Sticky Notes of Thoughts

…because some thoughts are worth remembering

On Not Accepting the Premise


It’s easy to get sucked into a zero-sum game, where there has to be a winner and a loser. It’s easy to get sucked into I am right and you are wrong. When that happens, it’s usually because we buy into the premise that we are given.

I tried to explain to my staff about the benefits of pivoting when we get asked questions that if answered directly, will trap us into taking the road we didn’t want to explore in the first place. They understood that it is a better strategy to not accept the premise, but how does one pivot away from it?

I dug up a clip from the movie, Thank you for Smoking, about a tobacco industry lobbyist. He struggles to explain what he does for a living to his son. In this scene, he illustrates how he wins his arguments by not engaging in the original premise put forth before him, by discussing which is the better flavor, vanilla or chocolate?

Even when you understand what pivoting means, it’s still difficult to pivot on the spot because you have to have a meta knowledge of what’s going on in the conversation. For that, you have to be self-confident and mindful, perhaps something a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream can accomplish.

Photo: Ted Drewes Frozen Custard in St. Louis where you can get a “concrete” (so thick the spoon and the ice cream remains stuck even when they present you the cup upside down), a must stop when you are doing the Historic Route 66 drive.

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This entry was posted on July 3, 2015 by in Management and tagged , , .
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