Status Quo Bias is the tendency to stick with the status quo even when presented with a better option involving change.
Inertia is real! We all fall victim to it. The lack of motivation to make a change because what you are doing is working fine is natural.
When there isn’t an issue with the way things are working today, you don’t even think about how it could work better.
It takes action to break the status quo. But, first, you must recognize the need to take action.
There are processes in every company or organization that are a victim of status quo bias.
“we’ve always done it that way”
In the agile development methodology, there is a concept called the ‘retrospective’, sometimes called lessons learned. It is a process that serves to look at the activities of the last several weeks (called a sprint) and determine what worked well and what didn’t work well.
At it’s core, the concept is designed to challenge status quo bias.
The question is— within your process, what can be defined as a sprint?
How can you build in a process at the end of each sprint to challenge the status quo?
Ask yourself what worked and what didn't for each sprint. Then look for something that you can do differently to improve the process. At the next sprint, you’ll review again and find out if your change lead to improvement.
We all have a list of goals longer than the amount of time we have to be able to accomplish them. This can be overwhelming and even discouraging.
In this episode, we are going to cover 4 tips that can help you make sense of your goals.
Someday Maybe List
A list of all of the ideas that you have but that you can’t get to immediately.
· Keep one list for work and a separate one for the rest of your life. When you change jobs, the one for your work can just be tossed.
· At least once per year, review the list to remove anything that you’ve already accomplished or that isn’t relevant anymore. In addition, determine if there is anything on the Someday/Maybe List that should be moved to your current projects list.
Get Clear About Your Priorities
Create a North Start List. What are the areas of your life that you must fulfill?
· Family obligations
· Work obligations
· Community obligations
· Personal obligations
Every goal you undertake needs to tie back to your North Start List.
Review Episode 1: North Star List
Understand What Type of Goal it is
“Why” Goals: Goals where you need motivation to keep you moving toward your goal
· Longer term
· Future oriented
For example: I want to lose weight so that I have more energy to play with the grandkids.
“What” Goals: Goals that are more concrete, difficult, or complex
· Detail oriented
· Shorter in duration
· Happening in the near future
For example: I am going to eat 3 vegetables today.
Know When to Give Up
Finding the balance between persistence and knowing when to give up is not easy. Here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to help you determine if you’ve reached the point where it may make sense to give up on a goal:
1. Is it a good use of your time? Given the limited amount of we all have, is this something that you should continue to invest your time in?
2. Is it costing you too much? Money, relationships, or some other opportunity cost. When you got into this goal, did you realize how much it would cost you? If you had know, would you have made the same decision to pursue the goal?
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We all multi-task. It is a vital part of the world we live in. What we need to become better at is learning how to determine when the multi-tasking that we are doing has become unproductive.
Productive multi-tasking is when the completion of two competing tasks don’t require your focus. For example, listening to a podcast while working out. You can do both without detriment to either. Generally, you do not need to focus on the treadmill in order to walk on it. That leaves your focus on the content of the podcast.
Unproductive multi-tasking is when the completion of two different tasks at the same time results in one or both of the tasks suffering. Answering email while on a conference call is an example. When you are focused on answering email, you aren’t listening to the conference call. Both things – reading and listening – require focus.
Examine your multitasking habits. Which ones are not serving you well?
Intuition: the ability to understand something immediately, without the need for conscious reasoning.
In business, it is more standard to rely on analysis than intuition.
Intuition is a skill that can be built. You can learn to adjust your behavior to a set of cues in a manner that is more successful. As a matter of fact, there is even a term for it: Recognition Primed Decision.
A situation generates clues. You recognize a pattern in those clues and activate action scripts that affect the situation.
In order to build your intuition at work. You can improve your intuition by learning this process:
1. Identify the decisions that are part of your job.
· What makes those decisions difficult
· What are common errors
· How does someone with more experience than you make decisions
2. Practice making decisions in context
· Think back to a situation you were in—what were the cues you picked up on and what did you miss?
3. Practice with a co-worker who was in the situation with you to see what they picked up on that you didn’t
4. Analyze your decision steps to identify what you would do differently next time
We’ve all had a failure at work. It is inevitable, so the most productive thing you can do is to have a set of tools to draw from when you are faced with the fall-out, which we will outline here:
Look at the failure as a learning opportunity
Although it doesn’t take the failure away, if you can reframe it in your mind, you can more easily move past it.
What did you learn from this failure that you can benefit from in the future?
Look at what behaviors DID succeed
Identifying what behaviors worked within the failure can help point you to areas of strength.
Understanding the areas where you are strong will help reinforce those behaviors in the future.
Don’t feel like you have to be good at everything
Failure may be an indication that you need to move on to something else. Is this area something you really need to succeed at?
Put the failure into perspective
Think about failures from the past. With hindsight, are they as bad as you thought they were at the time?
Rank the failure from 0 to 100 where 100 is nuclear holocaust.
Remember that other people are caught up in their own lives
Worrying about what others think about your failure is usually a waste of time because other people probably don’t even notice what you’ve done.
Those that do are likely close to you. In that case, project the failure onto them. What you your reaction be if they had been the one who failed?
What can you do to create a positive outcome?
Recognizing the type of worrying you are doing can help you get out of the worry loop by understanding what steps you can take. In this episode, we cover some common types of worry and how you can tackle them:
When you find yourself worried about what someone else is thinking, you are mind reading. To fight this worry, you need to find the thing that you can control.
For example, you think Henry doesn’t like you. You don’t know this for sure because you can’t read Henry’s mind. So, what can you do? You can ask Henry if he doesn’t like you. If you aren’t willing to do that, you can decide that there is nothing you can do to change Henry’s mind and move on with your life.
Focus on what you can control.
When you are worried about what the future might bring, you are fortune telling. There is no way that you can know what the future might bring because you aren’t a fortune teller.
For example, you might worry that your company is going to have layoffs and you are going to lose your job and end up homeless.
Not only do we worry about the future, we usually expect the future to bring the worst possible outcome.
Cognitive Distortion— people have a tendency to worry about a future that is bleak.
Ask yourself how probable the outcome is. Think about the chain of events that would have to be true for the outcome to occur. In our example, first, your company would have to have layoffs. Next, you would have to be on the list of people who are being let go. That means that you have to either be a poor performer, or in a role that is no longer necessary. Then, you’d have to be unable to get another job. And you’d have to run out of money. And you’d have to have nobody else to go to. And, and, and.
Once you see that the probability is a tiny fraction, you can stop worrying about it.
Worry about all of the things that you should have done. This means that you aren’t accepting the present as it currently is.
For example, maybe you catch yourself worrying that you should have been promoted by now.
Recognize reality as the place you have to start from. Then, determine what changes you need to make to get where you want to be.
What action can you take to move yourself toward promotion?
Worrying about ‘What If’ scenarios that will never have a satisfactory answer.
What if I have cancer? You can get tested and still not trust the results.
Identify the best possible, most likely, and worst possible outcomes. Then answer each one. What would be the next steps for each?
For more types of worry, sign up for our newsletter.
Also, learn about productive worry in this episode of People Move Organizations.
Being out of balance causes a situation where you are over-emphasizing the pros and cons of one behavior and under-emphasizing the pros and cons of another behavior.
Analytical vs. Intuitive
If you are too reliant on analysis to make decision, you can get into a state of paralysis where you don’t make decisions or move forward because you will always want more data before making a decision.
If you are too reliant on your gut to make decisions, you might make quick decisions without any facts and find that you fail more often than necessary.
Being analytical isn’t bad and being intuitive isn’t bad—as long as you have balance. The important thing is to understand what your tendency is and to learn techniques to help you balance your tendency. If you are over-analytical, learn to recognize when you’ve gotten to a point of paralysis and force yourself to make a decision. If you tend to go with your gut, set some parameters about a minimum amount of analysis that you’ll accept for yourself before making a decision.
How balanced are you? Rate yourself along these spectrums. Are there any that you need to become more balanced in?
Goals are a unique combination of:
Tactics—what do I need to do to accomplish this goal?
Aspiration— what can I accomplish if I put my mind to it?
Faith— I believe that I can accomplish this goal.
Commitment - I’m going to dedicate part of my resources to making this goal happen.
Setting goals require an ability to balance the need to be realistic while also reaching for something you aren’t quite sure how to get to – something that isn’t within your current comfort zone.
Then, once you’ve set that goal – you need to stop focusing on it. Focusing on the goal – on the end state will not propel you from here to there. Instead, you need to start to identify the steps that you are going to take to get you there. What is the next step you can take to move you toward your goal?
There are also some tools that you can use to help you keep on track:
Learning to recognize unproductive worry will help you eliminate stress that you are manufacturing for reasons you can’t control.
When you find yourself worried about something, ask yourself:
1. Are you worrying about something that doesn’t have an answer?
2. Are you making up a chain of events?
3. Are you looking for the perfect outcome?
4. Do you feel like you overlooked something?
5. Are you trying to control everything?
In this episode, we talk about how to identify unproductive worry and turn it into productive worry by taking a few simple steps.
Have you ever had a bad day, where it seemed like each little thing that happened pushed you further and further toward the edge of the cliff and then eventually – BAM – you were over the edge?
Its happened to all of us. But, what I’ve noticed is that some people reach that edge much more quickly than others. Some people are able to recover much more quickly than others.
Why is that?
I believe that it partially has to do with the amount of reserve the person has.
Here is a simple example:
You have $32 to your name. When the car all of a sudden stops starting and you find out it will cost $500 to fix it, that is a lot of stress. You had no reserve – in this case, of money – to be able to handle the stress.
If, instead, you had $,1000 in the bank and you had the same issue – it may still be stressful, but it doesn’t send you over the edge. You had a bigger reserve, which means that your better able to deal with the stress of the event as well as recover from it.
The idea of reserve doesn’t just apply to money. You also need a reserve of:
Listen to our episode on creating a North Start List
I teach people how to thrive at work. Let's connect on LinkedIn
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