Initiative 3 – Actively Challenge Habits of Expectation

By Paul R. Scheele Ph.D. | Transform

In this blog we explore the third of six initiatives that transform individuals and organizations. In it, you will discover the most reliable methods to inquire more deeply and effectively into the dilemmas that face you.

Initiative #3: Encourage the active challenge of prevailing mental models or habits of expectation by offering data that challenges current assumptions and provide opportunities for collaborative inquiry.

Seeing the Dragon That Swallowed You

When we are in the midst of a problem—the disorienting dilemma—it can be difficult to know how we got here. Very simply, our problems exist as the unintended consequences of our previous problem solving approaches. The challenge is to solve the way we solve our problems.

A four step inquiry process helps bring light to the hidden ways we maintain problems in spite of our best attempts to remedy them.

  • Step 1: What you are committed to? Choose an outcome you truly desire to accomplish. Ask yourself, “What is the single most powerful change that I or my team could make to improve this area of the business?”Specify what concrete behaviors are necessary to achieve this goal. Frame them as positive statements.
  • Step 2: What are we doing or not doing that prevents our commitment from being fully realized? Ask yourself “What are the things we consistently do or don’t do that most gets in the way of our goal?” Take stock of the things you and/or the team does instead of the behaviors that would create positive change. Write them down. Define actions rather than feelings.
  • Step 3: Identify your hidden commitments. Fears that hold you back can be discussed here. These can point you to competing commitments which you can list. These are ways that your ego protects you from undesirable outcomes you fear.
  • Step 4: What’s your big assumption? These are the internalized truths we hold about how the world works, how we work, and how others respond to us. These make our competing commitments “real.” Look for assumptions that hold your competing commitment in place. Notice how your assumptions lead to the very behaviors that prevent rather than support your goals.

The four step inquiry can be accomplished in 10 minutes. It will provide insight into how you are operating in ways that maintain the status quo, and more importantly, begin to show productive ways to change for the better.

Action Step

Think of a disorienting dilemma that faces you, your team, or your organization.

Do the inquiry process to encourage a deeper look at it. Your discoveries will make meaningful changes in your perspectives and prepare you for new ways to succeed.

In our next blog post, we will explore the fourth initiative to transform individuals and organizations, bringing voice to your new perspectives.

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© Paul R. Scheele, Ph.D. | Scheele Learning Systems | All Rights Reserved