Reframing and Process Optimization: See things from a different perspective

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Change the frame, see things from a new perspective, and streamline your processes. Concrete tips from practice!


Here writes for you:

Professor Dr. Martin-Niels Däfler Best of HR –®Prof. Dr. Martin-Niels Däfler teaches at the University of Economics and Management (FOM) in Frankfurt am Main.


From the author:




Conflict management in everyday life

In this garage is drive We have a very narrow garage. This means that if I want to get in or out, I have to concentrate so that the mirrors remain intact. Annoying? All a question of perspective.

Precision work. At first I cursed. Such a nuisance! I have to get out of the house urgently, and then I can only drive out of the garage at a snail's pace. But then I remembered a technique from conflict management, the application of which is particularly appropriate if you can not turn off the cause of mental stress.

With slow mode from the garage

Since then, I see the exit from the garage in a very different light. I'm being forced to slow down, come down, slow down.

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So I move into slow mode before it goes on the road. This is not only best suited to avoid accidents, but also a nice opportunity to pause for a moment. In short: I try to see the positive aspects.


This technique is also called reframing, new framing or reference transformation. Similar to how a picture frame can determine whether a work of art pleases the viewer or not, trying to see a situation in a different context (or “frame”) can change the judgment significantly.

By reinterpreting one situation or one event it becomes another Sense assigned by trying to find positive explanations for problematic behavior.

Traceable reasons have

One should therefore search for comprehensible reasons for the behavior of the counterpart, or for a protracted situation and then act accordingly. Here are two examples to make clear what is meant.

  • Example 1: The researchers at 3M originally wanted to develop a super glue. But the result of their efforts had exactly the opposite properties: the adhesive was adhesive and removable. However, this was not considered a failure. The framework has been changed. One asked oneself: How can this “mistake” be used? The post-it note was born.
  • Example 2: colleague Müller is never willing to compromise. He stubbornly goes his way and often gets into conflict. Instead of constantly engaging in arguments, one might ask: “Doesn't persistence have advantages? Where could we use Müller to our advantage? ” In some projects, persistence and perseverance is an important success factor.

So try to reinterpret a predicament or negative behavior in the future! But reframing also helps you in quite different areas: namely in process optimization.

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A quick look is enough

Let me start with an anecdote. Every year in late summer the same picture: The garden furniture is packed away and allowed to rest until spring.

In order to protect our artificial rattan furniture from snow and ice, I put it under the eaves as far as possible. The problem: too much space is not available, so I have to nestle chair, multi-seater and table so somehow space-saving.

Process optimization: Zig different choices

This is not as trivial as it may sound. Zig possibilities are there. When we purchased the garden furniture combination a couple of years ago, it took me some time to work out the best solution - by trial and error.

Finally, I had found a winter storage option that required the least area. So that I did not have to spend hours trying again the following autumn, whether the couch is better left lower or upper right, I have just made a photo of the arrangements. So I just have a quick look at the picture, and I know how to arrange armchairs and co.

The garden furniture method

So this is the “garden furniture method”: Use the various possibilities that photos offer, and not only in the sense of “building instructions”, but in general to make things clear or document them. Here are a few examples:

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  • If you want your staff to be more organized in the workplace or in the break rooms, then show some shots you've taken of particularly chaotic desks (without, of course, violating personal rights or exposing anyone).
  • If you report on the reopening of a branch in Kuala Lumpur at the company meeting, then you present photos of the buildings and the employees working there via the beamer.
  • If you want to make it clear to your customers that you attach great importance to quality in all process steps, you can bring a few pictures showing how carefully you pack the goods for transport.
  • If you see another company's information stand at a congress in the foyer and think: “This is how we could present ourselves”, then pick up your smartphone and take a picture of it, which you can then send to your marketing department for inspiration.
  • If you have parked in a large underground car park, you can take a picture of your car with your mobile phone camera so that you can remember the exact location with the help of the photo.

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