March 19, 2009

Question: what got you here won't get you there

Here's a question I would love to hear some ideas about.

There is a book with a title which goes something like 'what got you here won't get you there'. I have not read the book but the title intrigues me. It sounds logical that what has worked to get you to where you are now is not necessarily the same thing that will work to get you to a higher level. I have seen this happen in coaching conversations. A controller said he was now at a 3 on the scale. What got him there was to slam his fist on the table in the management team meeting and to demand the attention from the other managers. What eventually got him to the level of 7 on the scale was something rather different though (asking questions, encouraging the other members to participate, helping, listening, responding patiently, etc). How does this idea of 'what got you here won't get you there' relate to SF's rule of: find out what works and do more of it? Any ideas about this?

10 comments:

  1. Interesting question.
    I think of it as being trapped on a local peak. You climb, you climb, and you reach the top... but the top is not the highest peak! BTW, I will elaborate on this in Texel, I use the idea of fitness landscapes...
    Anyway, as you teach me, SF is about asking what works... and then there is the second part: doing more of what works, stop doing what is not workiNG AND DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT.
    To me that "doing something different" is very much like jumping away from the local peak and see where you land... maybe in valley, maybe on a hill, maybe on the foothills of the highest peak!
    Just a thought, again more is coming in Texel :)
    Cheers, Paolo

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  2. I think it might be somewhat helpful to think about it as you would about a Role-playing game.
    As you go further into your quest, the character you are playing learns new skills, new spells which are more effective to combat the bigger, tougher monsters down the road. The mechanics remain the same, pay attention to your health status, mana status and amo, hack and slash, cast spells. Strategies for dealing with certain types of monster MIGHT still work, however lower level spells or cheap, level 1 equipment might be insufficient or require too long time.


    A level 50 spell cast on level 1 opponents might obliterate them completely, is just that you have to be a level 50 Mage to be able to cast it.

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  3. Hi Paolo, This seems very right to me. Doing what works isn't mindlessly doing the same trick over and over again. I guess you could say that each time you get inspired by what has worked before you take that solution and then you tailorize to your current (or coming) situation. Doing something different is of course also a very relevant association. This reminds me of how mindful it is we are doing. We are always trying out things, doing little experiments

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  4. Hi Peter, I am really surprised to get such fast answers to my question. Reading your answer I think of the scale. The higher you get, the greater the challenges may be. And the challenges may also be different in different parts of the scale. Gradually, additional solutions (additional to the previous solutions which may remain relevant) may be needed.this reminds me of how relevant it is (when searching for solutions) to search at different positions on the scale (for instance how did you manage to get from 0 to where you are now, but also: when have been higher on the scale, what helped then?)
    It becomes clear how mindful this process of searching for solutions often is

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  5. Albert Einstein said "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it."
    So you have to move to a higher level in order to solve it. Sometimes this changing of levels might require a leap of faith BUT, at least in my opinion, what it requires is a willingness to fail, to try and fail and learn from failures as much as from successes. Adjust as you go along. Adopt motos like "Ultimate failure is failing to fail". :)

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  6. hmm, find out what works and do more of it...
    So also find out what works in another context and see if it works in the situation at hand. Associate into a situation of succes (desired) and discover what the succesful behaviour in this situation is. These associations are probably references to previous expriences of success.
    So, to me it seems that it's a creative process and not a (as Coert puts it) repetition of the same trick.

    Bart

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  7. You know Bart, we are dealing with a multidimensional thing and, because of this, it is possible for both you and Coert to be right.

    It is not only what you do but also how you do it. The attitude you adopt in doing it, the mindset. This way, doing the same thing but with a different mindset, might work.

    I remember a dialog from "Sleepless in Seattle" that goes something like this:


    - What are you going to do?

    - Get out of bed every morning
    and breathe in and out all day.
    And after a while I won't have to
    remind myself to do it.


    Breathing is what works, reminding himself to breathe is the creative part. Or, it might be the other way around. I don't know... :)

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  8. hi coert
    did you read ?
    http://www.marshallgoldsmithlibrary.com/docs/press/WBA_WGYH_pt1.pdf
    and
    http://www.marshallgoldsmithlibrary.com/docs/press/WBA_WGYH_pt2.pdf
    I'm not really convinced, something seems not perfeect:
    1 - it is not SF (for me)
    2 - I'd rather to see in 3 - 6 months what will happen in USA and look if we will agree with some sentences of this interview.
    my impression is that the title intrigues more than what he explain in the interview, probably is better ti read the book.
    this about the book, in any case about the theme I like the sentence of paolo integrated with what we call "to stay in what will happen" more than "in what it is".
    ciao
    riccardo

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  9. Hi Riccardo, thank you for sending this. I have taken a look at it. Although there seem to be a few similarities with SF (not trying to convince anyone as a coach for instance) there are many ways in which this is quite different from an SF text. One thing that struck my in particular is how the author talks from a 'knowing' perspective whereas we usually talk more tentatively. Another thing is how he points out what 'we' are thinking and doing wrong, whereas SF is usually more appreciative and affirmative, looking at the good site of what we are trying to do. So I agree, this seems a lot different.
    To go back to our main theme: I think we need to do two things: 1) be aware of what has worked before for us and be inspired by that in situations in which we can assume that will work again and 2) be aware of the need for trying out new things (do something different) when we reach new areas in which we have little or no experience and keep on paying attention to what works. This way we both keep using what we have and keep on learning and growing

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  10. True, very true; and more what i see is that a lot of companies have lost the ability of play attention to the feedworward of their decisions (the impacts on the future) they only look to the present (if they do); this is what we have to do asap and the SF approaach can be very usefull and the scaling too, in order to measure and monitor the progress.
    ciao riccardo

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