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Sunday, 3 October 2010

E + R = O? Event Plus Response Equals Outcome!

Attending the Vistage Speakers Reception at Ashdown Park this week, reminded me of the many tips and ideas which we take away from our speakers, all of which can make a difference to the ways in which we operate.  Sometimes, the change can be dramatic indeed.

One such tip, donated at a recent Vistage session to my group by motivational speaker, consultant and author, Nigel Risner (www.nigelrisner.com) is remarkably simple and quite remarkably effective.

It is a simple equation of E + R = O which means Event plus Response equals Outcome.  So how does it work?

It works on two levels.   If we accept that an event is something that has already happened and consequently can't be changed, and the eventual outcome is perhaps not what we would wish for, then we need to examine how we reacted to the event to generate the outcome.

That is of course "after the event" and can lead to recriminations if things do not go the way we wanted.   It is, of course, possible and indeed necessary to learn from the way in which we responded to the event and that can lead to better understanding and improved reactions in the future.

The other and more positive use of the equation is again to accept the event as one which cannot in itself be changed, and then to decide on what outcome we want.  Having made that decision, we can then adjust our response to generate the desired outcome.  Easy, yes?

No, of course it isn't easy because it requires a moment or two of mature reflection instead of shooting from the hip in an immediate reaction. 

It has been suggested that we need time to reflect on how to respond and that is true in some situations, perhaps in personnel or serious commercial matters, but the equation still stands.  Keep asking the question: "What outcome do I want?".

In other situations, perhaps in personal relations, the time for reflection can be as long as two or three seconds and that is enough to change from being an aggressive reactor to someone who can see his/her way through a situation and come to the right conclusion.

It is no exaggeration to say that in many cases it has entirely changed the way in which I react to circumstances and has allowed me to behave in a more thoughtful and mature way.

Thank you Nigel - I owe you one!

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