The other day, a friend and colleague gave me some feedback on my recent changes to my web. 'It's gotta be easy to understand', was one critique that got my mind spinning. So I did some homework to see what I could improve. As a result of this, "As Simple As 1 - 2 - 3" headline sprung to mind - my application of the classic '3-step' marketing attention-getting method.
"So, Is it?" piped in my need for integrity.
"Well not really!"
But happily, I can actually say it's As Simple As …
And that realization put a wee smile on my face.
That's right. Just one concept you need to master and continuously apply to achieve fulfillment in anything and everything. And this includes the maximization of business performance.
In some Zen Buddhist readings of years ago I came across a parable about an ordinary man who was determined to find the ultimate and simplest way to live a good life. He sought out every guru, every wiseman without success. Until one day he was directed to a unique Buddhist monk who lived in a cave, high up in the Tibetan mountains. So this seeker climbed and climbed. When he finally reached the cave the monk answered simply, "Pay attention! Pay attention! Pay attention!"
That's it. Just one idea, that being to pay attention to everything, everywhere, in every moment. For the modern 'Now-ists' in our world, "Same thing ... right?"
IMHO that is actually a very demanding challenge. So no wonder so few get there. Add that I worry that many of us have been effectively taught to think in dualistic, 2-state, black & white terms. And that this may lead to the judgment "that's impossible", i.e. impossible to be perfect, with the peculiar result of total inaction.
Sure, given our human nature, achieving full perfection in anything is unlikely. But that doesn't mean to me that it's not worth trying.
Stop Doing This
Jim Collins, in his now famous 'Good to Great' book and related research has discovered for us all that 'Stop Doing(s)' lists are much more important than 'To Do(s)' lists when it comes to achieving business success. I guess this holds also for our personal lives. By paying attention as fully and as often as we can, we effectively crowd out what I believe is the most important Stop Doing item - that being 'Moralistic Judgment'.
One Leads to Four
Instead of habitually racing to judgement, Paying Attention helps us to see our external world more like a pure scientific Observation.
Simultaneously, Paying Attention will help us notice our inner world, i.e. our Feelings and emotions, that result from the stimulus provided by the outer world.
Further, when unencumbered by our excessive judgemental habits, we may notice our natural and basic Needs that are indicated and expressed by our current emotional state.
Lastly, when we Paying Attention and hence stop moralizing about events and other people, our final reaction is more likely to be a direct and more efficient attempt - even if just a Request, to do something to fulfill our current basic need or needs, while trying to minimize any interference with any other needs - be they are own needs or that of others.
So now you have it. 1 over-arching Pay Attention concept that can lead to the good life, both in our personal and business lives, which in turn naturally leads to a simple 4-step task set — unless our moralistic judgements gets in the way.
OFNR - A Best Practice
Borrowing from Non-Violent Communications, this OFNR acronym summarizes these four steps as follows:
- O — Observation, ie noticing without judgement,
- F — Feeliings, i.e noticing our automatic internal responses to all worldly stimuli,
- N — Needs, i.e. determining our own arising basic needs that are producing our feelings,
- R — Request, i.e. requesting some specific action from ourselves and/ or others that we believe is likely to fulfill our current need(s).
For me, this is The Foundation of all foundations. It is the best method I've learned in my entire life that can be applied to everything. And I now do it in everything!
The Qualifier and The Reality
Having said that 'I now do it in everything', I must admit that after 7 years of practice in which I can honestly say I've really tried, I still notice that my jackals, my judgementalisms, still get in the way. And the somewhat deflating prognosis by Marshall Rosenberg, developer of NVC and the OFNR 4-step way, is that most of us current adults will never quite replace our jackals in the heat of the moment.
Instead, I've learned its quite OK and still hugely helpful to do this Paying Attention thing, doing OFNR, in an off-line manner. Meaning, I may experience a judgemental reaction today when stuff happens, but I usually come back to it at a later time - sometimes only minutes later (when I'm back at my best), and sometimes much later. Then I do a technical OFNR-based content analysis. These off-line reviews still provide me huge insight each and every time. And most often I then come up with methods (the Request and related follow-on activities) that I think are profoundly more useful than what I was doing or trying to do in real-time, i.e. at the moment when the stuff is happening.
This off-line OFNR approach is even highly effective on events that may be ages old. When consulting, I can now walk into any company and listen to all their old stories on any kind of problem, their stuff - which in a jackal world most often repeats and repeats in a variety of forms; and then quickly determine for them a new set of root causes (i.e. unfilled basic needs) that they hadn't been aware of. And whats really amazing about this OFNR-based Pay Attention method is that once the people in these businesses get what's missing - finally understand and appreciate the importance of these needs as it affects their business, then new and more effective solutions almost immediately come to mind. Not to my mind, necessarily, but to their mind - since, more often then not, everyone know's how to solve their own problems once they understand the basic needs of everyone involved.
1 idea, 4 Steps -- "Easy , right?"
Actually, lets throw out this 'easy' criterion.
Instead I just need to understand if you understand.
Capiche? (Y / N) ...
If you are willing, please select Y or N in the above.
It will take you to a simple form where I request your feedback. .. all optional.
Much thanks to all who take the time to provide some feedback.