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Influencing through questions – the RICH model

2015 April 14
by Prosperos World

Happy? It is possible to gather information and to directly influence a situation through effective questioning:

Ask effective questions

  • Open questions – gather information – who, what, which, how, why, when, where?
  • Probing questions – ask for examples
  • Closed questions – get yes/no answers – gain commitment

RICH Model

  • Research – environment; past, present, future, their motivators etc.
  • Issues – examine the problems, challenges, dissatisfactions
  • Consequences – explore the outcomes or impact of the ‘issues’
  • Highlight Benefits – the desirability, usefulness, value of the solution

Listen to the answers

  • Demonstrate concern
  • Active listening
  • Empathic listening
  • Make detailed notes
  • Maintain rapport
  • Demonstrate mutual respect – even when you disagree.

Five fast ways to be a better listener

2015 April 7
by Prosperos World
  1. Bring It Stop talking – do not interrupt
  2. Ignore any distractions you can’t avoid
  3. Concentrate on what the person is saying, rather than what you’d like to say next
  4. Look for the “real” meaning:
    The “How” as well as the “What” people are saying
  5. Provide feedback to the sender.



Can an Escaped Goat open the Panda’s Box?

2015 April 3
by Prosperos World
Feral goat in Aruba

Feral goat may have escaped (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Business has plenty of jargon, some of it is a useful way to communicate complex information quickly between people with a shared industry vocabulary, some of it is rather silly, with buzzwords forced into places where regular English would make far more sense.

The use of buzzwords and phrases is tricky enough, particularly when working in international teams with a limited grasp of English idioms, but when people mangle phrases, misunderstanding what they’ve heard and repeating their versions into new conversations, things can get silly.

Here’s a few favourites we’ve gathered recently:

We’ll burn that bridge when we get to it

A wonderfully destructive approach to business.  This phrase combines the two cliches, the first “cross that bridge when you get to it”, implies that there’s no point in solving a problem that we may encounter later, we first need to work through other obstacles before we get to that “bridge” and then we can work out what to do.  Sensible enough.  The second, “burning your bridges” suggests committing to one course of action, ruling out all others, destroying any hope of retreat.  Burning bridges as you get to them seems likely to trap you where you are.

To the 8th degree

It took a while to work out what this person meant, the conversation wasn’t a mathematical or engineering one, but the person was determined to do something to the 8th degree.  Oddly specific, whilst completely nonsensical.  It turned out that what he meant was “to the nth degree”, an expressing that makes sense, sort of, although maybe not in the marketing context.  The nth degree is used to indicate any required power, usually tending to infinity, so meaning all the way.  The 8th degree in that context isn’t really all that far.

He’s been made an Escaped Goat

This one caused bafflement and amusement in equal measure.  No magic was used to turn this errant administrator into a ruminant.  People had heaped blame onto him, even though he clearly wasn’t the cause of the problems they were facing.  They were making him a scapegoat, rather than escaped goat.  The phrase does have some goat related history, and in Leviticus the goat in question may have had the better deal than the one that was sacrificed, but still, if you must scapegoat someone (and it says a lot about you if you do) then go ahead, but don’t turn them into an escaped goat.

She’s opening the Panda’s Box

This one slipped by unnoticed by most people, but someone new to the organisation asked “What’s the Panda’s Box?”, causing some chuckles.  She’d quite reasonably asked the question, as a newbie, wanting to know what the box was and why it was significant.  Unfortunately, she hadn’t misheard, the person who mentioned the Panda’s Box went on to explain that the Panda’s Box was full of terrible problems you don’t want to think about, she wasn’t sure where the phrase came from, probably an old Chinese proverb.  Pandora’s Box may contain all the evils of the world, but a panda is more likely to keep bamboo shoots in their box.

Bringing People Together

2015 March 10
by Prosperos World

Samsung in Turkey went to some effort to launch their video contact centre for hearing impaired people for 2015.  To promote it they set up a day for Muharrem …

It’s good to feel included.

Turning An Opportunity Into Opportunities That Matter

2015 March 9
by Prosperos World

This young Detroit woman had a great idea to develop a product, and she worked hard on it.  In doing so she learned more than how to develop that opportunity for herself, she created an enterprise that makes a far bigger impact for the end users she had in mind when she set out with her original business idea.



Running A Creativity Session

2015 February 24
Comments Off
by Prosperos World
Blue Sky

Outline Process


Always set up a creative session using focus – with what do we want to end up at the completion of our thinking

There are two approaches to focus:

  1. Purpose Focus – has a specific end purpose
    g. how can we improve something, how can we speed something up etc.
  2. Area Focus – we explore the topic before we judge it
    g. we might look at communication, meetings, safety – with no specific purpose

Once we have defined a focus we can redefine the focus in order to give us a new angle on our problem solving:

e.g. here are several alternate definitions of a parking problem:

  • the car park is too small
  • too many people want to use the car park
  • too many people drive to work
  • people complain about the small car park

Traditional Brainstorm:

Take a focus and brainstorm to pull out all current ideas – no bad ideas, give encouragement

Technique 1 – Random Word:

Use random word to generate further ideas:

Getting the random word – glance at the position of the second hand of a watch.  Take the number, e.g. 32, and select the word the third line down and second noun in from a book or newspaper

Using the random word – take the word and extract an association, function, activity from the word and generate new ideas about the focus


e.g.      Focus              Random Word            Association                  New Idea

Camera           Gun                             Westerns

= sand                         sand proof camera


NB       work individually first and then share output

Things to avoid:

  • Don’t wait for the perfect random word
  • Don’t list all the attributes first
  • Don’t make too many jumps
  • Don’t link your ideas to random output

Technique 2 – Challenge:

Technique 1 will generate a host of ideas

In order to generate broader thinking the challenge technique can be used

Challenge can be introduced at any stage; i.e. this could be the first technique used during a session.

Establish current thinking on the focus – this is achieved using the following five categories:

CATEGORY                          AIRLINE

Dominant ideas                       Make money flying planes with people/cargo on board

Boundaries                              Airports/technology/national agreements etc

Assumptions                           Increasing airline congestion/growth of holidays etc

Essential Factors                    Safety

Avoidance Factors                 Overcapacity/security worries/unused planes etc

Use challenge technique on current thinking:

Why Cut:                  Does this need to be done at all; remove the item and run the thinking forward and see if this cut can be implemented

Why Because:         If you can’t cut the item then challenge the validity of the reasons why it is done that way.  Can you satisfy the focus in another way, or escape the process; i.e. revise the way things are done

Why Alternatives:    Both Why C and Why B will often to lead to the generation of alternative ideas and approaches


Along with Focus this is the weakest part of all creativity sessions

Take all of the ideas generated and put them onto Post It notes

Group the ideas by category (e.g. themes/events/structures etc.) and number each idea according to its category

Position all the ideas onto a capability/impact matrix.

Select the ideas with greatest potential for further screening.

The Importance of Focus in Creativity

2015 February 23
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by Prosperos World

Why Focus Is Important

Creativity gets a bad name because creative thinkers tend to provide good ideas on all

problems except the ones they have actually been asked to think about.  This happens for two reasons:

  1. The idea that simply messing about will hopefully produce a new idea
  2. Focus is insufficiently emphasised

Focus Is One Of Three Creative Disciplines

  1. Discipline of focus: being very clear as to what you are thinking about
  2. Discipline of technique: knowing exactly what you are trying to do at any one moment
  3. Discipline of time: setting time guidelines

Types Of Focus

There are two types of focus to think about in creative terms:

  1. Area focus – “where”
  2. Task focus – “why”

Slow Down, It’s The Weekend

2015 February 6
by Prosperos World

Prince Ea has a point, how about unplugging for the weekend, just to see how it goes?

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