Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

The Power of As If II

In my post on NLP and the power of using successful outcomes in business, I pulled together some thoughts on the power of acting ‘as if’ and ‘I am’. In relatively simplistic ways I considered the success to be achieved in modelling behaviours and also the impact on image to others.

What really struck me today while I’ve been preparing for a presentation on ‘The Behaviours of Managers and Leaders’ for Madgex‘s ideas and learnings programme was whether I’d missed a bit of my own point….

I wonder whether some of the power also lies in ‘the acting’ part of it. This observation comes from my realisation that my ability to learn and assimilate new information has much improved over the last few months of running nearly weekly presentations and workshops .There is the obvious explanation that if I’m not researching for a subject then I won’t be learning. Therefore in starting to swot-up on areas of interest for the presentations I’m putting more information in front of myself than I have done in the recent past.

I don’t think this is the full story though. The increased learning has come from what I’ve had to do with the information. It’s not been sufficient for me to read and understand/ refresh my knowledge. I have to be able to take that knowledge and understand it in a way that I can articulate it to others and make them understand. I am acting like a lecturer or teacher. In a way I’ve been modelling a way of active learning. If I want to learn something well, and really understand it sufficiently to be able to answer questions, summarise, top-line and go into detail, I have to act ‘as if’ in this way otherwise I will not be successful in my objective of imparting knowledge to others. For them to learn.

So my thought is that if I want to rapidly get a deep understanding of something in the future I should prepare my knowledge in the format of a PowerPoint that I will present to a fictional team.

Similarly to this, I noted today what happens when I have to write a detailed email of instructions to a number of people to prepare them for, or follow-up on face-to-face interaction. I need to communicate in a structured way such things as objectives, strategic fit, accountabilities, responsibilities, time lines and critical paths. Because of this, I end up tying far more things together and noting sets of outlying and underlying activities than I do if I just brainstorm actions or try and write a list of everything required to achieve a project outcome.

Again, it’s because I have to communicate something such that (by definition) it is understood and acted upon exactly as I plan is necessary for my successful outcome. I have to have a better mastery of everything to be able to communicate it. Again, my thought is that to rapidly identify what is crucial in a piece of work I need to do, I should act as if I am giving a team a set of instructions to do it.

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