Tuesday Tip: Jumping to Conclusions


Here’s a tip to help avoid jumping to conclusions from “The Ladder of Inference Avoiding ‘Jumping to Conclusions‘ ” as posted on mindtools.com:


The Ladder of Inference describes the thinking process that we go through, usually without realizing it, to get from a fact to a decision or action. The thinking stages can be seen as rungs on a ladder and are shown in Figure 1.



Starting at the bottom of the ladder, we have reality and facts. From there, we:

  • Experience these selectively based on our beliefs and prior experience.
  • Interpret what they mean.
  • Apply our existing assumptions, sometimes without considering them.
  • Draw conclusions based on the interpreted facts and our assumptions.
  • Develop beliefs based on these conclusions.
  • Take actions that seem “right” because they are based on what we believe.

This can create a vicious circle. Our beliefs have a big effect on how we select from reality, and can lead us to ignore the true facts altogether. Soon we are literally jumping to conclusions – by missing facts and skipping steps in the reasoning process.

By using the Ladder of Inference, you can learn to get back to the facts and use your beliefs and experiences to positive effect, rather than allowing them to narrow your field of judgment.


Tuesday Tip: Mission Focused Leadership


Here’s a helpful perspective on 21st Century leadership from “True North Groups: Helping Leaders Find Their Way” by Bill George as posted on the American Management Association website:


“The leadership failures of the past decade have triggered a fundamental rethinking of both leadership and leadership development. The hierarchical model so prevalent in the 20th century no longer motivates people, particularly the younger generations.

Today’s most successful leaders focus on sustaining superior performance by aligning people around mission and values and empowering leaders at all levels, while serving customers and collaborating throughout the organization. Top-down leaders may achieve near-term results, but only authentic leaders can galvanize the entire organization to sustain long-term performance…”



Tuesday Tip: Interrupt the Anger Cycle


Here’s strategy #4 from the article “Anger Management: Williams’ 12 Strategies for Controlling Aggression” as posted on Mindtools.com:


4. Interrupt the Anger Cycle


When you start to feel angry, try the following techniques:

  • Yell “Stop!” loudly in your thoughts. This can interrupt the anger cycle.
  • Use physical relaxation techniques like deep breathing or centering.
  • Count to 20 before you respond.
  • Manage your negative thoughts with imagery and positive thinking.
  • Close your office door or find a quiet space, and meditate for five minutes.
  • Distract yourself from your anger – visit your favorite website, play a song that you like, daydream about a hobby that you enjoy, or take a walk.

Another approach is to consider the facts of the situation, so that you can talk yourself out of being angry.

To use this strategy, look at what you can observe about the person or situation, not what you’re inferring about someone’s motivations or intentions. Does this situation deserve your attention? And is your anger justified here?

When you look only at the facts, you’ll likely determine that it’s unproductive to respond with anger.



Tuesday Tip: Accountability & Trust


Here’s key #2 from “6 Keys to Becoming a Trusted Leader,” by Henry Browning as posted on Forbes.com:


“When…the leadership team is both trusted and trusting, others in the organization know where they stand. They have greater confidence in their ability to do the work and in the people they work with. It’s not frightening to take ownership and initiative… There are also specific steps you can take to earn a personal reputation for being a trusted, accountable leader:”


2. Don’t accept denial, blaming, excuses and scapegoating. When things don’t go right, beware the “victim mindset.”

First, set a good example and avoid denial, blaming, excuses and scapegoating. Second, help others to see that these are not useful responses to mistakes or missteps. Third, listen carefully. Work to understand the system’s role before over-reacting to one person’s behavior.



Tuesday Tip: “Boundaries”


Here’s a tip on dealing with boundaries when it comes to teams as outlined in the article “When Teams Can’t Decide” by Bob Frisch (from the book: “Building Better Teams“)


 Test Fences & Walls

“When teams are invited to think about options, they almost immediately focus on what they can’t do- especially at the divisional level, where they may feel hemmed in by corporate policies, real or imagined. Often the entire team not only assumes that a constraint is real but also shies away when the discussion comes anywhere near it.

When team members cite a presumed boundary, my colleagues and I encourage them to ask whether it’s a wall, which can’t be moved, or a fence, which can.”