E + R = O

E + R = O

November 5, 2013 – About a decade ago, someone came up with a novel way for people to promote a particular belief or to advance a personal cause or organization about which they felt strongly.

Silicone wrist bands.

Part fashion statement and part statement PERIOD, wearing one was a creative way to tell others how you felt about something without being “too preachy” while also helping you identify kindred spirits along the way with whom you held shared experiences or convictions.

I personally never jumped on that bandwagon (pun intended) even though I appreciated the sentiment behind its creation.  Heck, I rarely ever even wear a watch!

But one particular silicone wrist adornment has really been on my mind quite a bit of late.

E + R = OEvent + Response = Outcome

The Ohio State Buckeye football team is presently the No. 4 ranked team in the nation.  The team currently boasts the longest winning streak in the country going 17 games in a row (two years) without a loss.

If a few more things fall into place for them during  the next few weeks, Ohio State could end up playing for the 2014 BCS National Championship in January.

(Full disclosure:  Ohio State is this author’s alma mater and he wouldn’t mind seeing OSU play Oregon in a Big Ten/Pac-12 match-up at the Rose Bowl for old time’s sake.)

The bigger story that seems to be gaining more traction with every passing week, though, may not be the team’s ranking at all. But rather the E + R = O silicone wrist bands some of the players are boasting and the story behind them.

Second year head coach Urban Meyer is not just teaching football X’s and O’s.  He’s fostering leadership on his team by adopting a simple formula that is a popular topic on the motivational speaking circuit:  E + R = O.

E + R = O stands for for Event + Response = Outcome.

The philosophy goes something like this:

You cannot control an Event that comes your way

You CAN control your Response to that event

Your Response to the Event determines your Outcome

And at Ohio State, one leader’s R becomes another player’s E which then creates a new leadership opportunity.  The cycle continues feeding upon itself as one success begets another success.  And so on.

Next thing you know, the Buckeyes are undefeated and contending for a championship despite having a relatively young group of players.

Beyond Football

Short, sweet and a lot of fun to think about, this formula has implications well beyond the football field, however.  In our practice, we can find applications nearly everywhere we turn.

In mediation:  How will Party A respond to Party B’s “unreasonable” offer/demand (the Event)?  How will the mediator’s Response influence the Outcome?

In settlement discussions:  Will a plaintiff choose a structured settlement if offered (the Event)?  Or reject it (the Response) out of hand despite strong anecdotal evidence that all cash settlements can dissipate very rapidly (the Outcome) leaving them without money after a short while?

In retirement decision making:  Will someone getting ready to retire (Event) roll his/her 401k balance into some type of annuity (Response) that will provide guaranteed cash flows they can never outlive (Outcome)?  Or will they have a different response?

For more than 20 years, I have personally assisted people who Responded to the unplanned Event in their lives (an accident) by choosing a structured settlement when their claim resolved as a means of helping to secure their long-term financial Outcome.

Spend enough time thinking about it and you can see the formula’s impact on almost every facet of your own life.

So whatever your profession or status in life, next time something unexpected comes your way, think about how your response, not the event itself, will ultimately determine what happens next.

And if you’re so inclined, go ahead and yell “Go Bucks!” while you’re at it.  Some of us will get it.

“O – H . . . “


2 Responses to “E + R = O”

  1. Brian Kight says:

    Love the post Dan! You’ve quickly & skillfully picked up the simplicity of using E + R = O. Your application for your clients is spot on. They’re lucky to have someone who really gets it because it’s easy to mismanage the R, despite being so simple.

    Keep up the great work & let us know if we can get you some official OSU team wristbands for the Finn team/clients.


    • Dan Finn says:

      Thanks so much Brian. I just ordered some bands and look forward to showing them off at The Rose Bowl come January! I-O

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