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Doing What's Right

Topic tour guide

In a hurry? This page will take you through a brief tour of every section in this topic and will enable you to click on a link should you wish to read more.

Sometimes doing what is right is not easy. Challenging the client takes courage.  This section starts with our Model of Independence which is comprised of three elements.  These are using facts to ensure that you take an objective view; understanding the importance of risk so that you know which battles to fight, and managing your resilience so that you can hold your ground.   There is a section on each of these elements with tools and ideas to help you explore them further.

What the research tells us

Every one of the participants in our study described a willingness, or in some cases even an obligation, to have an independent point of view. Having an opinion alone, however, is not enough. Participants also consistently described the need to have the courage to express their point of view even at the risk of being unpopular. In addition they described a persistence with maintaining their position in the face of opposition.


Model of independence

Being independent has three elements: knowing the facts or evidence relevant to the situation and being clear of your view; assessing the importance of taking a stand or a risk; and managing your resilience.


Using facts to take an objective view

Being independent requires you to first determine the facts. This involves testing your own thinking, being aware of hidden traps and clarifying filters.

  • Testing your thinking

We live in a world of self-generating beliefs. We rarely test these beliefs. Our beliefs act as a filter. Once this filter is in place we focus on data that reinforces the belief. This blinds us to other possibilities and other interpretations of data and events.

This section provides a model known as the ladder of inference for testing your data and the assumptions and conclusions you draw from it.


  • Objectivity traps

The grid in this section summarises the main traps we can fall into when making decisions about business priorities and decisions. Using the grid can help you to check what is influencing your decision or how you are looking at an issue and alert you to bias.


  • Filters

Common filters may distort our perception of the facts in a situation. The filters we often unconsciously employ are a short cut, thus enabling us to understand what is going on quickly. However, they can also blind us to reality. Clarifying filters can be very useful when looking at the business and helping clients.


  • Balancing advocacy and inquiry

Most people in business are adept at advocacy, which is stating their case or opinion. However this is not always the best approach for understanding the facts of the situation or other peoples’ view. These situations call for balancing advocacy and inquiry – when this is done the reasoning behind a decision is laid bare and the views of others understood.


  • Belief cycle

One of the truisms in life is that we tend to get what we believe we will get. This model helps you to understand why.


  • Stories that cloud our judgement

When we consider something as risky we tend to worry about it. Worry is like creating a story about the problem or event. This can distort the way we see things.


  • Suspend judgement

Judging is an important skill, but like all skills, if it is overused or used at the wrong time it becomes a weakness. In order to suspend judgement and to look at a situation in a balanced way you need to be clear about how you tend to make judgements.


  • Powerful questions

Powerful questions are generally open-ended questions that encourage the client to look at an issue or proposal with new insight or from a new perspective. Use them in an objectively to uncover the facts of the situation.


  • Knowing your own view

In order to get clear on your own view it is necessary to look at a situation in a number of different ways.


  • Unfulfilled needs

When it comes to understanding others and ourselves, there is perhaps not a phrase more useful than this: unfulfilled needs influence our decisions and motivate our actions. This section helps you to identify your unfulfilled needs and understand how they may influence your decisions.


Understanding importance and risk

This section provides some models and tools for managing risk and being non-judgmental.

  • Risk assessment

It is often both necessary and useful to take risks when we are trying to accelerate change and success or to achieve stretch goals.


  • Risk and reward

This model helps to evaluate risk and relative importance helping to decide if this is a risk that is worth taking.


  • Stakeholder influence mapping

This model considers different stakeholders, their influence and commitment to the risk you are considering It helps to consider how different stakeholders can be leveraged as well as who needs to be influenced to mitigate risk.


  • Non-judgemental language

An important part of managing risk is to know how to state your case or to inquire into why the other person is proposing a particular course of action.


Managing your resilience

This section describes the elements of being tough-mindedness and includes a number of different strategies to manage your state helping you to maintain resilience.

  • Model of tough mindedness

Being tough minded is a key requirement for HR professionals. This model is made up of four elements.


  • Model for challenge

Part of being independent is being able to challenge in an objective way. This model gives a process to do that.


  • Resilience audit

Your ability to form a clear picture of your strengths and development needs is a key element in maintaining resilience. The following questions will help you assess your mind-set, motivation, current skill level and experience in this area.


  • The inverted U

It’s well documented that excessive stress has a detrimental impact on the brain and the body. This page explains why.


  • Work constructively and calmly under stress and pressure

This page provides guidance to help you identify situations that cause you stress and pressure and ways to manage them.


  • Handling tense situations without overreacting or becoming overly emotional

This page provides guidance to help you identify situations that make you tense and ways to handle them.


  • Handling stress

There are many factors that can cause stress and by knowing your warning signs you can deal with stress before it spirals out of control. This section provides a list of common warning signs and symptoms you typically experience when you’re under stress.


  • Problem and outcome frame

This tool will help you to think about problems and the steps you need to take to achieve your desired outcome.


  • Tension release

This exercise will teach you to release tension and stress.


  • Pressure analysis

This exercise may help you to identify and solve causes of pressure on a specific situation.


  • Managing the size of a problem

When we lack confidence, it usually distorts reality. We tend to make problems bigger or our skills less. When you are feeling overwhelmed by a task or issue follow the steps in this section to gain control and increase confidence.


  • Focus

Focus sounds simple but is hard to do. Think about the many distractions that can come to you. This section provides theory and guidance to help you focus.


  • Handling pressure

This section suggests ideas to help you feel better when under pressure.


Quick and easy habits

The more often you practice these skills the more you will embed them until they become a habit. This section gives you a list of quick and easy actions to do this. It includes quick and easy habits to Develop yourself, Ways to use these strengths more and ideas to Build these skills with others.

Other resources

Click here for a list of books and websites for further reading and for a summary of other topics in the Success Kitbag.