The Harvard Business Review has an article out today from Neal J. Roese on "5 Steps to Help Yourself Recover from a Setback" that focuses on counterfactual thinking and how it can be applied to help you rebound from a business or other setback.
Mr. Roese explores a different way of thinking, leading yourself through five questions about your recent setback that you can use to stimulate counterfactual thinking, which will hopefully "ease the pain of the setback and position you to do better next time."
The five steps, which Mr. Roese explains in more depth in the article, are
- Imagine a better outcome, Part 1
- Imagine a better outcome, Part 2
- Imagine a different path leading to the same outcome
- Imagine the same path leading to a different outcome
- Imagine a worse outcome
Using these steps allows you to avoid bias and self-blame when looking at your setback. They also allow you to look at what Mr. Roese explains is "an enlarged, nuanced picture of the failure" to allow you to see what the true causes were of the setback. In using these steps, you are given a way to plan for future occurrences and use this experience to improve your future performance.
As many of the businesses I represent prepare for year end reviews and 2017 planning, examining the setbacks they encountered throughout the year can be one of the most useful ways to grow your business and prepare for the future. Utilizing these five steps, businesses can use counterfactual thinking to add more depth to their review of 2016 and planning for the future.