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The 180 rule

Written by Ed Callahan on January 14, 2016

IDS Issues Solving Issues

Image of the book, "The 180 Rule"In film making, the 180-degree rule is a basic guideline regarding the on-screen spatial relationship between a character and another character or object within a scene. However, I recently learned about a 180-degree rule which can  be applied to business.

I learned it from Rich Lucia who has built his speaking and consulting brand around the term Selling in the Now. Rich has applied the knowledge we have about our lizard brain, the amygdala, and it’s bias towards negativity, to harness it in a positive way in brainstorming and solution creation.

Using the 180 Rule for Creative Problem Solving

You've been in brainstorming meetings where you are challenged to be creative and innovative, right? If you're like me, sometimes your mind goes blank. Here is where Rich applies what he calls the 180 Rule. Since our lizard brain makes it easy to think negatively, Rich suggests that we attempt to answer the opposite question to whatever we're trying to solve.

Here's an example. Sales are off! What are we going to do to increase sales? Silence. Rich asks instead, what can we do if we wanted to ensure that sales continue to go down? Huh? But the beauty is that the answers flow more easily.

Here are some things to we can do to keep sales from growing:

  • Don’t train our sales people
  • Don’t replace unsuccessful sales people
  • Make it difficult to glean product and pricing information from our web site
  • Have a  commission disincentive plan
  • Don’t keep our product or service competitive with the market

You get the idea. But amazingly, the negativity bias gets the juices flowing. Ideas abound. And then it's a simple thing to do the inverse. In fact, most people start laughing (or crying) when they realize they've been doing some of the negative things that prevent sales.

Try this methodology out. It’s simple and works. If you need help, reach out to Rich Lucia. He has a website, called the 180 Rule Series, with a series of books that show how to apply the 180 Rule to business development, employee recognition, and more. Tell him I sent you.

Next Steps

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