#09 Let’s (not) talk about the weather

THE BENEFIT

In challenging times or crises there are often discussions within teams about changes, framework conditions and decisions.
It is noticeable that some of these discussions are constructive, while others are not and a waste of time.
Even in the current situation, there is certainly a lot to talk about: inadequate technology, company policy in dealing with the crisis, childcare, etc.
This hack helps you to direct these discussions to a constructive debate and to contribute to a positive and action-oriented team spirit.

HOW IT’S DONE

With the „Circle of Influence“, which we also call „weather model“, Stephen Covey describes three circles that show our possibilities to influence a situation:

The inner circle represents the area over which we have direct control through our actions. The middle circle is the area we can influence through giving our support. And the outer circle is the area that „happens to us“ or is affecting us. We have neither influence nor control over it, like the weather.

In discussions these levels tend to get mixed up and often we get caught up in whining about the weather. An example: Today you’ve planned a big garden party and are making final preparations. Suddenly it starts bucketing down. Now you can curse about the rain and the messed-up party for hours or you can think about the „weather model“. Ask yourself: „What exactly can I do to fix the situation and save the party?“ For example, set up the three party tents that you store in the basement or place the barbeque underneath the carport. And: „What can I influence to save the party?“ For example, you could contact all guests and ask them to dress accordingly and not to be discouraged.

Use the same approach within your team if you notice that discussions revolve around the „weather“.

PLEASE CONSIDER

Don’t just try to steer the discussion, because then you might be perceived as a know-it-all and people get the impression that you are not taking the problems seriously.

Instead, consciously change to perspective to the meta-level and transparently explain the model by drawing a sketch. Afterwards return to the actual discussion.

By doing so you involve your employees and embed the model in their minds. Ideally this brings someone to say in the later discussions: „Wait a minute, is it possible that we’re talking about the weather?”

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