At the risk of outing my age range, I am going to share a story that illustrates how we can bring “Flip It” thinking into our everyday business and personal lives.
Last week I was out for lunch with my mum complaining that I just had my hair coloured two weeks ago and it is already showing grey at the roots. My mother said “That’s wonderful darling, it means you are healthy and your hair is growing fast.”
What an amazing talent to flip the negative into a positive.
Often we are faced with situations where we are working on a project and a team member’s approach is in stark contrast to our own.
Just recently, I was working with a group where the CEO’s entrepreneurial approach to business was frustrating the process orientated members of the team. The CEO often segued the conversation from the agenda. The tension in the air was palpable. Yet it was his Blue Sky thinking that brought one of the most innovative approaches to the way forward.
Tidying up the differences after the workshop did require attention. One of the other gentlemen, whose key performance indicators were based on an on time on budget delivery of the project was clearly frustrated. We sat down post the session and evaluated many of the discussion points where he felt frustrated. We flipped the scenarios. To this manager’s credit, he surrendered his process style of thinking for the session resulting in a change of perspective that allowed him to celebrate being exposed to the CEO’s innovative way of thinking.
In bestselling author, Michael Heppell’s book Flip It, he suggests that Flip thinking is a “simple way of thinking, acting and doing that, once learned, will make sure you get the very best out of everything.” He challenges you “to get curious about how you interpret and handle every situation. It liberates you from the beliefs that have been holding you back and gives you powerfully simple ways to switch your thinking and change your actions so that you can get the very best from whatever life sends your way.”
He discusses the power of intelligent questioning, starting with replacing “Why with How”
He says “The word why is often associated with the negative. Why me? Why now? Why Should I? Whereas how is commonly associated with solutions. How can I? How do I? How should we?” Michael says that why is often disempowering – Why do people do that?
By using this approach after the workshop, the Manager was able to flip his thinking from “why would our CEO introduce topics that are not relevant to this meeting to “How fortunate that his segue led to an additional new market for us to approach for the way forward.”
Berthold Gunster, Founder of Omdenken, The Dutch Art of Flip Thinking says “To see the world from one basic attitude would be naive. Sometimes optimism is needed, at other times perseverance, creativity or patience is required. For each situation you would like to use flip-thinking, always question whether the situation requires love and attention or whether it is more realistic to acknowledge that there is a battle to face. Or possibly a disruptive, playful approach would work perfectly.”
Berthold recommends 15 strategies to flip your thinking.
Here are eight of my favourites –
Accept reality as it truly is and see what you can do with that reality
Method: Once you’ve accepted the reality, say ‘yes and” to the situation and move with it.
Focus on what’s going well and see how you can amplify it.
Method: Resist the tendency to focus exclusively on what doesn’t work, and focus attention on things that do work.
By persevering you can create new opportunities.
Method: Try to teach your goal in new ways.
Focus on what you want instead of what you don’t want.
Method: Let go of what you don’t want, forget all your conditions. Start at the end and work backwards towards what you do want.
What does the enemy want that you also want?
Method: Look for similarities, highlight common interests. Forget conflicts.
Use the desire of the other and create a new opportunity.
Method: Find out what the other guys desires and use that.
7. Role Reversal
Flip the pattern by reversing roles.
Method: Mirror the other person in any possible way.
Method: Turn a flaw into a strength, turn a wrong into a right, turn a ‘despite’ into a ‘because of’.
Your Small Act that is sure to have a Major Impact is to introduce Flip Thinking into your life or business. Next time you are in a meeting or having a disagreement with a friend, spouse or child, put on your Flip Thinking cap. You will be surprised just how much it expands YOUR world to new ways of thinking.
And maybe, just maybe you will start appreciating new grey hairs.