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Monday, March 1, 2010

The Three Laws of Performance: Future-based Language

Law #3: Future-based language transforms how situations occur to people.

a. Allowing the current language to rattle around in your head (because the inner voice often gets stuck in an infinite loop) means that your future with that particular person is written in stone—a destined or “default future.” If the language is negative, your future is most likely a negative one—you may squabble, not trust each other, or worse yet, become distant and removed from each other.

b. Allowing new “generative” language to fill the air changes things dramatically. The question you need to ask the other person is, “do we want this kind of negative relationship?” Most people do not want a contentious relationship—because it’s unhealthy for both parties.

c. Thus a new future could be,“we will work together to make things the BEST they can be.” Then you begin to reshape the conversation, even in your own head, from bad to good.

d. In essence, the game is played in your head, with language serving as a key component. Here are the steps that leaders can take to invent a new future.

i. Settle old differences—clear the decks so there is room to create and to imagine a new future.
ii. Describe the default future you’ll have if you stay on the current course.
iii.Get in agreement that participants don’t want the current default future, but rather a better future.
iv. When disagreement about the new future arises, ask for a counter proposal.
v. Keep working until everyone is aligned to the new future.

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