"In a recession, surprising developments are very common. You're focused on your goals and working your plans. Everything's cool, but something unpredictable happens. Then goals are jeopardized and plans fly out the window; but they don't have to. This is a common leadership challenge you can prepare for. Now, here's the key point:
You can ruin and reframe a surprise before you even know what it is. Here's how:
- First, surprising developments are shocking because people don't expect them. But you can ruin the surprise up front. You can't forecast the exact development, but you can forecast that surprises are very likely. And that's how you ruin the surprise.
- Second, surprising developments are perceived as threatening developments because they're viewed as a sign of danger. So you've got to reframe the surprise.
I want you to envision yourself saying something like this to your team:
'Life is full of surprises, but they are manageable. We course correct and move on. We can't control what happens, but we can control our response. When you think about it, our response to surprising developments are the final touches made before successful outcomes. And we can't make those final touches until we know what they are. These final touches are just our response to whatever comes our way.'
Now that's a healthier and much more useful way of reframing what surprises are. And you can do it before you even know what the surprise is. So you've ruined and reframed the surprise before it even happens. Once the surprising development becomes apparent, it's time to readjust.
- You've ruined the surprise by telling them it's coming, but now it's here.
- You've reframed the surprise as a chance to make finishing touches.
- Now is the time to make the course corrections that were always inevitable. Now it's time to readjust.
You always want to 'ruin', 'reframe' and 'readjust' in team settings because people process and cope with surprising developments better as a group. And it's an invaluable form of team bonding. You may need to adjust your goals and rethink your plans, but maybe not focus on the progress you've made and the progress you still need to make. In episode 78, we shared ways to adjust goals and plans based on progress and feedback. Remember, a surprise is a form of feedback. You can receive positive or negative feedback, and surprises are either pleasant or unpleasant. So focus on progress.
Take the feedback and adjust your focus using the techniques in Episode 78.
Final thought - surprising developments are attention grabbers, so they're great coaching and great team-building opportunities. You can make surprises unsurprising. Just ruin and reframe surprises up front and readjust using progress as your guide."
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