in the Spirit-filled churches is pride. We are so proud of our revelation! We do have some truth, but God is too wise to give any one of us the whole thing.

We are three part beings; we are soul; we have a spirit, and we live in a body. This is a type of the Holy Place where leviathan works. He is at work in our soul; in our emotions, mind and will.

He attempts to keep us from entering into the Holy of Holies, into the very presence of God. This is the third veil and he does not want us there, for once there, we have got it. This third veil was rent when Jesus died on the cross. This was that veil between the Spirit filled realm and the very presence of God.

No man could go there except Moses and the high priest, and then only once a year. Here leviathan stands to block entrance. He attempts to snuff out the lamps; cut off the bread (the manna); and he tries to keep us from offering up daily incense (prayer in the Spirit). He does not want us to move in the Spirit; to have words of knowledge or any other spiritual gift. He will choke us off with spiritual deafness and blindness, causing us to be tongue-tied. God said leviathan is living in the Holy Place and is a counterfeiter. His seven heads imitate the seven lamps of Revelation (Psalms 74:14; Job 41:19) The smoke from his nostrils is counterfeit prayer (worship at the altar of incense) and he is commissioned to counterfeit the genuine Pentecostal experience.

Leviathan wants us to have the counterfeit and if we get that and are satisfied with it, he has us. Many have had counterfeit experiences. Increasingly, we have had to cast out spirits of false tongues. Many are requiring deliverance from false, error filled ministries.

Malachi 2 speaks of the blessings which have been cursed. While I read that scripture one of the brothers in my church woke up. It was as if he had been asleep for five years. Five years earlier, he had become involved in a ministry led by a man in serious error. Not knowing this, he walked with him for years before finally realizing the truth. God told him to stay there although the man was cursing him from the pulpit. Finally, God told him to leave.

He just realizeed that his blessings had been cursed for those five years. When it lifted off of him with that scripture, he received a massive deliverance. Perhaps you too are asleep. Ephesians says, “Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you life.” Leviathan can come in to strangle your experience in God in such a way that you can slumber for years without notice.

The modern church today is largely asleep because of leviathan’s work. He loves to eclipse things and mythology associates him with the eclipse of the son. He wants to eclipse the S-O-N in your life but you don’t have allow this. You can be free.

Leviathan is the climatic revelation of Job and the climax of the book is chapter 41. God reveals the monster and Job responds in Job 41:5: “I’ve heard but now I see.” He had the revelation. Job’s primary problem was pride and God had to hit him hard to enable him to see it.

In Isaiah 27:1 there is an endtime scene dealing with leviathan. There is a parallel pasaage in Revelation 12:9 in which the devil is called the great dragon. Some believe leviathan to be the devil and no doubt he is a close copy.

Scripture says much about pride; God breaks the pride of power because it refuses to hearken to His Word and to the commandments, despising his statutes (Leviticus 16:19; Job 33:17). God speaks to a man at night to keep him from pride. If God spoke to some of us audibly, we’d form a new denomination!

In Psalms 73:1-6, pride results from prosperity, therefore much of the extreme prosperity preaching can not be of God. Pride comes from prosperity and from the lack of trouble (Psalms 73:1-6). Paul said he had to learn how to be abased then how to abound. It is much easier to learn how to be abased than how to abound. The downfall of many good preachers has been accomplished by prosperity and the lack of trouble. In deliverance at least, we will not lack for either.

Shame follows after pride (Proverbs 11:2); pride brings contention and breeds quarrels (Proverbs 13:10). If you’re a quarreler, contentious, always arguing with people, your problem is pride and leviathan. pride brings a man low (Proverbs 29:23); pride defiles a man (Mark 7:22). We need not worry about the fellow who becomes proud and arrogant, for God will take care of him.

Pride is our biggest area of blindness. It can be right before us and we will fail to see it or to call it pride. It is rooted in rejection and rebellion. We react to rejection with perfectionism and as we become “perfect,” we achieve the carnal goals of having things just as we want them. We begin to puff up with pride. “I want somebody to love me, so I’ll set myself a goal, achieve it and say, look at me; look what I’ve done.” We develop an exaggerated opinion of ourselves, vanity follows, with excessive pride.

Pride may even hide itself under a false humility. “I’m such a mess. Oh, I’m so thankful I got to come.” Ego also rises up when we become hyper-self conscious. Self awareness leads to intolerance of others because they are not as perfect as we are. In comes a critical spirit as satan works to load us with demons. We become frustrated and impatient because everyone is not as we want them to be. It is frustrating for we can not change them to suit ourselves.

Because a perfectionistic person is still aware of his own personal flaws and problems, he is miserable. He sees his problems and cannot solve them, therefore he begins to project them onto other people. He will talk about and accuse others (Proverbs 13:10).

Because other people are so messed up, this justifies his becoming disobedient and anti-submissive or rebellious. That husband just won’t straighten up so she must take over. He will not be the priest of the house or pray, therefore she must take charge because he is not perfected yet.

Create him in your own image instead of letting God create him in His image. Ladies, if you try this you are going to have a monster on your hands. It is better to leave him alone and let God create him in God’s image. Deep inside, the perfectionist believes that nobody can or should be trusted, not even God, because sometimes even he misses the mark.

When God does not seem to answer your prayers, you wonder why He messed up. After all, you had every right to have that prayer answered, the Word says so. “Why didn’t You answer my prayer God?” If you got in your prayer closet and became honest, that is what some of you would have to talk about. This stands between you and everything else and will keep you from getting deliverance. If you cannot even trust God, who can you trust?

“Me, I’m dependable,” and in comes self-will as you become your own source of authority. You will be selfish and stubborn, caught in a proud snare (Psalms 31:20). Self-deception deceives, defrauds and misleads a person about himself. Self-seduction means to tempt, decoy or mislead into something wrong or evil.

When we seduce ourselves, pride reinforces itself and it becomes a vicious circle. The afflicted one becomes unteachable, judgmental and usually seeks to control others with an attitude of possessiveness. It is a downward spiral for when you become unteachable, you have moved to the place where very little help is available.

There is little success with unteachable people. The critical time comes when one’s ultimate confidence in God as the object and source shifts to oneself as the object and source. God must be our source and the object of all we want. When such a shift takes place and I become the source, then I become legalistic: “If I don’t do this or that,” it’s not going to be right.

Pride makes professions such as: “It’s over; I can’t stand it nor I’m only human,” etc. Slogans we often pick up are loaded with pride as are some religious advertisements and ballyhoo such as: famous, renowned, apostolic, dynamic, powerful, international, stupendous, etc.

Some of our do nots and will nots: “I don’t do that and I don’t do this” can be pride. “Why, God?” Who are you to ask God why? “I want some private ministry. Can I talk to you alone?” There is pride cropping up again.

The good news is that Jesus is both the Answer and the Deliverer. We know there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus and we thank the Lord for the spirit of conviction. May we all work diligently to root out all pride for the destruction of leviathan in the name of Jesus.

Based on a sermon preached by Steve Bell

7 Simple Tips To Deal With Negative People

Whiners“The people who are the hardest to love are the ones who need it the most.” ~Peaceful Warrior

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Celestine Chua of The Personal Excellence Blog.

Have you ever dealt with negative people before? If you have, you will know that the experience can be quite a downer.

I used to have an ex-colleague who was very negative. In our conversations, she would complain endlessly about her co-workers, her work and her life. She was also very cynical about people in general, often doubting their intentions. Talking to her wasn’t a pleasant experience at all.

The first time we had a meeting, I felt very drained. Even though we talked for only 20-30 minutes, I didn’t have the mood or energy to do anything after our conversation. It felt as if someone had sucked the life out of me, and it wasn’t until 2-3 hours later that the effect wore off.

The same thing happened the next few times we talked. Because she was so pessimistic, her negative energy often spilled over after the conversation, leaving me with a bad taste in my mouth. For a period of time, I was quite bothered by her. I would avoid speaking to her if I could.

After a while, I figured I needed to work out an action plan to deal with negative people. After all, she was not going to be the only negative person I was going to encounter in my life. I thought: “For every 1 negative person I face now, there are probably thousands of them out there whom I’ll meet one day. If I learn how to deal with her effectively, I will be able to handle other negative people next time.”

With this in mind, I then brainstormed on the best approach to handle negative people.

Eventually, I developed several key steps to deal with negative people effectively. These steps have proven very helpful in making the best out of my relationships with them. While the people I face today are generally more positive, these steps come in handy when I’ve to deal with a negative person.

If there’s someone negative in your life at the moment, don’t let yourself be affected by him/her. You’re not alone in your problem – I face negative people as well and dealing with them is always a learning experience. While people can try to get you down, you’ve a choice in how you react to them.

Here, I’d like to share my 7 tips on how you can deal with negative people:

Tip #1: Don’t Engage in the Negativity

One thing I found is negative people tend to harp on the bad things and ignore the positive stuff. They also have a tendency to exaggerate issues they are facing, making their predicament seem a lot worse than it actually is.

The first time you converse with a negative individual, provide a listening ear and offer help if needed. Provide support – let him/her know he/she is not alone. However, be sure to draw a line somewhere. If the person keeps harping on the same problems even after the first few conversations, then it’s a sign to disengage.

For starters, try to switch topics. If he/she goes into a negative swirl, let him/her continue, but don’t engage in the negativity. Give a simple reply, such as “I see” or “Okay”. Whereas if he/she is being positive, reply in affirmation and enthusiasm. When you do it often enough, he/she will soon realize what’s going on, and will start to be more positive in his/her communication.

Tip #2: Hang Out In Groups

Speaking to a negative person can be extremely draining. When I spoke to my negative co-worker, I would be mentally drained for several hours, even though we talked for only 20-30 minutes. That was because I was on the receiving end of all her negativity.

To address this, have someone else around when conversing with the negative individual. In fact, the more people, the better. This way, the negative energy is divided between you and the other members, and you don’t have to bear the full brunt of the negative energy.

The plus point of having someone else around is that people bring out a different side to an individual. By having another party around, it may bring out a more positive side in the negative person. I experienced this before and it helped me to see the “negative” individual in a different, more positive light.

Tip #3: Objectify the Comments Made

Negative people can be quite critical at times. They tend to drop insensitive comments that are hurtful, especially if they are directed at you.

For example, I once had a friend who was quite tactless. She would drop jarring comments which were dismissive and critical. Initially I was bothered by her words, wondering why she had to be so critical every time she spoke. I also wondered if there was something wrong with me – that perhaps I wasn’t good enough. However, when I observed her interactions with our common friends, I realized she did this to them too. Her comments were not personal attacks – it was just her being the way she was.

Recognize that the negative person usually means no harm – he/she is just caught up in his/her negativity. Start by learning how to deal with critical comments. Objectify the comments made – Rather than take his/her words personally, recognize that he/she is just offering a point of view. Sieve out the underlying message and see if there is anything you can learn from what he/she said.

Tip #4: Go with Lighter Topics

Some negative people are triggered by certain topics. For example, one of my friends turns into a self-victimizer whenever we talk about work. No matter what what I say, he’ll keep complaining about everything in his job, which becomes quite a conversation dampener.

If the person is deeply entrenched in his/her negativity, the unhappiness may be too deeply rooted to address in a one-off conversation. Bring in a new topic to lighten the mood. Simple things like new movies, daily occurrences, common friends, hobbies, happy news, make for light conversation. Keep it to areas the person feels positive towards.

Tip #5: Be Mindful of the Time You Spend With Them

As Jim Rohn puts it – “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with”. What this quote means is that who you spend your time with has an impact on the person you eventually become.

I find it to be very true. Think about the times you hang out with negative people – Do you feel more positive or negative after that? Same for positive people – How do you feel after spending some time with them?

Whenever I’ve an encounter with negative people, I’d often feel negative after that, like a bad aftertaste. Whereas with positive people, I’d feel extremely upbeat and exuberant. Clearly, there is a spill over effect that takes place even after the interaction! By spending more time with negative people, your thoughts and emotions will slowly become negative too. At first it might be temporary, but over time it’ll slowly become ingrained in you.

If you feel certain people in your life are negative, then be conscious of how much time you’re spending with them. I recommend to limit the duration where you can help it. For example, if they want to hang out with you but you don’t enjoy their company, learn to say no. If it’s a meeting or phone call, set a limit to how long you want it to be. Keep to the objective of the discussion, and don’t let it extend beyond that time.

Tip #6: Identify Areas You Can Make a Positive Change

Negative people are negative because they lack love, positivity and warmth. A lot of times, their negative behavior is a barrier they erect to protect themselves from the world.

One of the best ways you can help a negative individual is to usher positivity into his/her life. Think about what’s bothering the person at the moment, and think about how you can help him/her in your own way. It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, and you definitely don’t have to go out of the way to help if you don’t want to. The key here is to be sincere in your desire to help, and to show him/her the upsides in life.

A while back, I had a friend who was unhappy with her job, due to the stagnating environment and culture mismatch. There was a job opportunity that arose in my (now former) workplace, so I introduced that opportunity to my friend. She eventually got the job, and she has been working there for over 3 years now, and doing very well.

Today, she’s a lot happier, forward-looking and proactive in life. She’s definitely a lot more positive than she was a few years ago. While I do not take any credit for what she has carved for herself in her career, I feel very happy knowing that I helped in a small way at the right time. Likewise, there’s always something you can do for others too – keep a look out and help where you can. Just a small act on your part may well make a huge difference in their lives.

Tip #7: Drop Them From Your Life
If all else fails, reduce contact with them or drop them from your life.

Rather than spend your time with negative people, focus on the positive people instead. In the past, I spent a lot of time with negative people, trying to help them with their issues. It drained up a lot of my energy and was often futile, which led me to rethink my methods. Ever since then, I worked on cultivating positivity by hanging out with positive friends and business partners. This has turned out to be a lot more rewarding and fruitful.

Remember that your life is yours to lead, and it’s up to you on how you want it to be. If there are negative people who make you feel bad about yourself, work on those issues with the 7 steps above. With the right actions, you can create a dramatic difference in what you get out of your relationships.

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