Implementing a thought framework to out-think the competition

Three SCNetwork members discuss Julian Chapman’s presentation

Implementing a thought framework to out-think the competition

Paul Pittman: I liked this. Julian Chapman came up with a neat framework for essentially a mental process for dealing with interaction with colleagues and processing opportunities for change.

Many of us flash through this systematic approach in a nanosecond and do not always get it right. Emotion, impatience or misreads distort the outcome or the process steps along the way.

The takeaway is to spend a little more time and to think through how you are reacting, and at what stage the people you are responding to are at with their ideas or proposals.

We have seen elements of this before with advice around putting yourself in the other’s shoes, and getting to yes and so on — trying to interpret the other’s motives and confidence in her idea, putting yourself in a position to receive and interpret, and mindful thinking.

Chapman’s presentation took these ideas full circle and offered a total solution.

I learned from someone years ago that when I feel an objection coming along, I should stop that from developing and ask myself why I’m having that reaction — not be driven by the gut emotion. Now, I know what I’m doing.

Accountants and engineers will love this; in fact, anyone comfortable with Requisite Organization methodology will engage with the logic behind the seemingly illogical. It represents a systematic way of analyzing collaborative problem-solving, change management and progress leadership to help arrive at a more informed approach to reaching a conclusion.

Yes, it was a little like a solution looking for a problem, but Chapman’s colour coding makes it simple enough to convey to any doubting Thomas. He maybe got a little carried away with colour shading and the “Boys Own Detective Kit” of having an application for every problem, but there was logic and it made sense.

I could see how this discipline (Chapman called it a framework) would change the way someone considers an idea or proposition.

What we didn’t get to see enough of (I know, time doesn’t always permit) was practical application — how to use it in the moment, interpret and act.

I can’t see someone buying Shell asking for a time out to colour code their opposite numbers on the negotiating team. Nonetheless, it’s a powerful technique.

Sandi Channing: I liked it, too. “Thinking is the ultimate diversity” resonated and so did Chapman’s presentation. 

That everyone has a different thinking style helped to clarify those “earth to Mars” situations — where you seem to be on a different planet than everyone else and don’t understand why they aren’t grasping the merits of your great idea.

Chapman then took it one step further by providing a resource to help with getting people on board — the Persuasion Map. 

In today’s business environment, where things change quickly, organizations have to be ready to out-think the competition. Increasing communication, understanding and co-operation among workers is a great way to achieve this. 

Many organizations have bought into employee profiling such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or DISC (a behaviour assessment tool that centres on four different traits: dominance, inducement, submission and compliance), so why not thinking styles?

Employees’ understanding of other’s thinking styles, as well as their own, facilitates the sharing and receptiveness of ideas, resulting in faster and better decisions overall. 

To quote Chapman: “Effective thinking is effective action.” 

He provided practical, hands-on tools that were easily understood and implemented. He led us through a journey that required us to use both hard and soft thinking while moving between the colours of thinking without us realizing it. If this was an example of the Persuasion Map in action, I’m sold.

Jan van der Hoop: I agree completely, Sandi. The only place where “autopilot” belongs is in the cockpit. For better or worse (worse), most of us are on autopilot most of the time, simply showing up as a reflection of whatever inner dialogue is running in the background of our mind and reacting unthinkingly to external stimulus.

As is the case with any of the assessments or models you describe, the one true source of effectiveness is self-awareness (what’s going on for you), situational awareness (what’s going on around you, and what does the situation require you to bring to it), and the willingness to be intentionally versatile.

That’s the case with interpersonal styles, in all our communication, and now also in terms of how we actually think.

I love the Rhodes Thinking-Intensive Model Chapman shared, and (as a guy who spends most of my life in green thinking, re-imagining the future) look forward to practising an awareness of my own thinking focus and that of folks around me.

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