How to frame your objectives and get results

Frameworks were important for my client, Ravi. As a cyber security expert, he cut his teeth using a variety of frameworks to secure network and computer systems from threats from cyber criminals. But now he was in leadership, he discovered his stakeholders could not relate to the complexity of his frameworks. The more detailed he became, the less they followed him.

The lightbulb moment for him was when he realised, he needed to distinguish between frameworks and framing. If he did not make the shift to framing his objectives, he would not bring his stakeholders along with him on his important new strategy.

He needed to frame the costs and reporting implications for the CFO. His manager wanted to hear about the productivity implications. C-suite and board stakeholders wanted to understand the business risk. He had to persuade his team why they needed to take urgent action.

Framing his pitch to suit his stakeholders was not just a shift in his approach, it was a breakthrough for him to see the world the way others viewed it.

In the book, The Power of Framing, Creating the Language of Leadership, Gail T. Fairhurst outlines five rules for framing:

✳️ Rule #1: Control the Context

Leaders often cannot control events, but they can control the context under which events are seen.

✳️ Rule #2: Define the Situation

At its most basic level, framing reality means defining “the situation here and now” in ways that connect with others.

✳️ Rule #3: Apply Ethics

“Reality” is often contested. Framing a subject is an act of persuasion by leaders, one imbued with ethical choices.

✳️ Rule #4: Interpret Uncertainty

It is the uncertainty…. of “the situation here and now” that opens it up for interpretation.

✳️ Rule #5: Design the Response

Ultimately, leadership is a design problem.

🙋 Which rule could you use to frame an aim you have for your stakeholders? 🙋‍♀️

Best regards, Brian