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Thinking Frames

17 July 2022
Effective Top Tens - Podcast
Quick, practical tips on a wide range of management and personal development themes.
Do you have to think quickly and effectively on your feet? These 10 thinking frames will help...

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PPF stands for past, present, future. So this organises your thinking chronologically – for example: once we did…(past); we now find…(present), and so, moving forward…(future). And of course you can choose to focus on one of these three time periods.



SCOPE stands for symptom, cause, options, preference and execute. So this is a useful diagnostic model, suitable in helping you analyse an existing problem. So you start by identifying what the symptoms, or evidence to indicate there is a problem; then you’d investigate the cause, or causes that have created the problem. Then you’d consider the various options available for addressing or solving the problem, then evaluate each to determine your preference, and then finally take or execute action to put your preference into effect.



BANDA stands for Benchmark, Aim, Need, Difficulty and Action. This is a model I often use in coaching, to help someone work through their issue. The benchmark is the current position, and the aim is whatever is being sought. The difference between these two is the gap that needs to be closed. So the next question focuses on that – what do you need to close that gap – to move from the current actual position to the future desired position? Once the needs have been identified, the next question is really the important one: ‘what’s stopping you?’. If the individual knows what the gap is, and what’s needed to close the gap – what’s getting in the way preventing the gap being closed? And finally – what action needs to be taken to get past, remove or prevent those difficulties?



RKSA stands for resources, knowledge, skills and attitude. This is a really useful model in diagnosing any failure to perform. Failure, or poor performance, is often down to one or more of these four factors: a lack of resources, not knowing what is required, or why; not having the right skills or level of skills; and having a poor attitude…



AUCCC stands for awareness, understanding, capability, capacity and commitment. It serves a similar purpose to RKSA, so you may want to choose one or the other. It particularly focuses on the performance of individuals or teams. Are they aware there is a problem? If they are, do they understand its significance, and their contribution to it? Do they have the capability or competence to put it right? Do they have the capacity – particularly time? And do they have the commitment? Generally speaking, the problems are harder to resolve at each successive letter: it is quite easy to raise someone’s awareness, but may be more difficult to increase their commitment…


De Bono’s 6 hats

De Bono is suggesting that we should each wear these 6 hats, of different colours, to provide or take 6 different perspectives on any situation. His 6 hats are white – for an objective, fact based approach; red – for a perspective that focuses on emotions, and how people feel; yellow, for a positive look at the situation; black (not a politically correct colour to use, it has to be said) that looks particularly at the negatives in the situation; green for fresh or new ideas; and blue, for a reflective overview. Of course it is possible to look at any situation through all 6 perspectives, or to choose one to focus on…



KILN stands for keep, increase, lessen, new. It’s a useful model or frame for taking stock, particularly when considering change. It looks at the current situation through 4 lenses: what should we keep, because it’s good or works well; what should we do more of – increase or improve; what should we do less of – reduce or even remove altogether; and what should we bring in that would be new for us….



RACI stands for responsible, accountable, consulted and informed. It’s a useful way of thinking about ownership and roles – particularly in discussing project work or a new initiative or scheme. Who is going to be responsible for doing particular tasks? Who will be accountable for the overall success? Who do we need to consult? And who needs to be kept informed?



SWOT stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. This is a fairly well known frame, another one that’s useful for taking stock. What’s really important here is to do something with the conclusions drawn for each of the four sections. So once they have been identified – what are you going to do about these strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?



TEBI stands for trigger, emotion, behaviour and impact, and is a really useful frame to interpret stress. For example, someone is behaving perfectly normally, and then something triggers a negative emotional response, such as fear or anxiety. This in turn drives a particular behaviour, which has some usually unwanted impact or consequence. So a dog barks and runs at the individual (T), who, scared (E), starts to run (B), trips, falls and breaks their ankle (I). So it would be useful as a thinking frame to help interpret why something might have happened that has unfortunate consequences.

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