The Thoughtful Pause
Take a moment before you react to things as they happen at work. I know it’s hard, but we have to do it to become more creative and innovative. Most of the time, we are so busy putting out fires and running around like a chicken with its head cut off that we forget to use the “Thoughtful Pause,” which is exactly as the name suggests.
Take a thoughtful pause before reacting to a situation. It may be the best decision you have made all day.
Instead of flying off the handle and reacting instinctively to a situation, take a moment to assess it and choose to alter the outcome as a part of the solution. Leaders often mistakenly add fuel to the fire unknowingly, simply because they react too fast. When we react too fast, we sometimes make decisions that we regret. And those decisions then become part of the problem and not part of the solution. When we practice the Thoughtful Pause, we allow a moment – however brief – to catch ourselves from going down the rabbit hole of showcasing the error and protect ourselves from the blinding force of negativity.
One of my favorite techniques to help manage negativity and be a part of the solution is the inversion method. This is a method I had learned very early in my career, and it worked exactly the same as it works now. Its effectiveness lies in its simplicity: when we have an issue or crisis or problem in the business invert it: Do the exact opposite.
So, for instance, if the crisis of the moment happens to be a shortage of customers for a particular product, then invert the problem and imagine a world in which there is an overabundance of customers. What would you do? Would you ramp up marketing to keep that market share? Would you hire new folks? Would you come up with ancillary products? Now apply these inversion techniques to the problem in the first place. So, for a lack of customers, act exactly as you would in case of an abundance of customers, and you may unlock great creative and innovative potential.
With the economy headed in the direction we all think it’s heading (down) and applications now at historic lows, what can we use from the boom days (not that long ago!) that may help us invert the problem and find a solution? You’d be surprised at how effective this technique is if you try a shift of mindset to help become part of the solution instead of part of the problem.