ISBN: 0684855275

It takes courage to start the change with ourselves.

That was one point the book tried to make.

The 3-step process:

  • What is the primary problem?
  • What am I doing about the problem now?
  • What do I need to do differently?

To identify the root problem, author recommends addressing these questions (note: you don’t try to speculate the “Why”):

  • “WHO is doing
  • WHAT that presents a problem
  • To WHOM, and
  • HOW is this behaviour a problem?”

Key messages from the book:

  • We might be the problem
  • Doing the same things will simply get the same results
  • If conventional means don’t work, then consider acting unconventionally

P22. Start looking at ourselves and ask if our own actions are reinforcing the negative behaviours in others. How others act is also a response to our actions.

P 25. “so to solve their problems with each other, the question is not what’s wrong with Andy or with Carolyn or with Martha. The question is: What is each person doing that makes the other person act as he or she does and what do they need to do instead?”

Chpt 2, on how we help people drive us crazy:

  • we attempt a reasonable solution that doesn’t work
  • when person doesn’t change, we continue doing more of the same that isn’t working

P35. Caution about attempting to make up our own stories when trying to understand the issue/ person. The one sided view may prevent us from analysing what is it we do to provoke the other person’s behaviour.
P40. We get caught in our own logic; we don’t realise we’re doing the same thing over and over (or believe we already have); we can’t think of anything better to try.

P38. Checking out our story

  • write down the problems we’re having with someone’s behaviour
  • describe why prob exists (our “story” about the prob)
  • write down what we think the other person’s story would be about our behaviour.

1) what is the primary prob? (who, what, to whom, how). Emphasis on facts only (don’t speculate Why). P49.

2) p62. the first mistake is to think that we know why the other person is doing this.
P64. Second mistake: “I know what you’re up to”. (guessing people’s intentions; author suggests in her experience ppl are rarely right in guesses).
P65. Third mistake: “I know what you are”, i.e. Labeling ppl. E.g. “rude”, “uncaring”. These do not go into the Who is doing What to Whom and How (no Why).
P67. fourth mistake: “I know who’s right”.
All these are our own interpretations (“stories”). We should work on defining the problem (Who, What, to Whom, How) and distinguish bet speculating Why.

Chpt 5 – emphasises that it starts with looking at our own behaviours and asking if it could have inadvertently reinforced the problem. Case study where the author guides an employee out of a repetitive cycle, where she seeks out her boss to ask questions. She would like directions but boss gives general answers and thinks she can’t figure out things on her own. Suggests doing the opposite could be a good way to break the cycle. So instead of asking her boss questions each time they meet, she says nothing and lets him seek her out. Then instead of asking questions she describes what she’s doing and boss gives her useful suggestions. Author suggests it’s not necessarily the employee’s earlier actions were wrong. Just ineffective for the boss’ style.

common sense solutions that don’t work:

  • Repeatedly urging change (try: doing opposite, create consequences or let natural consequences occur, encourage to do negative behavior more – but reposition it)
  • trying to talk someone into liking my solution
  • trying to get acknowledgement that I am right (resist one-upmanship; someone has to give way first)
  • evasion, like hinting and hoping, lobing (msg directed to group rather than individual), stating generalities, avoiding the prob altogether
  • endless preparation except taking action (because we refuse to acknowledge our fear/ apprehensions)

Chpt 10. Possible strategies:
do the opposite, outrageous, unexpected, challenge our own story, find a neutral party, consider off-limits options, question the advice I’m heeding, signal a u-turn (rather than abrupt change)