To a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
You’ve heard it before.
In today’s post, however, I’d like to put a little twist on this statement. At work, if you’re tired, stressed, or rushed, every problem looks like it needs the kind of solution you are most trained to deliver.
So if you’re an HR person, organizational problems tend to look like they need an HR solution.
If you’re a project manager, a project management process will seem like the solution to a challenge.
If you’re an analyst, looking into the data will feel like the right place to start.
You get the point.
We default to what we know (and know very well) when stressed. We, perhaps instinctively, seek out our strengths and look to apply them to the challenges we face. The simple examples above don’t tell the whole story, but they hint at a way to get around the bias that prevents us from adopting more diverse (and effective) approaches.
To get around our gut instinct, we have to engineer a “time out”.
We have to find a way to “pause, then respond.”
Doing so will allow us to bring the full measure of our mental capacity, and get us out of fight or flight mode. When we make time to stop and THINK, we come up with solutions that expand beyond our immediate reactions and our immediate expertise.
We get to diversity of thought, diversity of approach, and diversity of response.
We bring other experts to the table, who have their own applicable strengths and experiences, and we give ourselves a chance to make the most of them.
I’m not telling you anything new.
How many times have you “slept on it”, or gone for a walk and returned with a fresh perspective? How many times have you exclaimed that you “JUST NEED A MINUTE TO THINK!”, and when you finally get that “minute”, things become a bit clearer?
It’s not groundbreaking; it’s a choice!
And it’s ours to make.