One of the toughest things to deal with in DI is frustrated team members. When one’s hopes and plans collide with the sharp bite of reality, frustration sets in. Tantrums, proclamations of stupidity and feelings of universal persecution often follow. If it weren’t so heart wrenching, it might be funny. I’ve included some suggestions to help teams deal with this inevitable part of trying to accomplish something.

  1. Divert Attention: You can’t usually do much of anything during the height of a frustration storm so you’ve got to divert attention to something different and positive. Suggest a snack, an improv game or an Instant Challenge. Anything that allows some separation from the offending situation will give the team member(s) a chance to calm down and come back to the situation with a little perspective.
  2. Keep Them Positive: Remind them that they have made progress solving the Challenge. Ask them to list some of the accomplishments they’ve achieved so far. Ask what’s worked or gone well for them on the frustrating problem.
  3. Define the Problem: Ask them to state what the problem is in simplest terms. Sometimes just restating what needs to be done sparks a new line of attack on the issue. Get them to clear away the noise and fluff so they can focus on what really needs to be done.
  4. Brainstorm: Ask them to come up with 10 ways they could solve the immediate problem in 2 minutes or less. I call this sort of thing an, “Instant Instant Challenge.” Just knowing there are plenty of possibilities is very comforting as well as practical.

Obviously, your mileage may vary with this kind of thing as everyone and every team is unique. If you want to annoy older teams, remind them (at every opportunity) that, “Triumph is just ‘umph’ added to try.” I don’t know what it means either, but I remember it from like 7th grade.