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InsideOut Development's Alan Fine Keynotes Leadership Conference
Friday, September 11, 2015 6:55 AM

At yesterday's Cornerstone Leadership Conference in San Antonio, Alan Fine, the founder and president of InsideOut Development, began his session by asking the packed auditorium, "How many of you have on occasion, looked at your colleagues and scratched your head, wondering why they said what they said and did what they did?"

Fine's foundational premise is "You already know how to be great." Thirty-five years ago, he had an experience that changed the path of his life; and other than his family, his mission is to impart the wisdom of that experience—the thing he's most passionate about, which is the greatness within people.

He began by encapsulating his Outside In, Inside Out paradigm:

Outside In: Performance = capacity + knowledge

Inside Out: Performance = capacity – interference

Fine specifically names accountability, engagement, execution, trust, courage, innovation, and empowerment as key performance attributes. "You cannot put those things into people," he says. "You can only remove what blocks those things from coming out."

Fine made the point that in sports, "Coach + player + poor performance = coach fired." Yet, in business, "Coach + player + poor results = player fired." 

He asked, "Would your people hire you to be their leader or coach because of the difference you make to them? You can make them more promotable and more employable."

Fine noted several key aspects of his philosophy:

  • All people have greatness within them;
  • Interference locks that greatness from coming out; and
  • Choosing what we focus on is what unlocks our greatness.

"The harder we try to fix things, the worse we play," he said. "I know when I play well, I don’t think a lot about it or exert a lot of effort. When I play badly, I do the opposite of what we do when we play well. The biggest obstacle to unlocking greatness isn’t knowing what to do; it’s doing what we know." 

Fine says we all evaluate each other on performance. We evaluate against what people say they do and whether they actually do what they say. He advises people to communicate to the stakeholders when you can’t do what you said you would, and he emphasizes that if you can't communicate that, there's a big problem.

Interference blocks our greatness, Fine says. "Children learn half of what they're going to learn in their lives by the time they're five or six years old. What happens at five or six that slows down their learning? Educational, institutionalized grading—pass or fail."