Tip #861: How to Prepare for the Unexpected

“It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near one.” J.R.R. Tolkien

In “Mind Games that Can Make You a Better Boss,” Wally Bock identifies three ways to think that can help anyone be more effective in a VUCA world. What If?, If/Then, and WOOP are three excellent approaches to scenario planning.

Play “What If?” to anticipate the unexpected. You identify what can possibly happen and then think about how you might handle it. Bock mentions that he has “seen people in high-risk occupations from police, fire, and military use this to prepare their mind for what otherwise might surprise them.”

Play “If/Then” to think about possible responses. You identify a situation or something that could occur and then figure out how to respond. This can also be termed When/Then.

Play “WOOP” to anticipate obstacles and decide how you will respond. WOOP stands for Wish, Outcome, Obstacle, Plan.

To use WOOP, you first identify your Wish and then describe what the Outcome will look, feel or sound like when you achieve your goal. Next, you do a reality check to identify what Obstacle will stand in the way of you achieving your goal. Finally, you Plan how you might overcome that obstacle. You will either discover that you can’t overcome the obstacle or come up with an If/Then plan for dealing with it.

Bock suggests that these are great mind games to play with a team to generate more options and to help members sharpen their thinking.

Have you used these mind games- and, if so, how helpful were they?

May your learning be sweet- and safe.


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