November 11, 2008

Staying Optimistic in Troubling Times – RICH Application

In my previous post related to emotions and performance, I indicated I would next give you a technique you could use for application to stay optimistic. So now let’s translate Seligman’s ABCDE psychological principles from that post to leading your business through rough waters. To do so, facilitate your team through a conversation using our RICH process to analyze your situation and leverage your talents and resources.

R is for Realistic - Do a gut check and use the ABCDE method to explore the emotions you have experienced. See things as they really are and realistically appraise how your reactions have influenced the team.

  • How have we each been reacting to the current crisis?
  • How have those emotional reactions colored your thinking and influenced your attitude, and your decisions?
  • How has it affected your performance?
  • How has it affected our teamwork?

I is for Intelligent – Now analyze your current business standing and the risks associated with the current economic crisis.

  • In what ways is our business truly at risk?
  • What is the basis for this assessment? (fact-based)
  • What might this mean for our organization in the next two years?
  • What are ways to sustain our organization and reduce vulnerability? (Note: Beware of too much cost-cutting, reducing the organization’s power needed to move through this period effectively. Keep your most important resources, and those people who support your success. Keep in mind that this cycle will likely be turning around by 2010.)

C is for Creative – Now moving from the logical side of the brain which deals with the facts and solutions, over to the creative side. This is where your greatest leverage is for getting out ahead of the competition. Brainstorm with your team for out-of-the-box ways to impact your business. Remember, Warren Buffet uses down-turns to find new opportunities.

  • What are some possible opportunities now that did not exist before?
  • How can we balance our conserving efforts with expansive thinking? (Note: Conserving refers to protection mode, whereas expansive refers to stretching out and beyond)
  • How do we want to emerge from this crisis?
  • What would a position of strength look like?
  • What outside perspective would support us?

H is for Hone – To hone is to sharpen up, polish, improve, perfect and prepare. I heard a colleague say recently, “Well, if we can’t spend as much money this year on new training initiatives as we did last year, then let’s spend our time improving the programs we already have.” That is a great example of Optimism – which, when you come right down to it, is the ability, in a negative situation, to intentionally focus and take action on what you can do to make a positive impact.

  • What are areas of our business that we can work on improving?
  • What personal and professional strengths could we each develop during this time?
  • Which of these ideas would most support our vision for the future?

Use the above process to facilitate your team through a session of analyzing your situation and leveraging your talents and resources. Let us know how it worked for you and share any special twist you may have added to the conversation for your specific type of team.

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