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在同一个地方跌倒的人,缺少的是假设思维

时间:2019-05-07 10:42:00来源: 哈佛商业评论作者:中国MBA网点击:

在同一个地方跌倒的人,缺少的是假设思维

 

 

你感觉这周不在状态,总有些事情不对劲。让我们姑且将之当作是你与客户的谈判不顺利吧。
 
然后你怎么做呢?你可能和朋友去酒吧,跟伴侣述说或者给你妈打电话。但是所有这些都只不过是拖延的办法,很快你就会反复琢磨这些烦心事。你纠结哪里出错了,于是责备自己或者外部环境。当你感到精疲力尽的时候,你才会告诉自己,要忘记过去,放眼未来。
 
这是一种面对挫折自然而然的并且完全合理的反应,但在心理上却是痛苦无裨益的。它不能够使你免受第二次、第三次甚至第四次同样类型的挫败。
 
这里有一个更好的方法:你可以和自己达成一个心理协议,在这个过程中你可以问自己一系列简短并且有建设性的问题,并且试图去回答这些问题。根据假设思维的一些新的调查成果(听起来像是:设想已经发生的事的另外一些可能),这个过程并不困难,它会使你减轻挫折带来的痛苦,下次能够更好地应对。
 
假设思维是我们经常做的事——“如果我去年没有碰巧遇见老朋友,我肯定会错过得到这份好工作的机会!”或者“如果我接受海外调动,就很有可能会升职。”调查人员将这些思维分门别类,来判定我们为什么并且在什么时候会这样想。虽然还有待深入研究,但这些研究表明一些特定的假设思维模式尤其利于人从负面事件中恢复过来。
 
让我们回到刚刚提到的不成功的谈判例子中去。面对不断变化的客户需求,你的公司正试图变得更加灵活。你已经跟一个重要的供应商谈过,双方的工作协议要比往常更加开放,这样你就可以为应对今年的变化作调整。但是供应商只同意签六个月的协议,而不是一年。你和老板都认为这是一次非常失败的谈判。
 
于是你为了使自己好受点,又重蹈覆辙之前清单罗列的种种放松做法。你责备自己的无能和不走运;你责怪供应商代表的死板,还有那些干巴巴的火鸡三明治。“啊,还有。”你和同事去大醉了一场,“然后学会‘吃一堑,长一智’,生活还得继续。”
 
但是实际上你并没有从挫折中学到什么,并且现在还不是继续往前走的时候。恰好相反。你需要按顺序践行这五个步骤:
 
1. 设想一个更好的结果(一)。设法使用上行假设思维,更好地达成协商。关注自己的行动,而不是他人的。例如,供应商似乎已经接近同意你在灵活延长协议方面的一些建议,但还没谈完就到午休时间了。后来接着谈的时候,他显得更加固执,不愿意听取你的提议。也许你在休息前要求他给出明确的答复,结果会比现在的好。
 
2. 设想一个更好的结果(二)。设法使用另一个上行假设。为什么?这样做是为了防止你自然而然地将第一个方案当作唯一的选择,这种陷阱被称为hindsight bias (事后聪明偏向)。很显然,你刚刚想到的第一个选择导致了你的自负,就好像你一开始就意识到了这点。设想一个更好的解决方法,可以帮助你避免将失败归结于一个简单的人为原因。用刚刚提到的方案做例子,设想你在协商的开始就把灵活性的问题表达出来,这难道不比你在下一轮的协商中将整个问题的主动权抛给对方更好吗?
 
3. 设想导致同一结果的不同方法。这被称为“半假设思维”。例如,与不同的供应商代表谈论界限明确的内容——第一场谈论价格,第二场谈论非价格项目,这将会是一个迥然不同的体验,但最终会导致相同的谈论结果。然后,问问你自己为什么这些谈论结果会相同。在这个案例中,是因为市场快速变化,供应商的工作人员过于焦虑而担心合同上的任何变动都会危害他们的利益?这个步骤的目的就是让你注意到那些你从没有想过或者预料到的阻碍。此后,你就可以重新回到失败的源头,找出克服阻碍的办法。例如,通过提供一些潜在的补偿来减轻供应商的焦虑,也许就使得谈判变得可能,比如在合同的有效期内能够提高价格。
 
4. 设想同一种方法导致的不同结果。一个好的或者坏的结果,可能来自于你采用的相同处理办法。设想对方对于你关于灵活延长协议的建议表示同意并施与微笑,或者皱眉头并坚持不同意。这一步骤的目的是强调结果的不确定性。在大多数情况下,事实上是你的一种做法往往能导致不一样的结果。人们不太好接受这种看法。如果你想高效地恢复过来,合理地重视外部压力是很重要的。这一步可以帮助你思考应对外部压力的应急备案。
 
5. 设想最坏的结局。下行假设思维一定程度上是恢复心情的小技巧。想想最糟的可能,而后对自己避开了最糟的结果而加以表扬。这个步骤还有另外一个目的:加深对刚刚发生的事情的了解。设想面对合作方的销售下滑,你很想评论一番,但最后你还是不置一词。显然是合作方不清楚市场走势,但是你意识到在这个关键时刻,过多的评论会使合作方动怒并使事情恶化。长远地考虑问题,你将会理解供应商在该处境中的敏感心理。
 
通过这五步,你可以避免责备、偏见以及其他思维定向,而能够看到全面而细微的失败原因。你将更好地了解到是什么而不是什么因素造成了这个失败。上行假设思维让你重新制定计划和改善应对表现。你可以不必要严格按照你设想的方案行事,因为你已经学会开阔你的思维,将更多的可行技巧包囊其中。
 
这个方法已经被管理者和企业家在不同的场合中实践过了。在精神分裂症的调查研究中发现,假设思维和人际交往有效性之间有联系,如果缺乏假设思维的能力,一定程度上可以解释为社会功能障碍。神经影像研究表明,假设思维发生的大脑区域与人进行计划活动的区域相同,它可以看作是感性思维与目标设定的互相影响。
 
领导者常常告诫自己要从失败中获取最大的回报,但这在一定程度上,忽略了从失败中吸取教训这重要的一步。训练自己进行假设思维以及详细制定替代方案,是弥补这一步的桥梁,以确保下次能更好应对。
 
 
英文原文
 
 
 
This was not your best week. Something didn’t go right. Let’s say it was a negotiation that didn’t play out your way.
 
What do you do afterward? You might go to a bar with friends, talk to your spouse, or call your mom. But those are just delay tactics. Soon the ruminating will begin. You’ll wonder what went wrong and blame yourself, others, or external factors. When that becomes exhausting, you’ll tell yourself that you need to forget the past and focus on what’s ahead.
 
This is a natural and perfectly reasonable reaction, but it’s psychologically painful without much benefit. It won’t prevent you from experiencing the same kind of failure a second or third or fourth time.
 
There is a better way: a mental protocol through which you ask yourself a series of brief, structured questions and put some effort into answering them. based on new research on counterfactual thinking (which is exactly what it sounds like: imagining alternatives to what just happened), this process is not difficult, and it promises to both ease the pain of the setback and position you to do better next time.
 
Counterfactual thinking is something most of us do all the time — “If I hadn’t bumped into my old friend last year, I would have missed out on getting this great job with his company!” or “If only I had said yes to that overseas assignment, I probably would have been promoted.” But researchers are now categorizing it into different types and determining why we use them and when. There’s still a lot to be learned, but studies suggest that certain forms of counterfactual thinking can be particularly helpful when people need to recover and improve performance after negative events.
 
Let’s come back to that just-concluded, unsuccessful negotiation. Your company is trying to be more agile in the face of changing customer demand, and you had asked an important supplier to leave the working agreement more open-ended than usual so you would have the ability to change course during the year. His only concession was to make it a six-month agreement, rather than 12-month, and you and your boss consider this a pretty significant failure.
 
You avail yourself of a couple of the usual recovery activities listed above. You beat up on yourself for being incompetent and unlucky. You blame the stiff who represented the supplier, as well as those dry turkey sandwiches that the caterer provided. “Ah well,” you say as you drain your beer with a colleague, “lessons learned. Time to move on.”
 
But actually no lessons have been learned, and it’s not time to move on. Not ye. Instead, follow these five steps, in order:
 
1.Imagine a better outcome, Part 1. Challenge yourself to conceive of an upward counterfactual, a path that might have led to a better deal. Make sure to focus on your own actions, not someone else’s. For example, your counterpart had seemed close to agreeing to several of your suggestions on flexibility, but then you both took a break. Afterward, he was more adamant. Maybe if you had pressed for an answer before the break, the outcome would have been better.
 
2.Imagine a better outcome, Part 2. Challenge yourself to think of yet another upward counterfactual. Why? The idea is to combat your natural tendency to fixate on the first alternative scenario as the only one, a trap known as hindsight bias. The apparent obviousness of the first alternative, now that you’ve thought of it, induces overconfidence; you begin to feel as though you were aware of it all along. Imagining a second path to a better outcome helps you to avoid attributing your failure to a simplistic, pat reason. As an example of a second scenario, imagine that you put the flexibility issue on the table at the beginning of the negotiation. Would that have yielded a better outcome than springing it on your counterpart later in the talks, as you did?
 
3.Imagine a different path leading to the same outcome. This is known as semifactual thinking, or an “even if.” For example, breaking the negotiations into two distinct talks with different counterparts — the first talk being about price and the second about nonprice terms, for example — would have been a very different experience, but it might have led to the same outcome. Next, ask yourself why the outcome might have been the same. In this case, was it because there is widespread worry among the supplier’s staff that the marketplace is shifting rapidly, and they’re afraid to allow any contract change that might hurt their position? The purpose of this step in the failure and recovery process is to reveal obstacles you might not have noticed or articulated. Later on, you can circle back and try to figure out how to overcome them. For example, it might be possible to allay the supplier’s anxiety by offering something else as potential compensation, such as an option to raise prices during the life of the contract.
 
4.Imagine the same path leading to a different outcome. Think of how a different outcome — better or worse — could have resulted from the same process you followed. Picture your counterpart smiling and saying yes to your suggestion about flexibility. Or frowning and insisting on no changes at all to the contract’s length. One purpose of this step is to highlight the randomness in outcomes. In most cases, the reality is that the very steps you took could have led to different endpoints. People have trouble accepting that. If you’re going to recover effectively, it’s important to maintain a healthy respect for outside forces. This step can also help you think about backup and contingency plans to cope with these forces.
 
5.Imagine a worse outcome. This downward counterfactual is partly a feel-good tactic. Think of a different path that might have led to a poorer result, and then pat yourself on the back for having avoided it. But there’s another purpose to this step: to broaden your understanding of what just happened. Let’s say you thought about making, but then didn’t make, a comment about your counterpart’s declining sales. The idea would have been to underscore that his company doesn’t have a good grasp of what’s going on in the marketplace, but you realized in the nick of time that the comment might have put him on the defensive and made things worse. Pursue that idea a little further and you might end up with a big-picture understanding of the supplier’s present sense of vulnerability.
 
By completing these five steps, you avoid blame and bias and other kinds of mental ruts, and you see an enlarged, nuanced picture of the failure. You’re better positioned to know what really did and didn’t cause the setback. And the upward counterfactuals give you a starting point for planning the next go- round and improving your subsequent performance. You may not follow your imagined scenarios precisely, but you’ve learned to stretch your mind to incorporate new possible tactics.
 
I’ve seen this method work for managers and entrepreneurs in various contexts. The links between counterfactual thinking and interpersonal effectiveness are underscored by research on schizophrenia, which demonstrates that an inability to do the former partly explains patients’ social dysfunction. Neuroimaging studies suggest that since counterfactual thinking happens in the same part of the brain as planning, it might serve as a sort of interface between emotional thinking and goal setting.
 
Leaders are often told to maximize their “return on failure,” but so far there has been little focus on the specific steps one should take to learn from mistakes. Challenging yourself to use counterfactual thinking and formulate detailed alternative scenarios is one way to bridge that gap and ensure you do better the next time around.
 
 
Neal J. Roese |文
Neal J. Roese 是美国西北大学凯洛格商学院营销学教授。
译言网网友 pign|译  周强|校
 

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