When I was a child, I used to love playing consequences. We’d grab a sheet of paper and a pencil and each write down a man’s name, fold over the paper to hide it, then pass it to our right. On the next sheet of paper we’d write ‘met (woman’s name)’, fold it over and pass it on again. We’d move on to where they met, what he wore, what she wore, what he said, what she said, what the consequence was and what the world said. Once all the categories had been written down, we’d unfold the sheet and read out our stories which would go something like this:
Kermit the Frog
He wore his pyjamas.
She wore a tutu.
He said, ‘Shall we go and buy some sweets?’
She said, ‘I’ve told you a million times not to exaggerate.’
The consequence was they decided to get married.
(That was often the consequence – we clearly weren’t that imaginative.)
And the world said, ‘Keep the noise down.’
And then we’d roll around in fits of laughter, entertained by our own hilarity and creative genius. Ah, simple pleasures!
As we wrote these silly stories, we made choices and those choices had consequences – completely daft consequences but consequences, none the less. As adults, we make choices all the time and they too have their consequences. We turn left instead of right to avoid the traffic jam and consequently we arrive at our appointment on time. We wolf down a chocolate bar at our desk rather than go out to buy a sandwich – the consequences are that the accounts are finished in time and also that we then have an energy dip at about 3.30 when the sugar rush wears off!
Some decisions warrant a little forethought. Let’s say that you’re thinking of changing the workflow of a particular process. As you map it out, you can see that you have various options. You could pass the second stage on to a colleague’s team – what are the consequences? What would the impact be on them? How would you need to present the information to them in such a way that they could handle it? What would that mean to your team? Perhaps it would be better to hold onto it for stage 2 but pass it on at stage 3. Again, you examine the consequences of that choice.
Maybe you’re trying to decide whether to move house or extend your current home. What consequences will either option have on your family? On your finances? On your lifestyle? On your work?
Taking time out at this stage to consider the consequences of our choices can help us create the optimum solution. We can avoid our decisions ending up a bit like my folded bit of paper – a random collection of suggestions with no consideration of their consequences.
Today’s pebble for your examination:
What are the consequences of a choice you are considering?
Turning over pebbles is the blog of Thinking Space Coaching.
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