I had the immense pleasure of attending a barbecue thrown by someone I met at Trader Joes.
I was shopping in Trader Joes when out of the blue I hear someone say “Hey that’s a really cool jacket”. I turned around and saw a tall smiling man walking toward me. It was awesome!
We talked for a while, and I got the sense that he was a genuinely kind and awesome dude. I spoke with him almost every time I went in after that. I found out he was a singer who had auditioned and made it on the show the Voice. Later on he invited me to a BBQ I wasn’t even sure I was going to make it to. I’m glad I did because I got to experience his incredible voice. Check out the video, he starts singing about 5 minutes in.
Project 1 from the altMBA
Project 1 gave us a chance to work together as a team to explain a good decision making process by understanding:
All of these are very important when it comes to making a decision.
This is how I chose to explain framing:
“Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth. Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”
As you read these words, your mind is busily processing each word into something that has meaning to you. If I didn’t bring it up, you most likely wouldn’t be considering the miracle that the electrical pulses in my head were converted into words, sent to my fingertips, converted into electrical signals sent to the computer through an infinitely complex set of protocols and mediums, then re-converted again to text and mapped out onto the millions of tiny lights on your monitor. You may also feel compelled to read this post for one reason or another, and right now I’d like to ask you to consider moving on to the next post, or thing you have as an option in front of you. By choosing something other than what you see as your “current activity”, especially if it is something really ludicrous you have effectively destroyed your frame.
The frame is a helpful tool for recognizing the subconscious assumptions you make about every single aspect of your life. By recognizing the frame, you are shedding light on line that all opportunity stands behind, gazing longingly in at the fluff lucky enough to make it into the limelight. That fluff is inside of your frame for one simple reason. You want it there. It is the thing or things that resonated with your emotions causing you to quickly form the assumption that it deserves your attention. It is the fluff that makes a decision difficult. It is time to wake up to the reality. Outside of the small canvas of options you have painted within the frame of your decision, lies a gallery rife with even better options that weren’t even allowed onto your paint brush. Destroy your frame. Tear it off of the wall and embrace the world of possibilities that lie in front of you. Unplug from the Matrix you’ve created for yourself and see what’s really available for you. Time is of the essence, so now that you’ve emerged on the other side, take a deep breath. Let’s make a decision.
It starts with the change agent. A problem that needs solving.
A person came into a computer shop I worked at and asked the question: “Should I buy a Mac? I hear they are a lot easier to use and my PC has been running so slow.” What is this person’s problem? What change agent caused them to start a decision process in the first place?
That is when the Apple elitist in me screams: “Duh, they’re on a freaking PC, of course it’s slow and frustrating!”. Ladies and Gentleman I present in all of its narrow minded glory, a frame. You may not see the danger, but imagine me giving that person information based on what my frame of their problem says the obvious choice is. It’s just plain foolish to set one option on a scale without a counter option to balance it out and come to a reasonable, educated decision. It’s time to destroy the frame and rebuild it around options that matter. Here is how we do it:
Ask off the wall questions-
How educated is she when it comes to PC? How long has she had her PC? Could she do more of the things that she finds frustrating on the PC in a more familiar environment? Does she have any friends that she can borrow a Mac from to ensure that she isn’t switching to something that will have a learning curve? How do they like living in Colorado? What is their favorite television show?What is the price difference between a low end Mac and a high end PC? You get the picture. Make cases for both sides of the argument. Pose as many questions as possible and don’t be afraid of the questions that don’t seem to have any relation to the problem.
Trash the options your frame dealt you-
In most cases while confronting a decision, our frame usually submits a few ideas for consideration. Throw them out of the equation all together. This leaves you with one problem and zero solutions. Innovate. If that option wasn’t available how then could we solve the problem. Switching to Mac isn’t an option, and this person desperately needs to feel less frustrated when using a PC. What about switching to Linux? Or not using a computer at all? It seems that innovation is usually brought into existence because it is demanded. Demand innovation. Paint the frame, then the gallery, then demolish the gallery, and force yourself to migrate your art onto the hull of a spaceship.
Consider the opportunity cost-
If one of their options is to spend a minimum of $700 on a Mac, could that money be used to solve the problem using a different option? What is the opportunity cost of all of your options. What opportunity are you giving up to make the current option you are considering?
Now assess the options. Borrow Mac from a friend and evaluate it for 10 day’s. Become more familiar with working in a PC environment(unfortunately this does mean learning a thing or two about basic maintenance). Start working through options to ease into the decision. Try the cheapest options first and consider setting a timeline that tells you when you will take the plunge.
Now build a new frame, the proper frame your new set of options deserve.Start to strategically migrate the options that seem least likely to solve the original problem to the outside, and sit back and appreciate the different features of each option you now have in front of you.
Left with a handful of reasonable options, including ones that you may have never considered, it is time to decide.
Framing is usually done without unconsciously, which means it relies on our deeper self, and does not provide a platform for our better options to breathe. We must destroy that frame and rebuild it around a set of options that includes the options that fell into the crowd of ideas that got instantly shoved aside when the problem presented itself.
Ask any question that pops into your head to try and get some off the wall ideas and solutions for handling the problem.
Take the obvious solution out of the picture all together and ask a new question such as: “ If solution x can’t happen, what can I do instead to solve problem y?”
Consider the opportunity cost: “What value would one decision give that another one wouldn’t?”
BONUS: How does this apply to the educational system?
Frame: Students must be tested and graded in order to ensure that they are learning, and that our teachers are doing their jobs.
What problem is this solving? We don’t know if kids are learning, and if the teacher is doing their job.
Off the wall questions-
Who is the educational system for, the kids or the administrative board?
Why are schools all inside?
Why does every kid need to go to school?
What are they really getting from it?
What does the grading system measure?
Who benefits most from the grading system?
Remove the current solution all together-
In a school with no grading system how would teachers know that their students understand the material?
Give smaller tests on each subject and find out where kids are struggling and frame their concepts differently so they might have a better chance to understand the material.
Allow kids to work at their own pace and put more emphasis on challenging them to try new things.
What could the money that goes into testing and grading be used for?
It is estimated that 1.7 billion dollars is spent on testing every year which could easily be used to implement better programs that support learning.
By not grading, the teachers have more time to spend working with kids ensuring that they don’t need help understanding the various concepts.
To read more about this issue be sure to check out my friend Seth’s post.
About this project: This is post 2/5 on Project 1 of altMBA. It was created by the Yolk Cohort, section 1D. There were 5 people in this section who each created one of the following posts:
Wow! It’s been awesome to hear all of the great feedback! I think that one of the most common critiques was on the weakness of the article towards the end. I think that there are three ways to approach an issue of lack luster content.
1. When you start to feel like the content you are producing is weak and not enjoyable to write, scrap it and move on to something that is.
2.Read each sentence carefully to find out which sentence is the most boring, then ditch those select sentences.
3.Re-read the paper as Ryon mentioned and come up with an idea of how it sounds.
I’ve also concluded that the bonus section could either be done away with, setup as an additional example, or moved into a separate post.
If I were to re-write this post, I would condense it by chopping out my own fluff that I felt like I needed to satisfy the project. What I have to say is only important if people are awake long enough to read it.
In order to practice what I preach starting now:
That’s it. I’m not saying anything more.