Our experiences shape us – Abby Hunt’s view, using the View – Action – Result model

Posted on: 06/04/2022

Our experiences shape us; I remember doing a 360-degree assessment almost 20 years ago as a manager of a group of psychologists. It was my first experience which ended in me feeling as though I had been kicked in the guts! It resulted in me feeling inadequate and resentful of my team and ultimately forming a view that 360-degree surveys were harmful. This view meant that I did my best to avoid doing anymore assessments and ultimately rejecting my results or at least the parts that weren’t favourable. This impact lead to me being closed to feedback, unable to grow and my team feeling resentful. (Represented in the VAR Model Below) Once I realised I wanted a different result, one where I was learning, growing and making a positive leadership impact I started exploring my results.

My results indicated I was too nice and ultimately my team didn’t respect that. What the heck did that mean I was too nice? So, I need to be less nice? While most workplaces would then send someone like me on an assertive communication course to help improve my communication; my coach and mentor knew that skills training would not make a bit of difference unless I understood the view that was underpinning my behaviour.

As a psychologist I was acutely aware that this had something to do with my past, probably my parents (it always seems to point back to them), and the views I had around speaking up. Delving into the memory files of my mind I was able to identify an activating event that ‘shaped’ me. The view that I formed around speaking up was pretty powerful. “When you speak up you hurt people” – when I explored this further it was clear that when I had this view it meant that it shaped my actions- i.e. if I was worried my opinion or comment would hurt people I would just keep it to myself; this resulted in resentment on my end, but also frustration from others. (VAR Model Below)

In order to get a meaningful shift in our capability areas we must access the View behind our actions. For example if our data tells us we need to delegate more, we don’t need a course on how to delegate, we all know how to ask someone to do something, it’s the underlying view that prevents us from asking for help; “what if they stuff it up?; no one can do it as good as me; I don’t want to lump more work onto others; I don’t want people to hate me”. It’s not until we truly identify this view and commit to changing it that we will see any shift at all.

My ‘view of 360-degree feedback assessments’ is a positive one now, and I use them a lot with my coaching partners. I love the VAR model and explore this with each developmental area they have. Once we are clear on what result we want, we work backwards, by understanding what actions are going to lead to that new result but more importantly what view or thought we need to have in order to create long lasting meaningful changes in our behaviour. Its powerful and it works!!

Written by Abby Hunt, BSc.(Psychology)

Managing Director, Veraison