Skill is something we marvel at. The ability to cook a memorable meal. To dance a salsa like a professional. Creating music out of a guitar with your eyes closed. Roller blading down the street while laughing into the air.
What hides behind all skill is the abiltiy to frame how you are going to do what you magically do. Will you use a big steel pot or a pyrex glass cooking dish? How should I dress to feel alive when I dance a salsa? Does emphasizing the lower notes in a song make the song stronger before playing the lead? What street is most level or most challenging to give me the feel of freedom while rollerblading?
Framing is very important in implementing skills successfully.
Never was this clearer to me than with two recent situations. The first involved guiding a complicated discussion with a group of eight. Knowing the possibility of drifting, talking in circles, and getting nowhere existed, I had to find a way to structure the topics to be discussed so that it was easy for others to focus. It wasn’t until I chose to isolate each topic in separate cells on a spreadsheet while listing options in a different column next to the same row, did it became clear to me how to guide this discussion.
If I had chose to leave everything in paragraph form, the group would have drifted. As it turned out, the structure of the way the information was presented guided us to stop with each point, giving us the opportunity to reflect before speaking. Much was accomplished that night, with credit given to the framing of the discussion beforehand.
The second involves my own personal organization around to do lists. So much to do but little clarity on how to both capture and decide what is important to do. Looking for a digital tool to help, I tried a plethora of amazing software with endless capabilities. Then I stumbled upon one that had a template for the Getting Things Done (GTD) process that David Allen made famous.
Time and again, I listed everything on my to do list on a whiteboard with no understanding as to how to organize it. Figuring out what should be done first. Where do I put what I am waiting for? How would I use this every day? And so on. The presence of this GTD template (through this software and a couple of YouTube videos on how to use it) solved everything in an instant. It became quite clear how to work my to do list. While having the content of my to do list, I now could see a way to organize and process all of my inputs successfully.
Upon reflection, what I now see is that many of the digital platforms would have worked for me. But only if I had the structure or the framing of the process to guide me. The outcomes, realized to completion, could never occur in the settings where there was only white space. None of the other software had templates that addressed my issue. Most talked of their features with no templates. Leaving it to the user to create the systems from scratch to make the platform useful.
I now understand that I needed to frame the approach before the skill of organizing myself could manifest & develop itself successfully. Without the GTD template, I would still be looking for an answer to my personal organization puzzle.
This is why you hear so often that you need to develop processes to handle many different situations. Figuring out the approach and steps to complete something is critical to first do. This gives you the best chance for a much higher probability of sucess. Framing before executing is THE critical piece to achieving greater success.
No matter if its in the kitchen, running errands, leading groups, or organizing yourself – learning to frame the journey before you start will help you immensely in gaining the necessary traction to succeed.