Joseph tends to get angry when his wife Judy asks him too many questions? He notices this tendency and realizes that his response hurts Judy. But this thought does not come to his mind when he is angry. He feels this is not helpful for their relationship, which has been deteriorating gradually.
You may have faced similar situations with family, friends, colleagues or anyone else you have regular interactions or you may know others who are facing similar challenges. Have you ever wondered why it has been sometimes very difficult to change a habit?
While I have been using techniques of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and Transactional Analysis (TA) to help myself and those who come for my guidance, to change habits, I was fascinated by the power and potential of Action Inquiry in achieving real and lasting change.
2016 is almost over and I hope you made good progress during the year. Some of us would say it was an awesome year, some would say it was an average year and some others would say it was not a good year! The best we can do is to use the learning from 2016 so that we can make 2017 a better one.
I am pleased to present a simple four-step process to help you prepare for a fruitful 2017.
Step 1: Let’s start by doing this simple reflective exercise to take the resources from 2016 for a better 2017. Answer the following question in writing or in an artful form such as a picture, poem, collage, structure etc.
- What were my biggest successes in 2016? What did I learn from it?
- What were my biggest failures in 2016? What did I learn from it?
- Who am I grateful for 2016? (Those who helped me and was tough on me)
Once the above is done, allow some time for the energy and learnings to settle in before starting the preparation for 2017.
Let’s first try to understand what is ‘Unique-ability’ before trying to understand what your Unique-ability is and how to use this potent idea in improving your effectiveness individually and as a team.
Unique-Ability is a description for a level of ability. To simplify it let me offer four broad levels of ability. At the bottom is ‘Incompetent’, where we just can’t do a particular task. The next level is ‘Competent’, where we can do a particular task. The third level is, ‘Excellent’ where we not only can do a particular task, but we can do it well. We can get up to ‘Excellent’ level through training and developing our skills. But to get to the fourth level, ‘Unique-ability’ we would not only be really good at doing a particular task, but we are passionate about, it energizes us and it inspires others. It is simply something natural in us. Therefore I believe we cannot get to the level of Unique-ability by training ourselves, it should be within us. It is a word used to describe your natural strengths. It also highlights your responsibility to put your talents to work for the shared purposes of those with whom you make a commitment of this tremendous energy.
We examined why we do what we do from the Action Logic framework Introduced by Greuter Cooke (Cooke 2002) where we discussed the four pre-conventional action logics; opportunist, diplomat, expert and achiever. Click here to read the previous blog. This paper takes us to the post-conventional action logics; Individualist, Strategist, Alchemist and Ironist.
We need to remember that only about 15% of adult population, based on research done on a sample of adults in the United States, operate with post-conventional action logics. I suspect the percentage may not be too different in other parts of the world, but I feel the percentage may be higher in the east (countries around India and China) due to the long history of mindfulness practices such as meditation, yoga etc. that we adopt. It is also important to note that those in lower action logics may find it difficult to relate to and practice higher action logics, but those operating in higher action logics, finds it easy to relate to and operate in lower action logics as required.
Since the transition from pre-conventional action logic, let’s go back to the example of Sara, I wrote about in my earlier blog, who transitioned from a ‘expert’ action logic and learnt how to listen, take feedback and discuss different options presented by her colleagues. This approach not only helped her to make better decisions, as she is richer in perspectives, it has also strengthened her relationships with her colleagues.
Think of the last time you reflected upon an action you took? Remember asking yourself the question why did I do what I just did? Sometime we may not even ask this question, thinking it is the way it is or it is meant to be or you were too busy to do so. Even if we asked this question we may not think deep enough to reflect on the root causes. Sometimes, even if we thought deep enough, we may not reflect on alternate ways of responding to the same situation the next time. Sometimes, even if we thought of alternate ways of responding the next time, we may not reflect on alternate actions we could take the next time. Those who go through this whole process and take alternate action the next time, and continue to follow this process, will find tremendous personal growth.
We are one of seven billion people in this world and each one of us sees the world from our own paradigm. This short blog post will examine the dangers of getting imprisoned in a paradigm and the benefits of becoming a prism as prisons are restricting and prisms are reflecting.
For example, when it comes to a decision of buying a family car, each family member would look at the decision from a different paradigm. The father might look at technical performance and fuel efficiency, the mother might look at the spaciousness and colour scheme, the teenage son might look at how classy it looks and how fast it can go and the teenage daughter may not care about any of this. When each family gets prisoned in their paradigm, they will not be able to come out of it to look at the decision from other paradigms, leading to possible misunderstandings, conflicts and even permanent damage to the quality of relationships.
Therefore the question is, how do we get out of the paradigm prison?