High-Achievers, Organizations, and Websites All Run on Code

I rebuilt my website. (Why would I not have someone else do it? Some people like football; some people like knitting; I like technology).  Back to the point.

When building websites, there is a process through which you add information and write instructions so that the website knows what to show the visitor.  In recent years, some options include a visual builder, a preview pane of what the site SHOULD look like when visitors see it.

Here was the problem. Everything looked correct in the preview pane. The colors, the format, the words—everything appeared precisely as I had designed it. However, each time I checked the public-facing version, I saw mistakes….colors that didn’t load, weird spacing, or words lined up as single-column letters.

What I learned is that even though I was changing everything to look nice, what remained was the website cache. A cache includes copies of files that are readily available so the website can load quickly. A cache acts as the default—it says, “hey, here is a copy of the self-confidence page; let’s just use that instead of rebuilding it from scratch.” Hence, the new design wasn’t showing correctly until I deleted the cache so that the default was no longer available.

I discovered another problem. The word “code” stands for instructions one gives to a website. I was providing new instructions, but they didn’t seem to be working. Similar to the cache problem, when I dug in, I found residual code from the previous rendition of the website. Essentially, my new instructions were conflicting with the old ones. The website said, “hey, thanks for the thought, but I like the old instructions better.” I had to delete the old code before the new ones worked.

A High-Achieving Mindset Doesn’t Guarantee Results If the Code is Outdated

The attention-grabbing part of this learning experience is that I put a lot of time and effort into the new instructions. I had a high-achieving mindset and visualized the success of making it through the tedious parts. My attitude remained positive. However, despite these high-performance thoughts and my execution of perfect new code, I didn’t see the results until I deleted the old files and instructions.

The experience made me think about the amount of information available on change management, high-achieving mindsets, and creating high-performance cultures—all topics I engage in and am wildly supportive of. Yet, we can bring knowledge, intentionality, goal-setting, and motivational tactics into play but still have diminished results if we have old instructions that conflict with the new information.

Schemas are Old Scripts that May Contradict New Efforts

In cognitive psychology, a “core schema” refers to the profound beliefs we view as truth. In the same way we assume the sky is blue, we have sets of instructions about the way the world works. We may not have upgraded these beliefs since second grade, but they still guide our actions. Some people might go to therapy for years but not implement changes that contradict their core beliefs. Similarly, organizations and teams often have a core schema, a belief about the way business works that the most astute consultant or change management process may have difficulty slicing through because, like my website code, it may be hidden in the background.

As business leaders, we may try new approaches and become disenchanted with the results. The method may have been wrong, or we may have been trying to layer a new set of instructions on top of the old code.

In relationships (personal and professional), we may want a fresh start, but the underlying baggage creates communication difficulty because we are running new information through old filters.

How to Recognize the Existence of Old Code to Optimize  High-Achieving Mindsets and Organizational Change

My website fiasco stunned me because of the degree to which all the new instructions LOOKED right. Without digging, I may have assumed something was wrong with my approach. Also, the caching of old files is a good thing in general; it creates efficiency in most circumstances. However, it became problematic when I needed the new files to override the old ones. Hence, instead of writing an article with a lot of tips and answers, I have this question, “where am I running old code that is making the new approaches, habit changes, and thoughts less effective than I want them to be?” and “How do I even recognize if I am running old code?”

Here are the questions I’m asking:

  1. Where am I/we trying to write new code?
  2. How do I/we know if there are old files or ways of thinking that compete with the new code?
  3. Where do I/we revert to old approaches?
  4. Why am I/we not getting the ROI out of a new initiative—is there old code competing with the new changes?
  5. Am I/we attached to the old files? Is the cache—the option for quick retrieval and execution my safety net? Do I keep them because they are comfortable and familiar? If so, how do I let go of the old file so the new ones can take hold?

Over the years, I have asked myself a set of questions. What is working? What isn’t working? Why? Am I doing something because I’ve always done it or because it’s the best approach? I’m going to add one now– “what is the code that is driving my outcomes?”