The key to building team resilience and moving past setbacks could be much simpler than we may think.
Designer Tina Roth Eisenberg--aka. swissmiss and the serial creative entrepreneur behind CreativeMornings, FRIENDS co-working studio, Tattly and TeuxDeux--knows that managing multiple teams means learning to put out multiple fires simultaneously.
Success in doing so comes down to a simple philosophy: flip it.
"When something comes our way that is seemingly a problem, I just say, 'Let's flip it'," explains Roth Eisenberg.
The "flip it" philosophy isn't about sweeping failures, mistakes or negative outcomes to the side, but instead acknowledging problem areas and applying creativity to resolve them.
The combination helps to sustain momentum among teams and projects. "I'll first say, okay this sucks. This is absolutely not what I anticipated, but I'm going to flip it on its head and make it good," she says.
Flipping it can get business out of a rut as it's essentially an opening to new possibilities--tired, negative responses are disrupted and replaced by new ideas and approaches.
Learning to flip it is not only beneficial to business, but can also reduce stress--and maybe even positively influence how we age.
While it would be unrealistic to eliminate our negative thoughts altogether, psychologists have found that dwelling on them excessively can be detrimental both mentally and physically as essential parts of a cell's DNA, its telomeres, become shortened when stressed, affecting the way cells age. In The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer researchers Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel identified several aging thought patterns: cynical hostility; rumination; pessimism; thought suppression and mind wandering.
By flipping these thought patterns to a more positive equivalent, we create a buffer against stress and depression, improving our mental and physical heath.
When we test and probe our most common thoughts and find alternatives, we begin to see how our thoughts and responses are constructed and how much control we really do have to flip things on their head.
A tool for innovation.
Flipping it can also help develop new systems, ideas, and even businesses.
For years, Roth-Eisenberg has followed the advice of musician James Murphy, "The best way to complain is to make things."
Flipping a complaint into making something new has led Roth-Eisenberg to start all of her creative businesses. Tattly, for example, came from complaining about how visually displeasing her children's temporary tattoos were. Now, artists and designers around the globe contribute to making beautiful designs for children and adults alike.
"Complaining is just a waste of energy," she says. "When I see something that really bugs me, I think, 'Okay, Tina, you either need to stop thinking about it and let it go, or you really have to do something about it.' "
A problem-solving technique.
Flipping it is also a way to bring together the entire team to solve a problem.
For example, someone in the finance team may be brought in to try flip it with a design issue - bringing with them a set of fresh eyes on limited by familiarity with a problem, project fatigue, or the constraints that sometimes come with being an expert and privy to the "right" and "wrong" way to tackle a challenge.
As Stephen R. Covey says, "Synergy is what happens when one plus one equals 10 or 100 or even 1,000. It's the profound result when two or more respectful human beings determine to go beyond their preconceived ideas to meet a great challenge."
A life-long skill.
For Roth-Eisenberg, the philosophy extends beyond the workplace and into everyday life.
"Flipping it is something I'm teaching my children--you can either complain and feel sorry for yourself, or you can channel all of that frustration into looking at the problem from different angle and turn it into something good," she concludes.
Flipping it can apply to almost anything--our work, our relationships, daily annoyances or grievances--and teaches us to broaden the world around us, as well as within. As Max Planck said, "When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change."