In July 2007, I posted a podcast entitled Proactive versus Reactive where I presented a simplified version of the Ladder of Inference – a model created by Chris Argyris. Okay, maybe even oversimplified is my presentation (but I need ‘simple’ to actually put things into practice).
Sheri and I worked together providing coaching and training to a large I.T. audience back in the beginning years of this 21st Century. We would leave a meeting and walk down those long corridors together. We would be debriefing those most recent occurrences and Sheri would suddenly look at me and say, “I’m scripting aren’t I?”
We both did it. And it was great to have an accountability partner to learn how to control it – the scripting that is. That is what I learned to call those negative stories I found myself writing after something had occurred that caused my emotions to bubble up, or even boil over. Below is the natural flow:
Facts – Feelings – Script – Action
Something happens – a simple fact. This factual occurrence makes you feel something. You then begin to write a script. And if you are not careful, you will make decisions about action based on your feelings represented in the script. Many times, this simply proves not to be the best course of action.
The better course seems to come when we make decisions of action based on the facts – not our feelings.
I will never tell you to ignore your feelings. As a matter of fact, you should acknowledge and honor them. Leaders listen to their feelings – and then they go back to the facts – what they really know – and stay there as they think through any action that they may take. It’s a balancing act that every leader has to learn.