C.I.A Method

Imagine……. you’re in the final meeting to gain approval for a new strategic initiative.  You’ve been working on it for months and there have been dozens of meetings with the senior team, reviewing all options before launch. Countless hours have been spent by not only yourself but by your team to kick off this initiative. You walk into the meeting expecting that all you need to do is dot a few i’s and cross a few t’s before rolling out the project. Instead you get hit with a tsunami of new ideas and a change in direction.

Then it happens.

Cancelation of the initiative and months of hard work waisted.

As a coach, I help clients process these types of setbacks.  One of the tools I share to manage disappointment is a simple yet powerful one. One that helps them to clarify their thoughts and feelings so they can more quickly put their best foot forward and come to resolution.

I call it the C.I.A. Method.

C.I.A. stands for:




Are there things I can control? Do I have all of facts? What assumptions am I making? If I do have control, how do use it without hurting key relationships? Although we may think we do, most of the time we don’t have control of anything but ourselves.

Are there things I can influence by helping another see a different perspective? What can I say to open up perspectives and remove preconceived ideas? How do I leverage relationships to greater influence?

What do I need to accept? If you’re struggling to accept something how can you communicate that using facts so that others understand your perspective and concerns?

It’s important to identify the things you can control. And for most of us, that means the control of our attitude, behavior, and decisions. And, there are many things at work that we simply must just accept. Sometimes we need to share how we are feeling with a trusted colleague or friend that we are having difficulty accepting something to help us move on.

One of the best things we can do is to accept the things that we need to and to not waste time or energy on trying to change something that is frankly unchangeable.

Using this process in your professional and personal life will improve your communication, strengthen your relationships, and reduce stress. You won’t make as many assumptions. You’ll clarify and confirmed understanding. You’ll asked more probing questions and listen deeply for understanding. And the bonus? You’ll let sh*t go more quickly.

Using this method will also help you to objectively look at a situation or decision that is difficult. When you take a few moments to understand how your assumptions and beliefs unconsciously influence your thinking, you make more clearly informed decisions or actions and take more deliberate actions.

Article written by Christine Noffz.

Our BenchStrength Coaches have all successfully navigated the tides of corporate. Through the use of coaching, tools such as this one, and assessments, we help our clients to become much more effective leaders.  If you, or your organization, would like to level up your leadership, contact us for more information today.