This is the second of ten blog articles around concepts that have had a significant on me as a manager, leaders, coach and facilitator.
“Stop, Challenge and Choose” is a powerful concept that I learnt back in 1994, when working with a client to deliver an 18,000 person training programme in 18 months. The programme was based around the work developed by Larry and Hersch Wilson in their Pecos River days and was codified in their excellent book “Play to Win!”.
Stop, challenge, choose is an excellent tool to help us develop a broader range of approaches to dealing with difficult issues or situations. In essence stop, chance, choose is stopping us making automatic decisions that then allows us to think more productively.
A critical element of “Stop, Challenge and Choose” is recognising when to use it. In reality this is quite simple. We should be thinking “Stop, Challenge and Choose” every time we are confronted with something that initially makes us feel different from our usual positive or neutral selves.
STOP: The role of stop is to intervene our thinking. Stop, should help us to not react or act. During the stop stage we need to breathe and centre, become emotionally calm and stable. It is also the moment for us to enable and increase our observation skills and thinking skills. From a self coaching perspective we should be asking ourselves:
- What is going on right now?
- What is the big picture?
- Have I felt this way before?
- How was I feeling before all of this happened?
You can think of these questions as being a neutral helicopter view or outside in perspective of what’s happening with you. Almost as if you were standing next to yourself, observing yourself quietly. It’s difficult to do this observation, if however, we relax by breathing calmly and centering it becomes easier.
CHALLENGE: Challenge is simply about checking out our own thinking and our own interpretation of the event that is impacting us. It’s effectively holding up a mirror to ourselves and thinking about what we are currently thinking. Three crucial questions to ask ourselves in this moment on the following.
- What am I telling myself, making up, or believing that is causing my feelings?
- What are the objective data that support or negate my interpretation?
- Is there more than one interpretation of the event?
CHOOSE: Finally choose is about making a decision based on a broader range of choices available and making the most optimal response based on the objective reality and what is in ourbest interests. Questions to consider here are:
- Based on all of the information I have and I have examined, what is in my best long term interests?
- Which choice is going to provide the biggest benefit in the short, medium and long term?
- What works for everyone involved in this situation?
- What do I truly want?
“Stop, Challenge and Choose” is a simple but powerful process that is well grounded in cognitive psychology. It helps usmove away from the primitive, reactive patterns, of fight or flight. Whether it’s responding to a nasty email, a ranting customer or simply a rude person, it gives you the opportunity to make better choices than we might consider automatically.
In short, the goal of “Stop, Challenge and Choose” is to keep us from simply reacting to events and becoming more powerful and overall more emotionally mature.
Like all blog articles on tools, concepts or models, I would like you to consider how you can apply this into your daily life. Here are some questions for you to consider and reflect on the next few days:
- What was the last significant that “Stop, Challenge and Choose” would have helped you in?
- Who do you know that is close to you, in, or out fo work that should learn and apply this concept?
- What might stop you using it and how can you remove this barrier to use?
As always, if you have got more tips or tricks, questions or comments about this concept, please feel free to leave a note below.
Thanks for reading this and keep focused and productive and STOP CHALLENGE CHOOSE