By Gerry Murray. 31-01-2021
(Scroll down for a laugh)
“We lead our lives so poorly because we arrive in the present always unprepared, incapable, and too distracted for everything.”
~ Rainer Maria Rilke
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These past few weeks I introduced the power of framing and I've been applying it to meetings, something we all have to attend but don't always enjoy.
I wrote about the importance of having a clear outcome (the outcome frame), not only for yourself but also for all meeting participants as a way of keeping a meeting focused. Last week I added the "as-if" frame as a way of mentally rehearsing the achievement of your desired outcome. This helps you both fine-tune the outcome and establish during a meeting whether you're getting close to achieving it.
One of the common challenges in meetings is that they often go off course!
Sometimes, this is because someone introduces a point that pulls the entire meeting off down a side-alley. Or, the more politically skilled operators use this as a tactic to disrupt the meeting and avoid dealing with stuff that they don't want to have to address.
What to do?
Here's where what's known as the 'Relevancy Frame' comes in handy. And, this is how it works.
When somebody introduces something that is off-topic you "frame" their input or comment as follows:
"This seems like an interesting point but I'm wondering how it pertains to the outcome for this topic/meeting. Perhaps, it's a separate topic for another meeting or we can pick it up if we have time at the end of this meeting and we've reached our desired outcomes? Could we agree to do this?"
or, perhaps the person sees how their point fits in and you need to allow them to explain further how it is relevant:
"I don't fully understand the relevance of your last remark with respect to what we're discussing right now. Could you please explain how it fits into the achievement of our outcome?"
I find it useful to pre-frame the "relevance frame" at the beginning of a meeting by suggesting that should something come up that doesn't seem relevant that we can agree to deal with it another time. This way it doesn't kill relevant participation or ideas and still keeps everything on track. It also sends a signal to the more politically-minded that attempts at hijacking the meeting agenda will not work.
So, as always, there are many opportunities to test out these frames for yourself. And, I'm curious how you get on.
Please stay relevant this week!
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In the next episode, we'll be discussing Adaptive Capacity: why it's important, what it is and how to become really good at it...
A policeman pulls over an old lady for running a stop sign at an intersection.
As he approaches the car he notices 6 penguins in the back seat of her car. She rolls down the window and the cop says "Ma'am I pulled you over because you ran that stop sign back there, but now that I am here I have to say, you can't just be driving around with these penguins in your car. You should take them to the zoo."
She smiles and says "You are absolutely right officer, I will do that immediately."
He lets her off with a warning and they both go about their day. The following day at the same intersection the same cop sees the same car run the same stop sign. This time he is determined to give her the ticket and not get distracted. But, as he approaches the car, he notices all 6 penguins in the back seat, and they are all wearing sunglasses.
She rolls down her window and smiles. The cop says "Ma'am, first, you ran the stop sign AGAIN. Second, I thought I told you to take these penguins to the zoo immediately."
"I DID!" she exclaims. "They had such a great time too, so today I am taking them to the beach."