What way could Presidential contender (Mitt Romney) retain a prominent profile while Hurricane Sandy prevailed: using Option Solving?

When Hurricane Sandy struck the east coast at the end of October, it gave incumbent President Obama an undoubted advantage to hold center stage while his contender (Mitt Romney) had to accede to a 4 day plus electioneering moratorium. Romney had to decide with his advisors on his best approach while this moratorium  was in place. Faced with this dilemma, this writer contemplated what option discussions might have occurred among Romney and his team: maybe with him facilitating an option solving session.

After sharing the option solving technique, he would have encouraged the group to develop an appropriate question and related considerations along the lines: What way could Presidential Contender (Mitt Romney) retain a high profile while Hurricane Sandy was raging, considering he couldn’t upstage the President,  act in a partisan manner, have limited resources at his disposal, and his actions would have to project high leadership credibility?” The four considerations were the 50% prioritized out of the group’s likely list of eight.

He would now challenge the group to come-up with two yin and yang “bookends;” to start creating a framework of possibilities. The two that they most likely would come up with were, Stand down all togetherand Appear on every available talk show to display victim support and desire to assist.” Our Latest Example shows why these were “bookends.”

With their comprehensive question and two bookends in place, he would now   prime the group’s intuitions for finding at least five plausible options for Romney and his team to consider. These are shown in our latest example and you will notice one listed as, Visit the White House to offer bi-partisan solutions” – Option B. Once these were in place, Romney’s team was now ready to consider the five options: at which point they were introduced to emotional distancing.

Emotional distancing would enable them to take a 15-20 minute break to discuss other issues while their intuitive minds reflected on the question and options in a subconscious way. You can imagine that such a high powered group would use this interval in a valuable way and then find themselves back in no time at all to make a group confidential choice.

Once back, seated in a semi-circle, the group used “Post its” to hand in their individual, confidential vote by using one of the five letters of the alphabet only. They were charged to quickly recap on the question, bookends and five options and then vote with their best intuitive response. When the vote was tallied, with a partial spread of votes across the five options, they were invited to decide whether they wanted to “Peel the Onion:” that is, go through the exercise as many times as was necessary to formulate an optimum approach to their dilemma: or to figure out “next steps.”  Due to the importance of their strategy, they decided to “Peel the Onion.” They agreed to take an adjournment for a couple of hours and then recommence with “Peeling the Onion.”

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “Peeling the Onion: What way could Presidential contender [Mitt Romney] retain a prominent profile while Hurricane Sandy prevailed?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)

 

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Best way for a senior team to communicate to meet its commitments: using Option Solving?

In a recent client session, we were preparing for a forthcoming meeting that he would chair about how he and his senior team mates would communicate going forward  while meeting their commitments. We naturally started looking at various options, so I couldn’t resist not making it into an option solving exercise. His intention was to present the options to his colleagues to get their input when the time came.

With some due deliberations, we created an optimal question with considerations which looked like this: What is the best way for our senior team to communicate to meet our commitments, considering that all the executives are very busy, concerns over mutual respect, and the best results will only come by working as a team?” The considerations were from a listing of six: that is, we picked out the 50% most important ones.

We now started work on producing two yin and yang “bookends;” to create a framework for future options. They also served as strong prompts for encouraging our intuitions to produce some creative alternatives. Two we came up with were, Communicate on an ad-hoc basisand Talk with each other on a daily basis.” See our latest example as to why these were least likely.

As our intuitions were now primed, we set about finding at least five plausible options to really cause his colleagues to stretch their possibilities. The five options are shown in our latest example: one of which was, Nurture and maintain “good-will” accounts with each other” – Option A. What we meant by “good-will accounts” was a recommended technique for creating good on-going relations with colleagues. Treat them in the same way as you treat your bank accounts: that is, you only have something to draw upon if you put something in. Hence you are regularly investing in colleague relationships because you don’t when you’re going to have to draw upon any of these accounts.

When our option solving picture was ready, showing our five alternatives, we decided to halt there so that my client could share this picture when his team chair moment came. The team could then discuss the options, add to them if possible, participate in some emotional distancing,  and then be in a position to make their best choice. At least he will have their best buy-in from using this approach, which will create a better likelihood for their commitment to make the chosen option work.

If you have an example of your own, please share it with this blogger, through the COMMENTS area.  Thanks Option Solving. (NOTE: Next posting in 2 weeks: “What way could Presidential contender maintain a prominent profile while Hurricane Sandy prevailed?” Let’s have your COMMENTS or go to peter@ileadershipsolutions.com to connect with the blogger.)