By Tom Shenk
Perhaps you have watched one of those Northwoods competitions where burly lumberjacks chop through a thick log in a matter of seconds. Can you imagine them frenetically chopping away without wood chips flying all over the place?
Now imagine that you are working to solve a personal or business problem that is making you more and more frustrated. No matter how many times you try, the result is always the same. No chips are flying!
Without realizing it, we can become locked into patterns of behavior that just aren’t working, where we aren’t getting the outcomes we want. Have you ever found yourself trapped in a cycle of repeated failure and frustration?
Want to know how you can get out of it? We often share a concept with clients that, if rigorously followed, can dramatically impact personal growth and professional effectiveness, as well as increasing your ability to influence others.
The concept is called See → Do → Get. This is how it works:
Most of us have heard the expression: “If you keep doing what you’re doing, you’ll keep getting what you’re getting.” The layman’s definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome.
As humans, we may do something once and get an outcome that we don’t want. When that happens, what do we do? Often, we continue doing what we were doing, possibly with more energy, and expect a different outcome.
It seems to be part of our nature (learned behavior) as human beings. However, if you are engaged in a behavior that is not getting you what you want, why not try a behavior that will lead to a different outcome? In other words, Do something differently.
Even at a relatively young age, we have already developed ingrained personal habits. Over time, it becomes increasingly difficult to choose a different behavior or to develop a new pattern of behavior. For example, we put our clothes on the same way every day, greet people in the same manner, and have much the same eating habits as we did in our youth. Even our mood swings can become predictable.
So how does change happen? It happens through the development of the See.
Our See is everything we know: our frames of reference, our perspectives, our beliefs, and perceptions; and the sum of what we have learned, experienced, and become.
At one time or another, each of us has chosen to do something differently because we didn’t like the outcome we were getting. Every time it happened, it was the result of a new or expanded See – leaning something new or learning a new way. For example:
- Only smokers who see the long-term effects of tobacco use are able to break free of the habit.
- Parents who go to a parenting class learn new techniques for managing a difficult child, leading to a happier family.
- An executive realizes that his management style is stifling the company’s growth. He may meet with an executive coach, someone who can help him consider new perspectives on handling his work and managing his resources. Once he learns to delegate responsibility, he sees productivity increase.
Change and growth occurs because we allow the “See” part of us to do its work. We don’t want to suggest it’s magic (hard work is involved), but something transformational happens when we put our energy into the exploration of something new.
If you are not getting what you want in any part of your life, have you considered exploring new “Sees”?
- Gather new information.
- Investigate and learn something new.
- Look at something from a completely different viewpoint by asking a trusted advisor or teammate for their thoughts on a subject.
- Imagine the world through someone else’s eyes.
Then the new “Do” will take care of itself and the new and improved “Get” will happen.
Is there an area of your life where a brand new “See” could “Get” you a better, more productive outcome? If you’re feeling challenged by the notion of a new “See,” what’s holding you back and what questions or conversations might empower you to chart a course forward?
SSCA offers executive coaching, leadership development, and culture work.
Read more about how we can help you boost your org’s leadership effectiveness here.