Tag Archives: reframing

How reframing can stop smart people giving dumb answers

Ever been in a room full of smart people asked a question?

It’s not hard for them to come up with a bunch of perfectly sensible, rational answers founded on prejudice and assumption experience and logic. Reasonable and rational propositions abound but crucially, they’re often not founded on evidence.

It’s pretty much how it seems some financial reporting works. Revenue was down 4% this quarter due to :

  • the weather was [hotter/wetter/colder/windier], so people didn’t behave normally
  • the [insert sports event here] took place which distracted people
  • competitors launched a new ad campaign
  • the planets weren’t in alignment
  • etc, etc.

Some, none or all of them may be true but as they say, correlation is not causation.

This post about discussing challenge and direction on The Lean Thinker blog, highlights a great use of reframing to get round this problem.

Mark describes how a well-meaning manager keeps asking one of his people “How can we reduce the overtime”. Continue reading →

Ask a silly question, get a winning answer – how reframing unlocks insight

Questions. One of those deceptively simple words that punches way above it’s length or dry definition. One of my favourite coaches, the inimitable Terry Russell, calls words like these ‘fat words’ because they contain so much more possibility than their superficial delivery or appearance.

The W questions are great examples of how simple questions can quickly provide insight and help reframe activity.

  • What are we trying to do?
  • Why is it important/urgent?
  • Who is responsible for making this happen?
  • When do we need to have this done by?

Whatever W’s you employ, questioning is vital in any exercise to explore possibility because asking the ‘right’ question is a superb mechanism to unlock perspective, break down constrained thinking and challenge assumptions.

The ability of a simple question to reframe and inspire – to change how something is perceived, considered or evaluated makes it one of the most powerful tools in reframing strategy. Why are those three elements desirable in reframing ? Because they require people to engage in what’s possible, rather than remain blinkered in a world of closed options.

Reframing something through asking the right questions is fantastically valuable because it opens up perspective to consider challenges in a different light. Continue reading →