Coaching Icon copyWe were working with a team recently, helping them to find clarity about their team purpose and team vision. Most teams love this stage, when they can paint the picture of a compelling future.

But for this team, something was wrong. They just kept coming up with reasons why they couldn’t do anything differently. What was going on?

We stopped, took a step back and let the team talk about it. After some expressions of frustration, they realised that they had taken on a mind-set that said: ‘We can’t do anything to change our situation.’ This was the turning point. They recognised they were at “effect” and not at “cause”.

To be ‘at effect’ is to experience situations as though they just happen to us and to have no choice in how we respond. We’ve all been there. In this state, we believe there is no alternative and the situation is frustrating and hopeless.

The alternative is to be at ‘at cause’ and experience our work and life as if we have choice about what happens, or have choice about what to do in response to what happens. This is such a different mindset – to believe we are responsible for creating our own reality. It can be both liberating and fun to step in to this mind-set and to see the possibilities.

So do you want or need to make a change?

  1.  Firstly become aware. Where are we or am I – at effect or at cause in this situation? Answer the question intuitively and explore your own or the teams thinking and feelings. This could be a question for a team to ask at every team meeting to encourage and maintain being at “cause” and acting powerfully.
  2. If at effect, ask ‘Where do I/ want to be instead? What will happen if we continue where we are?
  3. We always have choices. What are the choices we have? Brainstorm some ideas as wacky as you like.
  4. Identify the ideas as a team or for yourself that motivate you
  5. Investigate these ideas and turn them into the actions that you believe will most effectively change the situation.

Back to the team….they finished on a high, confident about an exciting future and fully at “cause”. The mind-set shift was palpable. Last week, we received an email from the team and they are acting effectively and powerfully, and having a positive effect. Exciting!