First question: Have you ever played poker?
You play differently when you’re losing than when you are winning, don’t you? That is because there’s more stress when you’re losing.
When the pressure’s on-when the bets are the highest-we tend to play more conservatively. We take fewer chances. To put it differently, we don’t to lose, rather than play to win.
It is human nature. After the pressure is the highest, we focus on what we might lose, rather than what we might gain.
The same dynamics that affect us in the poker table affect your team at work. Professor Heidi Gardner, of the Organization Behavior Unit at Harvard University, found that in high-pressure situations, teams receive a sort of tunnel vision, focusing more and more on the dangers of failure than rewards of success. As a result of this, they fall back on safe, conservative approaches instead of coming up with original solutions.
This is a problem because the safest course is not necessarily the best course.
Now, let us be clear here. There might be times when the safe course is the best course. But how do you know that if you can’t compare it with other choices?
When your team freezes-when they default to safety and stop coming up with these options-then you are all essentially saying,”The status quo is our best-and in fact, only-bet.” And at this point, you’ve psychologically negated any possibility of a breakthrough solution, a solution that could move the situation forward instead of keep it suspended where it is.
So how do you correct this? How can you get your team-with real consequences on the line-to keep generating original solutions? Anderson Wildlife Removal utilizes these strategies.
1. Let them know that choices are valued
Create a culture of”two or more options for each challenge.” Be clear with your staff that just 1 option isn’t an option. Make numerous options a core team worth, and be consistent with it. When your team realizes that there’s an expectation of”two or more options,” they will start to generate those choices.
2. Listen to everyone
Gardner also found that in high-pressure situations, teams tend to defer to the highest-ranking members. But the truth is that good ideas can come from anyone. So rather than simply requesting the senior members what they think, ask everybody. Sometimes the most junior member of the group will see something-a item of information, a relationship, a resource-that everyone else has overlooked.
3. Perform”What if?”
I have written about this before. One easy way to create creative ideas is to play”What if?” For example, ask your staff questions like:
Imagine if we had unlimited time to address this problem?
What if we had to fix this problem with just $100?
Imagine if our competition were confronting this issue and solved it? How would they have done it?
It’s no fun losing at poker. I know. I’ve been there. But-in that and other high-pressure scenarios – there’s a major difference between freezing and feeling helpless… and having choices that could lead to a breakthrough solution.