There is a great book by Roz Van Meter called Put Your Big Girl Panties on and Deal with It… Yes, that’s really the name.  Van Meter was challenged by some friends to write a book using this infamous phrase, and she starts with the premise that we all have an adult and a child within us, and we have to chose which one reacts in the moment.

One particular chapter discusses how we choose which situations are a crisis, and which really aren’t.  The “big deal chart” is a rating system, used to analyze what is a non-event (0) and what is a life and death situation (10).  She proposes that before we engage in a particular situation, we assess what level of a “big deal” it really is.  Is it a 9?  Or is it really a 2 or 3?

For example, let’s say your company has a grumpy employee who constantly complains about how poor the office coffee is.  One day, they throw a coffee-induced fit, and you are the one who has to deal with it.  Before engaging, you need to establish how much of a big deal this really is in your world?  Is it a 9 or 10?  Hardly.  It’s likely more of a 2 or 3, and the biggest annoyance is that they even threw a fit in the first place.

Conversely, if you’ve just been told that the company’s quarterly revenues are down 25% and your largest customer just canceled their order, where does that fall on the scale?  Your gut reaction might be a 10, but it really isn’t life or death because it is a rectifiable problem that has a feasible resolution.  Thus, it’s really more of a 6 or 7.  So what merits a 10?  Probably nothing short of a ranting customer with dynamite strapped to their chest.

Using these scenarios as examples, this scale really helps us put in to perspective how we should handle certain situations.  By gauging the level of the problem, we may then gauge our response.

When faced with one of these situations, Van Meter suggests pushing your internal “pause button,” giving you time to gain perspective before bringing your adult-self to the situation and starting down the path of resolution.  The alternative — letting your child-self take control and get your knickers in a wad — is not likely to solve the problem, in fact it will probably make it worse.  It’s worth those few moments of introspection to gain clarity and perspective to then handle the situation like a true leader.

At Kinetic Insights, our PathFinders are skilled in helping leaders unleash the greatness in themselves and in their organizations. Call or email us for a quick discussion that just might put you and your team on the path to significant change.

Gail A. Froelicher is Founder, CEO and PathFinder of Kinetic Insights, LLC. For over 11 years, Gail and her team of PathFinders have journeyed with their customers to forge successful paths in rapidly changing business environments.

Gail A. Froelicher

Gail A. Froelicher, CEO and Founder of Kinetic Insights, is an experienced executive with a proven and consistent record of established and emerging technology businesses. Throughout her 30 year career she has been successful in key leadership positions by motivating and developing teams that stress quality, integrity and respect for associates and business partners. View full bio
Gail A. Froelicher

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Gail A. Froelicher, CEO and Founder of Kinetic Insights, is an experienced executive with a proven and consistent record of established and emerging technology businesses. Throughout her 30 year career she has been successful in key leadership positions by motivating and developing teams that stress quality, integrity and respect for associates and business partners. View full bio

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