Master the Playbook – Situational Fluency

Over the years, our clients have asked us a very important question.  This question has been asked several different ways but they can be summed up with the following: 

“How do I become more Situationally Fluent in my internal and external conversations with others?” 

It’s a great question and my response is to actually ask them a question back, 

“What does Situational Fluency mean to you?” 

Based on this question, I get all sorts of answers in return. After we meander around that question for a moment, we end up landing on the following definition to make sure we are speaking the same language. 

Situational Fluency:

The ability to engage in a communication exchange (two-way conversation) that is flexible so that you gain a deeper understanding of the goals, objectives, and challenges of the person, so that you can adjust in real time to help solve a problem and achieve a higher level of performance.

Let me give you an example. Within our NeuroCoaching™ program we teach companies around the world how to both create and execute impactful coaching conversations with their employees. In fact, we teach a process in NeuroSelling® and NeuroCoaching™ that at the outset might look like a rigid step-by-step approach to communication that wouldn’t allow for situationally fluency. In fact, this is the farthest thing from the truth. In reality, learning a process so that you can become so consciously competent of what you are doing, allows you to be more situationally fluent within the conversation. 

Let me give you a real example of this, especially since the NFL season started yesterday.  Last night, I saw a piece about quarterback Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs) that demonstrates this point. 

 Patrick was explaining that every season that goes by he feels like he has mastered the playbook (rigid book of plays).  Then his coach Andy Reid comes in and adds more layers and depth to those plays showing that his teaching never stops. Coach Reid is able to add more layers because Patrick is able to be situationally fluent with the base playbook, and this allows for more layers to be added. Unfortunately for most of us, we don’t have a base playbook that works! Thus, we go into conversations and just wing it and we lose more than we win. 

Here is an important point… Situational Fluency never happens without the base playbook first being almost perfectly understood.  Patrick can then become fluent in different situations allowing him to adapt and win. The rigidity at the beginning opens up the flexibility later on. It doesn’t happen the other way. 

Coaches Corner – 

So what can you learn from this Super Bowl MVP about Situationally Fluency:

  1. Learn & master the playbook (if you don’t have a playbook, get one)
  2. Rehearse the plays in your mind (visualize success)
  3. Practice the plays (repetition is key)
  4. Play multiple scenarios in your mind (before the game)
  5. Once you get in the game play the game (stop thinking and start doing)
  6. Be flexible to adjust to in-game changes
  7. Adjust with your coaches 
  8. Talk to your teammates
  9. Listen, Listen, Listen
  10. Never stop learning

As an action step, find a playbook that works, learn it well, be open to learning, and never forget that situational fluency allows you to read and adjust to in-game situations. 

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