Fear! Risk! Loss! Collapse! Danger! Concern! Alert! Threat!
Just some of the headline words in the papers today. It’s true we are living in an ever-changing world, full of uncertainty – whether that’s extreme weather, travel disruption, changing regulations, environmental concerns or as we are experiencing at the moment particularly – global health concern. So perhaps it is unsurprising that these are the headlines that greet us. And yet what happens to us as human beings when we are pushed into a state of fear is most likely to be a ‘defend and secure’ pattern of behaviour. Going into lockdown to secure and protect what we already have – contraction rather than expansion. And we can start to see the effects of this on ourselves and how we feel, our jobs, organisations and the global economy at large.
But is there a different approach? Is there a way to expand into uncertainty for the benefit of our own growth, security and flourishing as well as for the companies we work with? If so, how can we tap into this? Well for us at 4D Human Being it’s about responding creatively. In our 4D2C (4 dimensions 2 context) model, the environment has a much bigger impact on us than perhaps we are aware and often we allow the world (environment) to ‘happen’ to us. But how can we HAPPEN to the world? How can we create something new, exciting and positive in the face of uncertain and changing world events?
There are many models to use to delve into our business creativity and I’m going to offer three of them:
1. Traditional SWOT analysis
Listing out your existing Strengths and Weaknesses, and looking to the future by brainstorming the Threats and importantly the Opportunities that the market conditions are presenting could present new business streams. Recent GDPR data protection regulations may have felt to many of us as a threat due to additional costs, potentially falling foul of the complex laws etc. However, GDPR regulations opened up a huge opportunity for data protection companies and IT consultants to support and grow their customer base.
Recent floods and climate change fit many of those headlines above and are indeed global threats. However they also represent incredible business opportunities in the field of ‘Climate Adaptation’ – from flood defence systems, to agricultural solutions, to solving wifi connectivity in extreme conditions, the list goes on.
So how can we identify opportunities when we may be stuck in current patterns of working or fearful of the threats?
- People – make sure you have the right people in the room. Introduce new unexpected people into the brainstorm for a new perspective. Ask yourself “what would so-and-so say? Get a new perspective
- Place – Change the environment – take your team somewhere new, maybe a partner site, or a rural location, or even a part of the building you haven’t ever been to. Change your location, change the dynamics, change the thoughts.
- Plot the Strengths, Weaknesses and Threats on your SWOT analysis. How can you then build on the strengths or counter the weaknesses and threats to create something new and exciting?
- Play a game – at 4D we use the wonderful world of improvisation and games to open up ideas, new ways of being and new ways of thinking. As human beings we love to play… So create a game around the business problem – you may be amazed at what your team come up with!
“Same thoughts always lead to the same choices, same choices lead to the same behaviour and the same behaviours lead to same experiences and the same experiences produce the same emotions and these emotions drive the very same thoughts.”
– Joe Dispenza
2. The Obstacle map
What is the problem you face? Where would you like to be? And what is the blocker or obstacle that is stopping you from getting there? Until we set this out in black and white, it can sometimes be challenging to even understand what the problem is – let alone respond creatively! So we find ourselves trying the same solutions or behaviours over and over again, frustrated that things don’t change. Isolate the obstacle and see how you can move through or around it.
4D Tool: Draw three columns and leap the obstacle!
I was speaking with a friend of mine recently who runs a restaurant business – which is likely to be hard hit by current global health concerns as people are going out less. He’s a great cook, runs a great business and loves delighting people with wonderful meals. He felt in a ‘holding pattern’ of waiting, whilst the business started to suffer. Clearly the economic impact of the current global situation may well evolve and change, however when he isolated the business ‘obstacle’ he was able to see that, for now at least, the obstacle was the willingness of the customers to physically locate themselves in a restaurant. So by brainstorming around the specific obstacle a new solution could be found – in this case the solution may be to take the food to them. Something my friend is excited to quickly explore….
3. The What How Why
Simon Sinek’s What How Why Golden Circle model so often helps pull us back to the real core of why we do what we do, which can be incredibly helpful in a crisis.
We can get lost in the What and How we do which can lead to less flexibility in the face of change. Here at 4D we have considered the impact of potentially less large gatherings and less international travel and reflected on the core of why we do what we do.
“Helping leaders, teams and individuals consciously communicate with impact every day”
– 4D Human Being
At 4D we have been working with global companies for many years delivering a wide range of coaching, training courses and seminars centred on impactful communication between human beings. What we are seeing right now is due to global events is an impact on WHAT we do – as we predominantly deliver workshops and seminars around the world. And of course for the time being we are seeing less travel and fewer large events as organisations and individuals take measures to protect themselves and the wider community from the spread of disease.
So, coming back to the WHY we do what we do…4D is about communication, impact, connection, leadership and growth – so starting from there, and with more people working from home we are well placed to help people learn, grow, connect and communicate with impact. It’s just about flexing the HOW. And the online and virtual space is arguably core to our WHY! We need strong connectivity, engaging communication and flexible leadership skills EVEN MORE as we migrate to virtual working.
So if you’d like to discuss high impact, engaging virtual training in communication skills, storytelling, team building, leadership or creativity – to ensure that your teams respond to the world with the best interpersonal tools and techniques – do get in touch with the team at 4D Human Being.