Play it Out
One of the things we try to promote in our teams is to ‘play it out’.
Often circumstances give us pressures and demand reactions that we weren’t expecting or prepared for. Instead of rushing headlong into a response it pays to play out the game, like a chess master.
Every move you make will call up a counter move from the other party. Each series of moves has consequences and affects your ability to manage the situation. Just like chess, trying to evaluate the various moves and their consequences 5 or 6 steps ahead will give you the chance to see the consequences of your reaction and take stock. Often the very act of even taking the time to think about these moves will be enough to stop any impulse. It may be that the instinctive reaction was the right one. Even then, having taken the time to plan ahead will have prepared you for moves 3 and 4.
In our teams we sometimes discuss these moves out loud, we have found that evaluating the possible consequences of an action with each other leads to fresh perspectives, different moves and better outcomes.