“Very often a change of self is needed more than a change of scene.” — Arthur Christopher Benson
Have you ever gotten advice from somebody that was irrelevant for you?
For example, maybe, they wanted to talk about the problem so you could feel better, but what you really needed was new better skills or techniques to tackle the problem.
Or, maybe you’ve spun your wheels on a problem, only to later realize that you all you needed to do was change your approach?
There is a way you can more consistently improve your results and increase your chances at success.
The key is to first figure out is where you need to change.
The Change Frame–Should You Change Yourself or the Situation?
Here’s a simple frame I’ve been using to help my mentees at Microsoft understand where to change, so they play their best game:
The frame is organized by you and your situation.
It’s a simple frame, but that’s part of the power.
You can very quickly analyze just about any situation or piece of advice against the frame.
How To Use the Change Frame
As simple as this frame looks, it’s very powerful.
If somebody gives you advice and you feel a tug in your gut that it’s not helpful, there’s a good chance that it’s not the advice itself, but it’s at the wrong level.
Telling you how to think about a problem won’t help when you really need a technique and action for the problem.
You can use this frame as a vantage point and to analyze your approach to be more effective.
The fastest and most effective thing you can change is yourself.
You should also know that changing your thinking, changes your feelings, changes your actions.
If you know this, it’s a powerful concept.
If you don’t have the energy you need to get results, then you might have to start with changing how you’re thinking about it.
If you’re stuck in analysis paralysis, then you might just need to start taking action and tuning your results.
Changing the Situation
Some people spend too much time trying to change for the situation that’s not right for them.
They ultimately change, but at the expense of their strengths or passion.
Another approach is to get better at figuring out up front where you can play to your strengths.
While you want to be flexible and adaptable, you also need to be self-aware.
If you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can either avoid situations where you won’t be successful or you can set situations up for your success.
If you know your strengths and weaknesses, you can also be more deliberate about how you change for the situation and whether you are giving up your strengths.
Adapt, Adjust, or Avoid
You need to know when to adapt yourself to the situation, adjust the situation to better suit you, or avoid the situation so you don’t get burned.
For example, if you are used to position authority for getting results, then you’ll want to either find those situations where it works or you’ll want to avoid them.
If you want to be more effective across a wider range of projects, situations and roles, then you’ll want to learn how to influence without authority.
The key to remember is that it’s not a question of can you change for the situation — of course you can.
It’s really a question of should you, or is there a way to set the situation up for your success, or is another situation a better fit for you.
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