The Art of Strengths Coaching

C is for The Compass Of Calmness, Clarity, Consistency, Creativity And Concrete Results

There are many ways to live life. One approach is to follow your inner compass. You will, of course, have your own framework for clarifying the guidelines they want to follow.

This article looks at one such framework. It explores how people follow the compass of focusing on calmness, clarity, consistency, creativity and concrete results. Different people use this approach in different situations.

A person may be making a decision, tackling a challenge or dealing with another event. They may be performing creative work, playing a sport, leading a team or doing some other activity. Here are the steps they may take when applying this approach.

Calmness

They stay calm. They may use deep breathing techniques, count to 10 or use another approach. They buy time to reflect and gather information before making key decisions.

Clarity

They clarify ‘What’ they want to do and ‘How’ they want to do it. They ask: “What are the real results I want to achieve? What are the key strategies I can follow to give myself the greatest chance of success?”

Consistency

They follow their chosen strategies and perform superb work. They keep doing the right things in the right way. They always do the basics before adding the brilliance.

Creativity

They anticipate and prevent problems. They do, when necessary, find creative solutions to challenges. They also embody the ethic of constant improvement.

Concrete Results

They deliver the goods. They also sometimes add that touch of class to reach the goals. They do whatever is necessary to achieve the picture of success.

Looking back, can you think of a situation when you went through some of these steps? You may have been making a decision, tackling a challenge, dealing with a crisis or whatever.

Which of these steps did you take? What did you do to stay calm? What did you do to establish clarity? What did you do to achieve concrete results?

If you wish, try tackling the exercises on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a situation in the past when you focused on some of the steps involved in this approach.

Describe the specific things you did to go through these steps.

Describe the specific things that happened as a result of going through these steps.

Different people will use different techniques for following this compass. Let’s explore some of these in more depth.

Calmness

Looking back, can you recall a situation when you stayed calm when faced by a challenge? What did you do then to calm yourself and buy time? How can you follow similar principles when faced by a challenge in the future?

There are many techniques for staying calm. Some sports players, for example, often use the acronym T-CUP that was popularised by the 2003 England rugby team.

Different people interpret the acronym in different ways. Some refer to it as Thinking Clearly Under Pressure. Others use Thinking Correctly Under Pressure.

Why do people use this approach in sports? One view is that, at the top, many athletes are extremely talented. Their performance on the day, however, can be strongly influenced by their mental attitude.

The England rugby players became so used to the approach that, whenever difficulties emerged, they would remind each other: ‘T-CUP.’ This helped them to make good decisions at key moments in matches.

Imagine that you have stayed calm and bought time in a situation. The next step is to clarify your plan for moving forwards.

Clarity

Good decisions makers clarify what is really happening. They aim to see the big picture and look for patterns.

Looking at the situation, they then ask various questions to chart the ways forwards. Here are some of the themes you may explore when considering the possible options for going forwards.

Consistency

Great workers pursue their chosen strategies and deliver consistently good performances. They develop a rhythm of doing the right things in the right way every day.

Such workers make the good habits permanent. They practice, practice and practice. They practice until the habit becomes part of their make up.

They also embody the ethic of constant improvement. Great teams keep asking, for example:

What are we doing well and how can we follow these principles more in the future?  

What can we do better in the future and how? 

Many people follow certain rituals to do consistently good work. Mason Currey describes how some creative people adopt elements of this approach in his book Daily Rituals: How Artists Work.

Here is an excerpt from what Mason says about Maya Angelou. You can discover more via following link.

http://www.masoncurrey.com/

For many years, Angelou worked in hotel of motel rooms, the more anonymous the better. In 1983 she told an interviewer: 

“I keep a hotel room in which I do my work – a tiny, mean room with just a bed, and sometimes, if I can find it, a face basin. I keep a dictionary, a bible, a deck of cards and a bottle of sherry in the room.  

“I try to get there around 7, and I work until 2 in the afternoon. If the work is going badly, I stay until 12.30. If it’s going well, I’ll stay as long as it is going well. It’s lonely, and it’s marvellous.”

Creativity

There are many approaches to problem solving. One approach is to keep your eyes on the goal rather than the obstacles. You can then find creative ways to go around the obstacles to reach the goal.

A lecturer described this model during a session I attended in the early 1970s. He gave the following description.

“There are creative thinkers and conventional thinkers.

“Creative thinkers spend a lot of time clarifying the ‘What’. They then find imaginative ways to reach the goals.

“Conventional thinkers quickly jump to the ‘How’. They spend lots of time analysing obstacles. They can sometimes become dispirited and feel that the problems are impossible to solve.

“Creative thinkers often follow the shape of a heart. They keep their eyes on the prize and think of creative ways forward. They go around obstacles to reach the goal.”

During the 1970s and 80s I worked with many teams that wanted to solve problems. At that time it was common to focus on the obstacles to development.

One team I met had plastered the walls with flip charts headed ‘The Barriers’. People became depressed by looking at these flip charts that itemised the minute details of each problem. Eventually they shifted their focus and found creative ways to achieve the picture of success.

During this time I also got the chance to work with many entrepreneurs. These did not follow the cliché of ‘thinking outside the box’. They did not even recognise there was a box.

Different people have different ways to make creative breakthroughs. Here are some of the techniques they may use.

Concrete Results

Great workers keep following their chosen strategies. They sometimes need to stretch themselves to get over the line but on other occasions they may need to relax. They then aim to flow, focus and finish.

Such workers are good finishers. They find and follow their model for finishing successfully. They ask the following questions.

Looking back, when have I finished something successfully? What did I do right then? What were the principles I followed? How can I follow similar principles to finish this project successfully?

Great workers keep performing superb work. They also sometimes add that touch of class to reach the goals. They do whatever is necessary to achieve the picture of success.

Let’s return to your own life and work. Looking ahead, can you think of a situation when you may want to follow this kind of compass? This could be in your personal or professional life.

Looking ahead to the particular situation, what can you do to stay calm? How can you establish clarity? How can maintain consistency? How can you, if appropriate, find creative solutions to challenges? What can you do to deliver the required concrete results?

If you wish, try tackling the exercises on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe a specific situation in the future when you may want to go through some of the steps in this approach.

Describe the specific things you can do then to go through these steps.

Describe the specific things that may happen as a result of going through these steps.

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