I was talking with Rob Hatch about his experience with Touchpoints, an approach to help child development practitioners work with children and families. In that system, there are “assumptions” and “principles.” This has me thinking about how Julien and I talk about “frames,” and frameworks, and how this all applies to human business.
In Touchpoints, an assumption is “The parent is the expert on his/her child.” This means, no matter what you know as a pediatrician, you’re still not the expert of THAT child. You know stuff. The parent knows that child. See the difference?
Squint a bit, and you could say “you are an expert on YOU.” Meaning, you know more about yourself than a doctor, than a teacher, than anyone. In this case, we’ve shifted the frame from “parent” or “child developer” into “person,” and the assumption is still usable.
You with me?
Frames and Assumptions
Think of a frame as “a perspective, with boundaries.” So, when I frame myself as running a media company, it gives me a way of thinking and creating assumptions for my business. If I just framed myself as a blogger, those assumptions are quite different.
We haven’t talked about principles. Principles don’t change. They’re something we apply to various situations. One of my principles is “be helpful.” In all circumstances, I ask myself is there’s a way to be helpful. So, presuming you have a sense of the principles by which you live and operate, then what you can work with are your frames and your assumptions.
Set Your Frames
The single-most powerful thing I do with all things business and self-improvement is to start by setting my frame.
When I took my role at CrossTech Media, I was hired to build out their strategy and grow the business. I pushed everything through the frame of, “I’m here to grow this business.” It was a great way to stay on target, and a great way to look at the opportunities.
Set your frame. Consider who you are and your role in the situations that matter the most to you. At home, how do you frame yourself? What are the right assumptions to carry that frame? At work, same thing. Now more so, do you frame yourself around your place of employment? I say no, by the way.
Your frame is around you. You’re the CEO of your future (or pick a title that you love). And now? Let’s go one layer deeper.
Re-Set Your Frames
One thing where people get tripped up is that we have to re-set our frames from time to time. I’d argue that we have to reset them often. For instance, at CrossTech, I went from being VP of strategy to telling my bosses that I wanted to take over a division and run it as my own company. That’s certainly a bit different than my frame of “define strategy and grow the business.” I changed my frame and decided I’d frame around “do social media marketing well.”
Resetting your frame is so important to your development. I think we get locked up in keeping our old frames around, especially when we consider our job to be the same as our frame. I’m a newspaper reporter; I can’t find work as a newspaper reporter (versus “I’m a content developer; there are tons of jobs for me!).
The Assumptions Follow
Once you have a new frame, determine your assumptions, and make sure you stay aware to how they alter your perception. For instance, if you decide you’re a content developer, maybe you’ll assume that you should always be making new media. But that might have you miss a different type of opportunity. Decide how your assumptions will support your efforts.
What Are Your Frames?
What do you consider your frames? Do you anchor your frame currently to your job description? How would things change if you alter that?
And how do your assumptions line up? Have you ever given them much thought? What’s helping or hindering?
Photo credit Katie Tegtmeyer