Think like a pro

Learn how to turn problems into opportunities by looking at things anew

Think like a pro

To reframe is to change the terms of reference in a behaviour, information or event. You interpret information differently and view things in a different perspective.

The success of Sochiro Honda, for example, came about when he reframed a problem into a business opportunity. After World War II, cars and petrol were expensive, so the bicycle was a common mode of transport in Japan.

Honda wondered how he could get around faster. His solution: He attached a small motor to his bicycle. A neighbour saw him riding the motorised bicycle and asked for one as well.

Later, against the advice of the Japanese government, Honda began to manufacture cars. To build his brand's reputation in the car market, he entered Honda cars in the prestigious Formula One races.

Honda overcame the many obstacles he faced as he believed that success is borne out of failure. He leaves behind a legacy of more than 470 inventions and 150 patents to his name. According to his famous 4Ps motto, he believed that "persistence propels potential into perfection."

Reframing patterns

To get out of your old way of seeing things, here are some reframing patterns that can change the way you think:

1. Outcome frame

Identify and get agreement on the outcome you want to achieve. What specifically do you want? Do you have the resources to accomplish it?

Obtain feedback from others to seek clarity on your outcome. If there is no clarity, then you have a weak foundation for your decisions and judgment.

2. Evidence frame

It directs attention to a representation of a desired state. Ask yourself: "How will you know when you have it?" and "What will you accept as evidence?" All the tasks and strategies you embark on must be moving towards your outcome.

3. "As if" frame

Project yourself in the future as if you have attained your outcome. Think, feel and act as if you are already successful. What do you see, hear and feel? Reflect on your achievement and ask: "What strategies and steps did I take that led me to my success?"

This opens up possibilities that are restricted by prevailing conditions. Start your conversation with phrases like, "Let's assume that..." or "If this happens..." If a key executive is absent in a meeting, ask yourself what he would say if he were present.

By projecting these scenarios, you visualise the intended outcomes and can work towards achieving them.

4. Agreement frame

Use any points of agreement to lead to a desired outcome. These include "I agree with your goal to become the head of the HR department" or "you should consider working for an MBA to boost your chance of success."

5. Relevancy challenge frame

Keeping your objective in mind allows you to stay on track and challenges unrelated activities. Ask yourself: "How does what I do relate to my target of becoming a sales director?"

6. Backtrack frame

This is helpful for recapitulating and clarifying what had been earlier discussed or to check if there is consensus all around.

For example, if you are running a marathon with your managers as part of a branding exercise, you can ask: "Are we agreed that taking part in the marathon is the right thing for our company image?"

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