Peter J. Jessen

"Goals Per Action" Success Consultant · · 9931 SW 61st Ave., Portland, OR 97219 · Tel: 503.977.3240 · Fax: 503.977.3239

19.  LISTS for achieving success by raising your Adversity Quotient
In his book Adversity Quotient:  Turning Obstacles into Opportunities, Paul G. Stoltz introduces us to his concept of AQ, measures how one responds to adversity.  Most respond to adversity in one of three ways:  by quitting ("quitters"), by settling ("campers"), or by resisting it and continuing on to one's goal ("climbers").  Adversity takes place on three levels: individually, workplace, and societal.  "AQ is a new conceptual framework for understanding and enhancing all facets of success" (p. 7,).  The higher the AQ for a person or an organization, the greater the competitive advantage and the greater the ability to persevere through continuous change" (p. 277). 
Follow CO2RE (pp. 106-114):  Control, Origin and Ownership, Reach, and Endurance to gain control (empower self) over adversity, gain appropriate perspective on the adversity (see light at the end of the tunnel), including taking appropriate responsibility, in order to limit the reach (impact) and endurance (perceived control) of adverse events.  The book is based on over 500 studies since the landmark work of Martin Seligman on "learned helplessness" (considered by the American Psychological Association to be the Landmark Theory of the Century, as it explains why people give up or stop short of their goals, be they leaders or followers). 
This theory, and how it can be used to overcome the feeling of helplessness, is the "most significant ingredient in the formation of AQ" (p. 54).  Learned helplessness "is simply internalizing the belief that what you do does not matter, sapping one's sense of control" (p. 55).  In his book Learned Optimism:  How to Change Your Mind and Your Life, Seligman explains how to get out of "learned helplessness". 
In his book Adversity Quotient, Paul Stoltz shows how to raise AQ immediately, such that it can generate instant results which can be made permanent.  AQ takes the person from "learned helplessness" (the definitive barrier to empowerment) to "learned optimism," which yields empowerment. 
The three building blocks of AQ are cognitive psychology (how one responds influences effectiveness/performance/success); neurophysiology (response habits can be interrupted and instantly changed); and psychoneuroimmunology (how one responds impacts on health).  The good news:  habits can be changed instantaneously.  To keep the new habit requires practice.  One gets from helplessness and hopelessness to hopefulness and helpfulness in three stages (see below).  Life’s bottom line:  life is hard.  How you handle it determines your destiny.  Thus, AQ provides "a mechanism to fortify ourselves and those around us to break free of the cycle of despair and begin to reignite the essential element of hope.  …  With it, there are no limits to what we can do.  It all begins with you--the individual--and your ability to get past the adversity" (p. 287). 
•  List of 3 stages, p. 285-287:  (1) Dreaming the Dream (higher AQs allow imaging of greater possibilities); (2) Making the Dream the Vision (higher AQs take action on the dream, recognizing the need to separate out the possible realties and sacrifices and then work accordingly; and (3) Sustaining the Vision (able to continue the ascent of the climb without being distracted or taken off the path; higher AQs are fueled by the relentless effort required to forge ahead. 
•  List of 15 levels of profiles reflecting AQ from low to high, pp. 128-137. 
•  Low:  "It's all my fault, and I couldn't help it.  Everything's falling apart, it'll never change, and there's nothing I can do about it.  Someone had better come in and pick up the pieces."
•  High:  "I can see what went wrong and how I could do a better job next time.  I am accountable for dealing with this, so I look forward to taking immediate action to limit both the reach of the adversity and how long this difficult situation will endure, while learning from the challenge."
•  List of 22 ways to destroy your follower's AQs  (pp. 260-263)

  1.  Always promise more than you can deliver.
  2.  Be consistently inconsistent.
  3.  Remember:  There's always a downside to everything.
  4.  Model victimhood.
  5.  Dodge any incoming bullets from external forces.
  6.  Give lip service to accountability and responsibility
  7.  Ignore any potential contribution to the team's success
  8.  Help your team see setbacks for what they are--major failures
  9.  Frame success as a freak accident
10.  Torpedo humor at all costs.
11.  Sap their strength.
12.  Crush creativity.
13.  Punish all attempts at independence, swiftly and severely.
14.  Dismantle any hope or optimism.
15.  Surround your Climbers with Campers.
16.  Set your team up for failure.
17.  Reward them for playing by the rules.
18.  Construct a rigid, stark, colorless environment.
19.  Uproot enthusiasm before it can grow.
20.  Press everyone to create a mission and vision, then forget about it.
21.  Provide responsibility with no authority
22.  Use "empowerment" as a weapon to get them to do more with less.

•  List of 44 ways to boost your follower's AQs   (pp. 264-273)

Purpose - Why we are here

  1.  Define the mountain.
  2.  Consistently articulate an uplifting, inspirational, and optimistic vision.
  3.  Align all systems to the mountain
  4.  Create a climbing culture that aligns your team's mountain with the organization's.
  5.  Align individual and organizational purposes.
  6.  Make success a journey, not a pill.
   Values - Strengthening AQ-Related Values
  7.  Promise only what you can deliver, then deliver it -- no matter what.
  8.  Integrate persistence, resilience, and continuous improvement into  your core values.
  9.  Model your driving values consistently.
   10.  Let empowerment be the result of trust, communication, and genuine commitment.
   Climate - Creating an Environment That Fosters High AQ
   11.  Inject humor regularly a way to keep perspective and health.
   12.  Reward and model personal balance.
   13.  Foster creativity.
   14.  Point out and nurture moments of synergy and collaboration.
   15.  Construct and maintain an open, lively, synergistic environment.
   16.  Grab any opportunity to grow enthusiasm.
   17.  Live by the self-fulfilling prophecy.
   18.  Establish support for the ascent.
   People - Finding and Developing Climbers
   19.  Hire and create a high AQ climbing team.
   20.  Find and provide the resources to get the job done.
   21.  Demonstrate and clarify team members' individual importance to the whole.
   22.  Help team members recognize and develop their strengths and minimize their weaknesses.
   23.  Allow people to run with ideas that do not threaten the survival of others.
   24.  Always ask for input and commitment.
   25.  Nurture and celebrate mastery.
   Message - Strengthening the Meaning of AQ
   26.  Glorify past struggles-turned-successes.
   27.  Acknowledge relevant, heartfelt contributions to the ascent.
   28.  Create the stuff of high AQ folklore.
   29.  Point out and celebrate high AQ success stories.
   30.  Use the language of the climb (mountain climbers, campers, quitters).
   31.  Prove that the impossible isn't.
   Coaching toward a high AQ
   32.  Help your employees fight their own battles.
   33.  Establish and enable genuine accountability and responsibility.
   34.  Ask for and reward appropriate risks, even if they result in belly flops.
   35.  Reward your team for results over rules.
   36.  Compartmentalize adversity.
   37.  Raise the bar to enable your team to jump.
   38.  Ask your team, "What are the greatest obstacles to your success?
   39.  Teach people "If you don't ask, you don't get."
   40.  Praise the person, criticize the behavior.
   41.  No victims, only volunteers.
   42.  Use the LEAD (listen, explore, analyze do) sequence to boost the AQ of your self and others (members of your family, co-workers, subordinates/superiors, colleagues, etc.):
  Do something, i.e., act. 
   43.  Use Stoppers! To erase catastrophizing as an option.  [Examples:  shout stop; focus on the unrelated; snap rubber band on wrist:  snap out of it; distract with the unrelated; alter state with exercise;
   44.  Define, measure, discuss, and nurture
  •  List of 5 distracters and three reframers for interrupting destructive personal responses so that you can alter your emotional and physical state to put you on the climb back to a higher AQ (another form of "self talk," of "as a man thinketh, so is he").