Friday 23 January 2015

Procurement Relationships - Standing in their shoes

PS: A more recent post written on this process can be found here - it provides more of an explanation of what to expect from using the process. that said, if you're wanting to use the process yourself the script below is very helpful.

All week we've been exploring different ways of obtaining insight into procurement's relationships with its internal stakeholders. We've looked at raising their awareness about what procurement is, and also applied tools such as Frameworks for Change, The Creative Whack Pack or Oblique Strategies to obtain further insight.
Another really useful NLP technique is 'standing in their shoes' also known as 'perceptual positions' or the 'meta mirror'. As the name suggests it involves hypothetically standing in the other person's shoes and, based on the insight gained from doing that, providing yourself with advice on what you might want to do differently to improve the current situation. Working on the premise if what you're doing is working you don't need to do anything differently but if it's not then any suggestions are more than welcome.
The process is as follows: 
Find some space - enough for you to stand in each of the four positions as shown below.
Identify a relationship with someone you would like some insight on.

If someone can read the following to you even better - otherwise read it a few times so you're comfortable with the process and then have a go for yourself.

1.  Pick a spot (1st position) and decide where to imagine the other person, with whom you wish to improve your relationship, is standing/or sitting (2nd position).
2.  Stand in this 1st position ‘looking’ at the other person (yes in your imagination - but please trust me, go with it and just wait and see what enfolds). 

Fully associate yourself into the situation ie role play an imaginary conversation with them and notice what you are experiencing. What are you thinking?  How are you communicating? What words and tone are you using? How are you feeling emotionally? Do you feel the emotion anywhere in your body - ie do you notice anything in your shoulders, hands, stomach, face, chest etc?  

3. Move to the spot where you imagined the other person to be standing (2nd position) and, in
whatever way is best for you, associate into them ie imagine looking back at yourself in position 1.

As this other person looking back at you fully associate into the situation and notice what you are experiencing. What are you thinking? How are you communicating? What words and tone are you using? How are you feeling emotionally? Do you feel the emotion anywhere in your body - ie do you notice anything in your shoulders, hands, stomach, face, chest etc? How are you feeling about the other person - what is your reaction to their words, tone, actions etc.

4.  Step into a neutral/disassociated position (3rd position) from where you can observe both the 1st and 2nd positions. 

What do you observe? What insights do you gain about the relationship? What advice would you give you in that 1st position?

5.  Step into a even more disassociated 4th position - just like being a fly on the wall. One where you
can make a quick assessment of the feelings associated with the 1st and 2nd positions and noticing the advice given by the 3rd position.

Do you have any further advice to give you in that first position?

6.  Using the insights and advice given in the earlier steps now associate fully again into the 1st position. How is the situation different?

7.  Briefly associate again into the 2nd position and observe the new you in the 1st position. Notice what’s different?

8. Return to 1st position.

Yes it might feel odd, and it's not something you do everyday. However if you've tried different things
to resolve a problem, and failed to open the door to effective communication with someone, then this
process can undoubtedly provide more insight to what's going on. And what changes you might be
able to make to improve matters - even if it is just you feeling better. 

I've done this myself, and with others, 100's of times and insight happens at different times. 

Sometimes in position 1 the 1st time, sometimes not until you're standing as the other person the 2nd 
time. It never fails to amaze me how, when and where the insight appears.

If you've not tried this yet please do try it and see for yourself what insights it can provide to get a relationship you're struggling with from where it is into a better place.

If you wanted to take this to the next level you could ask someone else to represent you and go through all the positions. Provide a brief overview of the situation and then observe what you observe, and let them feedback at the end any additional insights they may have obtained. This version is aligned with something called family constellations.

Over the weekend the blog will share more on a couple of tools I use in my personal coaching sessions. I would love for you to join me as we further explore improving our relationships with others - whether business or personal.

Alison Smith
Inspiring Change inside and out - when what you're doing isn't working

I realise on reading it this morning that an example might be useful - so here's one to give you a sense
of the possible:-

2. (as myself) I feel angry and hurt and all the bodily sensations that go with that and a desire for the other person to pay for what they did!
3. (as the other person) I wish I could say something that would help but I can't undo what I've done (yes I know it's not what they're really thinking but we only have our ability to stand in their shoes to provide additional information - so it's better than nothing and better than feeling like we are currently) 
4. (as the observer) let it go Alison
5. (as the fly on the wall) yep let it go (in this instance nothing new from 4 - but sometimes it will be the point at which the ah-ha comes)
6. (as me again following advice) I feel better but have lingering doubt that I've let them off the hook
7. (as the other person again) I still did what I did and still feel bad about how I did it - I'm just glad Alison has let it go
8. (as me again) I feel better and know they still have to live with what they did. Me being angry about it didn't change that and realising it has made a significant difference in my life.

A great real life example of how the biggest ah-ha didn't come for me until step 7. Sometimes the
insight will be as soon as when you step into 2, or even step into 3 and are at the receiving end of

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