Robbie Anderson, (of Chimp Management, the business founded by Professor Steve Peters, author of ‘The Chimp Paradox’), spoke last year at EA Masters and is now engaging with our members over three exclusive sessions to expand on the concept of managing our “inner chimp”.
During the first session last week he said something that really resonated and I think it’s particularly relevant for this time.
In simple terms there are three systems operating in our brain – there’s the “human”, the “computer” and the “chimp”. All three are needed to make up what we call human beings – we wouldn’t survive without them all.
The trouble is that sometimes, (make that quite often), we use the wrong system. The “chimp” is both our saviour and what gets us into trouble. It’s the first to respond to any stimulus and if our “computer” or “human” systems don’t intervene in time, will cause us to respond spontaneously. That’s not an issue when we’re offered a cup of tea, “fancy a cuppa?” (stimulus), “yes please” (“chimp” response). But what if the “chimp” replies to a challenging email? What if the “chimp” reacts to an awkward phone call? What if the “chimp” is dictating our feelings and controlling our decisions regarding the future? We need our “chimp” but we need to learn to manage it better if we’re to be highly effective.
Robbie shared several tools and techniques for Chimp Management and one I’d like to highlight here is perhaps the simplest of them all:
Stop. Slow Down. Reflect.
When you receive a challenging email, awkward phone call or when making any important decision (make that most decisions), Stop. Slow Down. Reflect.
It’s so obvious, so easy and yet so often people do the opposite. They respond immediately, the speed of reply seeming somehow more important than the quality. That said, if you were to offer me a cuppa right now it would be an immediate, “yes please!”
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