Workplace: Mindsets and Chairs

Colleague Christy recommended 5 Chairs-5 Choices by Louise Evans. Not being familiar with it, I did some digging. TEDX-Milan had her presentation of the concept. I thought “this is probably the whole book” and yet discovered that the self-published book has additional gems, stories, and insights.

Among the things that stood out, my ChoiceMarks for decision making (MOVING OUT OF THE BOX; Stanford University Press) goes hand in hand with Evans’ 5 Chairs. Evan’s model focuses on emotions and the actions we can take once we recognize our own emotions. ChoiceMarks focuses on five mindsets/thinking patterns that influence our own and team decision making.

Here’s another way to compare the two models.

ChoiceMarks                                                                                                                                     5 Chairs

Anti-Survival – I’m letting you know that this will cause harm or death.                    1. Attack Chair

Boxed-in – I’m telling you there are rules we must follow.                                            2. Self-doubt Chair

Neutral – I am neither for this nor against this, unless you persuade me one way.  3. Wait Chair

Engaged Enthusiasm – I want to support you, just have a few more questions.     4. Detect Chair

Extreme Excitement – I am totally committed, I don’t even have to know how      5. Connect Chair

                it will get done.

The correlations are NOT exact. A Boxed-in thinker has no self-doubt, just concern about the path or pathways the team might take to accomplish tasks. An Anti-Survival thinker has good reasons, past experience, or related knowledge that indicates danger is ahead and can come across looking like an attack is underway. When in Engaged Enthusiasm, the questions posed are akin to the Detect Chair’s uncovering of information to learn more. The Connect Chair and the Extreme Excitement mindset are high on emotion; the Connect Chair conveys more empathy and desire to hear others out while the Extreme Excitement position typically wants to railroad others into seeing it their way and getting their ideas implemented.

In the middle of it all, the Neutral mindset and Wait Chair are about pausing, breathing, asking calm questions in order to learn what is going on, and lastly about taken action once information is in hand.

Some of Evans’ quotes:

  • Page 83 “…it is through our feelings that we most deeply connect with one another.”
  • Page 85 “…feelings are the manifestations of what is happening to our needs. When our needs are being met, we experience pleasant feelings and when our needs are not being met we experience unpleasant feelings.” Pages 86 and 87 then present lists of needs and responses that are insightful and bear conversation at work and at home.
  • Page 123 “Are my behaviors serving me well?” – This question reminds me of yoga instructors saying in class “leave on the matt what is no longer serving you. Walk out of class free.”

And the Mental Diet explained in the last chapter reminds me of the No Dumping blog conversation I posted on a while back. The idea in both cases is that we can clean up our thinking, release ourselves from judgment and negativity by guarding our thoughts, and thereby improve our lives.

Which of your behaviors are serving you well?

Which are not? What needs to change?

There is always a choice!

Choices and Mindsets. Time to Explore?   Let’s visit.   Jana Kemp 208-367-1701 

As the author of seven books, three of which are on use of time and decision-making, Jana has been interviewed by U.S., Canadian, and European programs, and magazines.

Workplace – the Blog: Managing the moments of our day-to-day business lives takes work. Together, let’s explore what issues and activities affect us every day (or some days) that we go to work. Together we can find working solutions.

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