Agile Leadership - Jump to state model and reframing your beliefs | Part 2

Jump to state model

It is absolutely possible to instantly change your mood (state).

Just consider the last time you felt amorous toward a partner, and it turned cold when they started discussing the neighbours, the news or your finances. Instant change.

I once saw a mother cleverly handle her child’s state and change it instantly. Her child was throwing a temper tantrum, face down on the ground, arms and legs flailing and yelling at the top of their voice. She stood him up (posture change), lifted his chin (breathing change) and asked him to smile when he yelled. The child fell silent and then giggled.

Anyone who does public speaking can attest to the power of techniques for calming down before going on stage. Power posing (as per Amy Cuddy), breathing exercises and anchoring state are among the favourites.

Ian Snape’s research into state has found that asking a simple question can help: “Can you imagine the right state for mentoring (or coaching or a performance review)?” The answer is almost always yes, in which case Ian asks them to adopt that state, and they do. When people fall out of that state (which becomes obvious from posture, breathing, skin colour, words and emotions) he asks them, “Is this state helping you?”. Paying attention is all that’s needed to go back to where they need to be.

Undergird agility with instant state change by:

Listening to favourite sound tracks, meditation, prayer or mindfulnessm, going for a walk or taking regular breaks

Framing and reframing beliefs

Every situation and circumstance we have is framed by what’s going on in our head. Our expectations, our stereotypes, our past experiences and our internal rules about how life should work and how we should be treated. Because everything is framed, it can be reframed, should we become aware that our state is not optimal.

Framing and reframing is a powerful way to assist agility for an individual, in an organisation and even in a society. Consider the way long haul freight companies and couriers frame our timeframes for delivery. Parcel tracking provides us with a sense of control and enables us to enquire with more accuracy.

We can frame and reframe people’s expectations about travel times. For example in Melbourne the freeway system carries digitally updated billboards with “expected times to…” three locations further up the freeway. You may have started on your journey expecting to cross town in thirty minutes, wound up in a traffic snarl and started to get angry. Now up come the travel times and your expectations get re-set, and you start to calm down. This is a great example of behavioural nudging at a grand scale.

Reframing can also work by discovering our internal rules. Anytime you hear “should” or “have to” you’re observing someone’s internal rules about the way the world works, or the way things should be. Checking on the validity of those rules helps people reframe, and sometimes dramatically increases their choice in a situation.

Brazilian business maverick Richardo Semler, CEO of SemCo created corporate agility by turning the rules of business upside down, and empowering his employees. He reframed the way business ran by giving them the power, or as he called it, “treating them like adults.” They were able to review executive performance, set their own salaries, move work units around, split the business up to make it more efficient and even close unprofitable areas.

Undergird agility with reframing by:

  • Providing the why to what people are doing (see Simon Sinek – “Start with Why”)
  • Giving strong personal direction (set the boundaries for them)
  • Casting clear vision for the group (lay out the roadmap and milestones)

At RSM we can help assist you or your business to be more agile.

If you would like to speak to RSM about how we can help, please contact your local office today. 

Three inputs model

Take a look part one of Agile Leadership