How to See Opportunities Almost Everywhere

When you feel your team is missing opportunities to deliver more service to your customers because they just don’t see the opportunity, think again.

People often don’t look beyond their frame of reference, particularly when they’re very busy or stressed. These are negative emotions that stop us from learning. When that’s the case, many regular methods don’t work, like:

  • Leading by example
  • Asking them why they didn’t
  • When you want them to be open for new ways to please customers, reframing is the better option. Reframing is a technique to redirect attention from what your team is DOING to the task of identifying interests and invention options to act differently.

    Reframing can be used to shift from a present state of mind to the future, from an operational to a customer service point of view, or from a position to interests.

    When you evaluate their work, pay attention to the initial frame the team members are using. Many issues will be framed as a debate on positions: “I was too busy organizing”, “that’s the job of someone else”, or “I had a deadline and was in a rush”.

    All these statements reveal the position of the person overlooking, and that must change to an interest-based discussion.

    It’s as simple and easy as shifting from “should” to “how to”. Here are three reframing questions that will do the trick:

  • What would your successor do? Too often, experienced co-workers act out of habit. When you ask them about it, you’ll get (thinly) veiled defenses of the status quo and that blocks clear and creative thinking. To get a new perspective, the successor question will help people to look beyond the risk of change that they experience.
  • Would you put your own money into this? This question zooms into the pain points of the current situation. Use those points to uncover the alterations, personnel shifts, training needs and verifications that you want your staff to see.
  • Looking back in 5 years from now, what change would you be celebrating?
  • Reframing will help to unlock potential, but it will take you to refrain from your go-to response.

    Judgmental questions do have their place, but when you want results instead of dossiers, try reframing instead.