A Vicious Cycle…

Or a Virtuous one…?

I’ve written before on the power of our minds to determine our outcomes, here’s a slightly different take on it – coming from the perspective of a continuous feedback loop.
Recently I read an article on cyclic thinking and outcomes and how we can use the effects of our thoughts to improve our circumstances. It related in some depth to success of different models of positive feedback loops, and I’m going to look at a couple of them here.
The concept of a vicious cycle is well known to us, it’s one where we keep perpetuating a pattern by repeating the behaviours which cause negative effects which reinforces the pattern which causes further negative impacts – this is prevalent in areas such as defeatist self-talk where we keep telling people (and ourselves..) that we’re not good at a certain task or skill; we also practice this when we procrastinate – I think we’ve all had one of those days or periods in our life where we feel as though we’ve got nothing on our list done because all we’ve done seemingly all day is waste time, how does that affect us, it’s likely that we repeat the behaviour the next day or within a short time.
On a broader scale, it’s also very common in substance abuse and can be a form of negative attention seeking in children (think of the child who keeps “getting into trouble”, the parent then focuses attention on them and not on others).
In a business environment this can be characterised within a customer service setting by the setting of poor service standards, which are then not executed (or done poorly), leading to client complaints, demoralised staff who further treat clients without respect, leading to a loss of these clients to the business and a turnover of staff.
Another very present example is the high demand for rental property leading to rents increasing, the media then picking up on this, creating anxiety about affordability which fuels demand with people jumping into anything at almost any price and pushing prices higher.
When you look at these examples you can see how easy it is to get into a spiral of negative behaviours and consequences.
The same can be said of what’s known as a virtuous cycle.
The virtuous cycle works much along the same principles as I’ve outlined above, except that instead of setting ourselves up to fail or have negative outcomes by repeating patterns which don’t serve us well, we replace them with patterns and behaviour which does serve us well and support us in leading a better, happier and more fulfilled life… the overall goal of a virtuous cycle is to create a sustainable, repeatable set of behaviours and outcomes
It’s an upward spiral, rather than a downward one, and works by compounding the positive effects and encourages the repetition of the behaviours which created these positive effects and then creating further positive outcomes from those.
A prime example of this is a customer service standard which aims for excellence and is clearly communicated to both the staff and clients.
When a business has a team which has a clearly defined standard, they are able to work more closely to that standard – this leads to higher levels of client satisfaction, a marked drop in complaints, more repeat business, and happier staff.
You can see where this pattern’s leading… This becomes your point of value in a crowded, competitive marketplace as happier staff repeat the service behaviours, a growing happier team bring in more business and make the business a market leader.
The virtuous cycle focuses on the use of positive actions to create great outcomes and generate new opportunities for your business, and the clients who choose to do business with you. It is one of the most potent tools or business models you can use to forge the path for consistent growth.
Now imagine using this in every other of your business and even in your life – where do you think you could gain?