I have referred before to George Lakoff’s work and his little book ‘Don’t think of an elephant’, which makes the point of how easy is to think of an elephant. If you want to learn reframing, read Lakoff.
In my shopping list of a-little-unconventional skills in the enormous supermarkets attributed to leadership, re-framing scores very high.
We need leaders who have less answers and more ability to ask questions. But asking questions is an art, and the whole ‘reframing plus critical thinking’ lenses are more needed the ever.
- The question on the table is A, what if the question were B?
- We are about to make decision X. What are the preconceived ideas that we bring to the decision?
- We all agree on Z. Are we agreeing too much?
- We talk about the cost of doing N. What is the cost of not doing it?
- We have a plan to succeed. Can we create a plan to completely screw up and compare?
- Let’s brainstorm for very bad ideas
- How much time we dedicate to problem-solving? What is that we are building?
- We have a list of competitors to compare ourselves with. Can we compare ourselves with anybody not in the list?
- Can we compare all our ‘why we are doing this?’ Let’s compare our own reasons. Let’s get all the invisible why visible.
- What is the question behind the question? Why is X asking this? What if she is asking a different question but it has just come up disguised as this one?
These are 10 examples that require only practice to make them live. Not a special brain, but going to the critical thinking gym frequently. Accountants relax: the cost of this is zero, the benefits infinite.
If leaders take upon themselves the role of master re-framing practitioners, other will see it, and hear it, and feel it, and will copy, and will follow.
Taking the reality around us as a face value only facilitates automatic pilots answers. We will neer learn and will apply standard answers to predictable questions.
The Leader re-framer may make some people restless and uncomfortable. And this is precisely a good outcome of leadership for our days.