One of my 13 mentors is Brian Tracy, who said "In a time of rapid change, standing still is the most dangerous course of action."
Gosh, that is so true - but sometimes so contradictory to our human nature! You've definitely heard of the "fight or flight" reactionary mechanism of our bodies, but there is one more not-often-talked about reaction and I believe we respond this way much more often than we fight or take flight. This is the reaction of "freeze," the third F of change.
Think about it. When the quarantine first started, what did we all do? We froze and we froze when we were told we had to work from home, and again we froze as we watched the violence erupt from the murder of George Floyd. Freezing is natural. Freezing is normal. It is nature's way to slow things down, to consider the situation, and think through our options. Yet, staying frozen is, in Brian's words, "the most dangerous course of action."
So, how can we get through the freeze? How can we consider the situation? What options do we have?
Certainly, there are a lot of strategies that can help us through the freeze, but I believe that if we ask two simple, but powerful, questions deep clarity will come to our minds.
These two questions can improve the quality of every relationship we are in. They can improve every product, every service, every policy. They can help us become a better spouse, a better parent, a better co-worker, a better leader, and a better human. These two magical questions can quickly help us bust through the freeze and get onto a track that matches the rapid pace of change.
Here is the first question:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the quality of our relationship (service, product, actions) during the last week (2 weeks, month, quarter, year)?
You can adjust this any way you'd like, but make sure you are asking for a scaled number between 1 to 10 and that you are specific on what you are asking the other to evaluate. For example, you could ask:
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate the meeting we just had?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate me as your manager?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate our customer service?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate my work from home?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate my inclusiveness?
Now, while this first question is important, the second is even more important. If any answer is less than 10, ask the second question:
What would it take to make it a 10?
This second question really does not need any variation. It's simply an opportunity for the other to give us specific feedback and to paint the vision of what a "10" in their eyes would look like.
Simply knowing that there is an issue, or knowing that someone (spouse, coworker, employee) is dissatisfied is not enough. You've got to figure out in detail what will satisfy them. Look, your kid might not like you at the current moment. Could you imagine what may be able to happen if you simply asked, "Son, on a scale of 1 to 10, how would you rate me as a father? What would it take to make it a 10?"
So, make a resolution today to end every project, every meeting, every interaction with these two powerful questions and you'll never need to worry about what you should do to become unfrozen.