I’m going to give you a hat. Whenever you need it, simply put it on. This hat will help you get the best results in your life.
When triggers happen that cause you to react, add a pause, and put on your metaphorical hat of effectiveness. When you put this hat on, you’re shifting gears. You’re shifting from reacting to responding.
How To Put On Your Hat of Effectiveness
Here are the key steps:
- Decide what your goal is on exploring the most effective response (your next best move or your best play for the situation.)
- Boil the problem down to a simple one-liner statement (e.g. how to get the car at the price you want.) This gives you clarity and makes it easier for you to state the problem if you need to ask for help.
- Ask yourself, what do you want to accomplish? (This is both what you want and don’t want.)
- Ask yourself, what 3 potential responses might be? (this is your chance to play out potential solutions.)
- Ask yourself, what would Edward de Bono do? (or fill in your favorite hero for the situation.)
- Choose the most effective response.
Measure Against Effectiveness
If you aren’t sure what your best responses are, make it a point to ask the right people for input. The most important thing is to keep clarity on what you want to accomplish, avoid, or minimize. You then measure yourself against effectiveness. If you fail, you ask, “what’s the lesson,” and you carry the lesson forward. If you accomplish the goal, great … what did you learn? So it’s a path of learning and growth measured against effectiveness.
A Lot of Power in a Simple Hat
It’s a powerful hat. It will serve you well. It’s probably the best hat that I wear for any challenging situation.
It combine the power of the pause, the ability to stay out of fight-or-flight mode (which screws up your thinking), it allows you to cycle through potential solutions, while asking solution-focused or forward moving questions, it keeps you unstuck, and it keeps you learning.
Changing Questions Changes Focus
I think the real power of this hat is that it combines several effective thinking techniques, plus NLP …
- Changing state (without having to use real anchors/triggers.)
- Changing questions changes focus changes results.
- Changing state helps keeps you out of primal mind / fight-or-flight … so more prefrontal for your best thinking.
When You Don’t Know, Ask
The hat can’t help you pattern match, if you don’t have the right patterns to begin with. If you’re up against a problem that you don’t have the right experience for, then ask your network for help. You can also supplement with the Six Thinking Hats technique and by asking experts for their input. That’s why asking THE right question is so key. If you’re not getting the right answers, you might not be asking the right questions. You might also be asking the wrong people. At work, I have to constantly check myself, “am I asking the right person?”
Take care of this hat. It’s the hat that truly does make the difference.
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Photo by Bazule.