Flip dilemmas to see abundance

by | Jan 6, 2014 | Blog | 0 comments

baskets of plentyDilemmas have replaced problems in our VUCA (volatile, uncertainty, complex and ambiguous) world. Disruptive change is everywhere we turn, and it’s accelerating exponentially.

By their very nature, dilemmas are insolvable.

Consider the global economy, world peace, and closer to home, work-life balance.

What’s a leader to do?

Flip dilemmas around and find the hidden opportunities.

That’s the advice of futurist Bob Johansen PhD advocated in his provocative book, Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World. “Dilemma flipping,” which involves turning dilemmas into advantages and opportunities, is new skill #3.

Jennie Wong, Ph.D., founder of the social media website CartCentric.com, author of the e-book Ask the Mompreneur, and syndicated business writer, gets my hat tip for being a dilemma flipper extraordinaire.

In her December 3 column, Forget everything you know about work-life balance,” she suggested that we stop thinking about the balance in work-life balance.

In fact, Jennie says to throw away the scale on which “work” and “life” precariously balance.

Now, replace that with two “work-life abundance” gift baskets, “both overflowing with good things, including learning, serving others, positive relationships and good health.”

Isn’t that a wonderful image as well as a much more enticing way to live and work?

By viewing work-life balance from another perspective—that is, resetting her mind and reframing the situation—Jennie has changed the way to think about this important topic.

In a sense, she’s permitting us to stop thinking about our personal and professional lives as a 64-ounce bottle into which we must cram everything and screw on a lid. Instead, we can view the contents of our lives as a fluid that can flow between containers as we see fit. That’s more appealing, inspiring and empowering.

Thank you, Jennie, for creating the “work-life abundance phrase” and showing dilemma flipping in action.

(In the interest of full disclosure, Jennie and I worked together at the consulting firm Mercer.)

By the way, to learn more about dilemma flipping, including how to do it, read Leaders Make the Future: Ten New Leadership Skills for an Uncertain World.

Keep in mind that you can benefit from reframing in all sorts of situations, not just dilemmas and problems. When you make a point to view a situation that’s potentially troubling you from another perspective, you can get a fresh perspective. That often gives you clarity, opens up more options and improves the emotional impact on you.

How are you planning to relook at things in this New Year to make it easier to move your blue-sky strategies into greener-pasture actions?   


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