Thought Leadership Studio Podcast Episodes:

How to Change the Game by Changing the Frame

Episode Thirteen: Step outside the common assumptions of your field, business, or profession, be an effective rule-breaker, and lead your audience to new thinking.


#branding, #creativity, #innovation, #insight, #inspiration, #neurolinguisticprogramming, #nlp, #persuasion, #strategicthoughtleadership, #thoughtexperiments, #thoughtleadership

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What this episode will do for you.

  • Help open your eyes and ears to opportunities to change the game in your field, professional, or business niche.
  • Discover the leaps in progress available when you focus on the breakthroughs that are "outside the frame" instead of just incremental progress "within the frame" of the norms of your field.
  • Begin to better notice the unspoken assumptions prevalent in your your field, professional, or business niche as frameworks of thinking, many of which will be ripe for positive change. (Gain market insight).
  • Get ideas from fields like NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) and Systems Thinking to better notice then change the frames of thinking for yourself and your audience.

What is the Game You Want to Change?

Game Changing for Thought LeadershipWhat does a frame do? It draws attention to what is inside of it in a certain way.

A mental frame could be considered a belief system, belief, or mental model. A belief is a mental model that we consider and act upon as true. And there are plenty worth updating.

Strategic Thought Leadership - the primary focus of this podcast - is all about leading an audience to new, helpful thinking. This is more powerful when that thinking we aim to influence is on the level of mental models.

Mental models, AKA beliefs, are a higher level of change than knowledge. Even if someone has the knowledge, they will stop themselves from using it if they believe they can't do it. Conversely, if they strongly believe they can do something, they will obtain the necessary knowledge and skills.

A belief can be a more global paradigm like "dogs are friends of humanity". And, yes, I strongly endorse that belief. :)
Or, in the context of marketing a product or service, it can be as simple and innocuous as:
  • What purpose the product or service serves in the life of the customers.
  • What features or benefits it offers that are most relevant.
  • What criteria are most important when choosing which company to purchase it from.

Changing a belief is a higher level of change than simply adding knowledge or skills.

You can approach this with one or both of these classes of methods:
  1. Change the frame to give a fresh perspective on what's in it.
  2. Consider what is inside the frame as the norms of a field and look outside that frame for a new approach.

Stepping Outside of a Frame

  1. Think of a time you felt especially inspired or creative ... a personal peak experience of inspiration.
  2. Imagine a still shot of the scene that represents it well.
  3. Imagine this "still shot" shrunk down to a tiny black and white slide within a thick, black frame.
  4. Notice how shrinking and enclosing it that way changes your feelings. (Don't stop here!!)
  5. Now, make it much, much larger, put in an ornate frame, and full of vivid color.
  6. Imagine bright studio lights lighting it up.
  7. Notice how that makes you feel different.
  8. Contrast those two "framing" experiences- how do they feel different?
  9. Now imagine it out of the frame, more of a vivid, 3D virtual reality movie you step into and become fully immersed in
  10. Amplify the size and brightness, make it larger and brighter than life.
  11. Make sure it is a movie, with dynamic action, rather than a still picture.
  12. Recall the sounds you heard and increase the volume until it is "just right".
  13. Add powerful music that goes with the positive feelings, as if you are a theme music composer like Hans Zimmer or John Williams.
  14. Build the music up and amplify it so you are fully immersed in it as you recall the scene vividly, holding yourself the same way and even breathing the same way.
  15. How did it impact your feelings of inspiration to take this experience out of a limiting frame and expand it to full and amplified immersion?

So, yes, a frame can also be seen as filtering attention from what is outside of it. So sometimes you need to take things out of a limiting frame.

What are the game rules? They are frames the game is played within

Know the frames so you can better see what's outside the frames.

How to recognize a frame:
  • If you had to write a rulebook to teach an alien, what would it say?
  • As you review those maybe unspoken rules, which could be considered unnecessary (or even harmful) if you hadn't expected them to be there?
  • How would you redesign it if starting from scratch with no limitations?

Approaches and Disciplines for Game Changing Through Frame Changing

A Frame as a Trance State

A trance everyone is in will probably go unnoticed. That is called "consensual reality" by some.

Thought Leadership StudioDr. Milton Erickson, an early model of NLP and the father of modern hypnotherapy, used trance to put the normal habits of thinking "on temporary hold" to help his subjects access new patterns of thinking that helped them overcome self-imposed limitations and achieve their goals more quickly and easily. Working around limiting beliefs is aided by a suspension of the normal modes of thinking, hence the utility of a trance state.

When he put someone in a trance, it wasn't like they were going from "reality" to trance. They were just going from one type of trance to another. He helped them find better trances.

The NLP Perspective: Reframing

The Neuro-Linguistics method called reframing is all about changing the game by changing the frame.

As I wrote in this piece on NLP, "The ability to put a new frame around a situation can add motivational "juice" and put problems in new perspectives that lead to solutions.

"Strategic Thought Leadership uses reframing as a primary strategy. We can change the game of a market niche, profession, or industry by changing the frame about how a product is used, what a service is for, or what criteria is really important in assessing a practitioner of a particular profession, to list a few examples."

The Systems Thinking Perspective

Double Loop Learning.

  • Single loop learning is learning how to do something better within the frame.
  • Double loop learning includes also questioning the frame itself...the norms and assumptions
Practicing to get better at a sales process is single loop learning. Questioning the sales process itself and looking outside of it for better ways to gain new customers is double loop learning, which might lead to experimenting with inbound, Strategic Thought Leadership-based content marketing instead of just doing outbound sales calls ... for instance.


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Written by Chris McNeil, Strategic Thought Leadership NLP Coach and Consultant, Founder of Thaut, host of Thought Leadership Studio podcast, and Creator of the Thaut Process of Strategic Thought Leadership.

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