A 180 Inner Dialogue – Finding Direction in Negativity by Kathleen Taylor-Gadsby

Picture yourself on a path in the middle of the forest. You come to a fork in the path and, while it is not clear where it is leading, you choose to take the path on the left because you believe it leads toward your ultimate destination. You suggest this to your hiking companions and they respond with all the reasons why taking this new path is not a good idea.

“We’ve never been this way before.”

“We don’t really know where it goes.”

“It’s a very steep incline and we might not make it.”

“It’s getting dark; we won’t be able to see with all of those trees.”

This imagined hike may mimic your life path. How many times do you blindly accept your own negative self-talk or listen to the nay-sayers around you and therefore not move in a new, more positive, purpose-driven direction?

What would happen if, instead of trying to ignore the negativity you looked it straight in the face and challenged it? You might gain some interesting insights.

“Okay, so what would I do if I wanted to fail?”

“If I wanted to fail, I would turn around and go in the opposite direction from my goal.”

“If I wanted to fail, I would do the same old thing over and over.”

“If I wanted to fail, I might just stand still and not make any change.”

Then, ask yourself if you are doing any of these things already and what you could do instead.

“Actually, yes, I’m just standing still.”

“Well I don’t want to fail. How will I make sure I don’t?”

“First of all, I sure as heck won’t stand still on this decision and I won’t change my mind and turn around!”

“I’ll get a clearer map and grab a flashlight to make sure I can see in the dark.”

TaDa! New energy and new determination results from this inner dialogue. This way of looking at negative voices (your own or others) can turn the negativity into an ally by using it to spark action or commitment that will move you toward positive, impactful results. You have looked at your goal from a 180 point of view – what you desire and what you would do if you wanted to fail – and leveraged both to put together a motivating and successful plan.

While skillfully ignoring your own negative bias can be effective, facing it head on can bring new insights and result in clearer direction and motivation toward your goals.

Watch Al Lucia on MBLN

Watch Al Lucia’s great interview where he talks about the effectiveness of The 180 Rule for living.

A Childhood Poem – An Adult Realization by Pat Jannausch

When I was about ten years old, I wrote this little ditty:

Ever look into a soup spoon right before you dip? Yes, the image there is you – but only in the flip!

I hadn’t thought about my little poem in many years but it suddenly came to mind as I sat down to write this blog. Obviously, I must have been intrigued one day as I looked into a spoon at the dinner table. Not understanding the physics of the concave surface, I was inspired to make my observation a matter of record and thus – the poem. But now as an adult, I am surrounded by this upside-down thought process ever since I became aware of The 180 Rule. In my book in the series, The 180 Rule for Recognition, I explain how this simple approach to problem solving can make a huge difference when trying to establish an effective culture of recognition in any organization. But the value of the 180 process doesn’t stop there. It can be applied to any issue, problem or challenge you are facing. In fact, its application is limitless!

  • Wondering how to have a better relationship with your teenager? Approach it from the flip side by asking: What would I do if I wanted to have a terrible relationship with my son/daughter?
  • Looking for a way to approach a problem with your boss? First, think of what wouldn’t work and would likely make matters worse. What does that look like?
  • Stressing out over how to coach the people in your department to work more like a team? Ask yourself: What would I do if I want to ensure that teamwork was not a part of our culture? How would I discourage individuals from working towards common goals? How can I undermine the value of group accomplishments?

So, just like my upside down ten year old face reflected in a spoon inspired my little ditty, let the upside-down approach of The 180 Rule inspire your next problem-solving challenge! Take the dip – try the flip!

Learn more at

Author: Pat Jannausch
The 180 Rule for Employee Recognition

The 180 Rule & the Ladder of Inference by Bud Taylor

Ladder of InferenceAs an innovator I wondered why The 180 Rule works.

Then it struck me. The 180 Rule challenges the Ladder of Inference. You know, our bias toward efficient decision making. We couldn’t get out of the house in the morning if we questioned our every decision; so, we quickly go from the pool of available information around us and run up the ladder to conclude that we will wear our brown shoes.

The ladder of Inference is great for choosing shoes, but not so great for making higher order decisions. Often our biases bring us to wrong conclusions. Here’s an example.

I spent more than two years in South Korea helping Korean Telecom build it’s organizational innovation capability. In a foreign land you often long for your native language. One day I was at breakfast watching the BBC International on a wall TV. A scroll ran across the bottom of the screen reading “A bus driver accused Mathew Fox (the star of Lost) of assault three days after an incident.” Wow. Pretty cool. Sounds like Fox and the driver got into some kind of scuffle – maybe a traffic accident – and after the incident the driver learned that Fox was a celebrity so the driver decided to sue.

Well, not quite. When I got back to my apartment that night the incident was being reported on English TV. I was caught high up the Ladder of Inference. There were several key facts that were not revealed in the morning scroll, like:
• The bus driver was a woman,
• The incident took place outside a bar, and
• Fox and the bus driver were on a date.

The key to the Ladder of Inference is not how quickly you climb it, but whether you question it – on each rung and certainly when you reach the top? Maybe I wouldn’t have fallen off the first rung had I not assumed that all bus drivers are men.

The 180 Rule stops the Ladder of Inference in its tracks by using our Negativity Bias The 180 Rule to expose our biases before we use them.

This is invaluable to me when working with clients. It’s impossible to generate creative ideas by projecting up the Ladder of Inference. The best you will do is find incremental improvements of “faster, better, cheaper.” The 180 Rule lets me get clients out of their traditional mind set.

For example, recently I was working with a national consumer goods brand. It wanted to extend the success of one of its products into a higher target market. The basic plan was to enhance the product and then leverage its brand in the premium market. I challenged my clients with The 180 Rule. We examined all the things we could do to ensure a failed launch of the new product. We learned that the worst thing we could do was leverage the equity of the mass-market brand into the premium market. Even if the target market liked the product, it would reject the brand.

Happily, the enhanced product found itself packaged within a new brand and has found a profitable home with its new consumers. The 180 Rule stopped the product launch from the top of the Ladder of Inference.

Learn more at

Author: Bud Taylor
The 180 Rule for Innovation


The 180 Rule Turns on the Light Bulbs at a Public Utility by Al Lucia

Every organization has a couple of naysayers even at the very top of the organization. They are not troublemakers, just hard to convince of certain things. This can especially be the case when it comes to the people side of the business.
So … The 180 Rule has been used to gain consensus with subjects or initiatives where results are difficult to measure. Some call this the “soft stuff”. I call it the “essential stuff.

This is an example using The 180 Rule process to turn the light bulbs on with the entire senior management team:
Define the objective: To have better accountability among first line leaders.
What would we do if we wanted to fail? (1) Not include people skills in our training of first line leaders (2) Only hold leaders accountable for energy generation (3) Have higher level leaders do a bad job of role modeling effective people skills
Which of these are we doing in our perception? (1) and (2) Above
Which of these are we doing in the perception of our first line leaders? (3)
Which of these are we doing in the perception of our employees/team members? (1) (2) and (3) – according to employee surveys and focus group inputs.

What is key here is the establishment of what is desirable by ALL top leaders and opening a discussion of how to get there given perceptions that might as well be (and they were in this case) facts.

Of course once the light bulb comes on the work is just beginning but The 180 Rule can bring consensus and focus.

Learn more at

Author: Al Lucia
The 180 Rule: Using a Natural Phenomenon to Achieve Success
The 180 Rule for Leadership Coaching

The Power of Awareness – at a Time When it is Most Needed by Nancy Barlett

I bet many of you, or someone you know, have had the scary experience of being out of work now or in the recent past. And try as you might, frustration with the job hunt can turn into exhaustion and perhaps even a lack of confidence. Some of my clients have experienced that, and I have coached them to take a different approach using The 180 Rule. Just this week, I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of unemployed professionals who are involved in networking, supporting each other and cheering when someone announces an upcoming interview and even better – a job offer! It was very inspiring to be among such a positive and forward-facing group of people.

I was facilitating my “Thinking and Creativity” program and introduced The 180 Rule to them as part of that presentation. I asked them to brainstorm this question: “If you wanted to completely fail at your job search, if you wanted to be completely unaccountable for finding your next opportunity, what would you do?” They dove right in and identified those actions with no hesitation! Stay home, blame the economy, blame the interviewer, don’t update the resume, don’t update our skills, do no networking whatsoever, make a lot of spelling and grammatical errors in the resume, show up late for the interview … well, you get it. There was the Negativity Bias in action. And here’s the thing: there was awareness in the room that some of those things just might be happening, particularly when there are more “No, thank you” responses than interviews scheduled. But the beauty of The 180 Rule is you discover what might have been a blind spot. You now see what you may have been doing to inadvertently hinder your progress, and you have a specific area where you can apply a fix-it attack and turn results around!

The Bartlett Alliance works with clients to discover their true potential and gain a new perspective, enhancing their performance and results.

Learn more at

Nancy Bartlett
Author: The 180 Rule for Accountability

Want to Partner up and do Some Ice Dancing? by Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S.

Takeaways on how to Speak For Yourself without having to do intricate lifts on a pair of ice skates –

The recent golden Olympic performance by ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White made it look easy. You might even think, “I can do that.”

Kind of reminds me of a beautiful flock of ducks gliding in a lake. Looks effortless above the water, while feet are peddling like crazy underneath.

Illusion vs. Reality

Davis and White practiced for seventeen years to create an illusion at the Iceberg Skating Palace. Sally Jenkins, columnist for The Washington Post writes, “Their fleet, whirling performance of “Scheherazade” was just a masquerade for two athletes straining to do something unimaginably hard: win in a sport historically dominated by Russians and Canadians, on Russian home ice.”

The illusion: Easy, smiles, woman enchanted by Persian king, regal love.

The reality: High stakes pressure, grueling hard work, torturous discipline, extreme nervousness.

Many of our Speak For Yourself® clients, including CEOs, knock on our door to overcome nervousness. The takeaways from this Olympic performance on how to speak for yourself with power and presence:

• Easy performance results from lots of practice
• Lots of practice creates muscle memory
• Muscle memory adds to your confidence
• Confidence reduces nervousness and enhances your gravitas
• Gravitas produces results

What if Davis and White had applied The 180 Rule to achieve gold? They would’ve asked, “What would we do if we didn’t want to compete in the Olympics?” … and then they would’ve avoided those things! They proceeded to work hard, vision excellence, remain disciplined, and create an illusion based on pragmatic reality.

Learn more at

Author: Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S.
The 180 Rule for Powerful Presentations

Success in Connecting by Stu Schlackman

The Art of Connecting with others is probably one of the greatest skills we can develop. The problem most people have is that they communicate and try to connect with friends, clients, co-workers from “their” perspective and not the perspective or style of the other person. Think about it, how do you prefer to communicate with someone? Do you like to listen and ask questions, or do you prefer to do most of the talking. What about the other person, what’s their preference? The 180 Rule will help you connect in a more meaningful way by taking advantage of our natural tendency toward a negative bias and flips our perspective 180 degrees. By asking what we would do if we wanted to fail at connecting with others, we can then examine what we are doing or are perceived to be doing that may be preventing success.

So what are some of the characteristics of poorly connecting with others? You would probably not want to maintain eye contact. You would most likely not listen, you can easily interrupt the other person’s train of thought by taking over the conversation and leave no room for their feedback. Now that we know what won’t work, let’s turn it around and see what does work. First question you might ask yourself is what type of personality am I dealing with? Is the person one who likes to do the talking or asking questions. Will you listen with purpose to understand what they are really saying and maintaining eye contact will help you understand what their gestures are truly meaning. Ask questions to expand and better understand their point of view.

The bottom line is to be present, listen with purpose and understand what’s most important to the other person – their perspective.

Learn more at

Author: Stu Schlackman
The 180 Rule for the Art of Connecting

Ketchup and the 180 Rule for Innovation by Bud Taylor


How can I frustrate people?  How can I interrupt a family meal with anger and a sore wrist?  How can I cause my children to melt down in a fast food restaurant?

I’ve got it!  Put thick ketchup in a standard glass bottle with a narrow neck.  Success.

But what if I were an Innovator?  What if I wanted to see happy people, families, and children?  What would I do?

I’d use the 180 Rule for Innovation.  I’d flip the frustrations and turn them into delights.

Learn more at

Author: Bud Taylor
The 180 Rule for Innovation