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Wrestle with your future!

CIMA’s Jackie Durham has some simple advice – shut up and move on!

April 2018

Are you wondering what a Sumo wrestler on a unicycle has to do with being a PQ? Well, let me tell you this: this image and the concept behind it might just change your life!
SUMO is an acronym, originally ‘Shut Up and Move On’; modified for a younger audience to ‘Stop, Understand, Move On’. I came across SUMO and its creator Paul McGee many years ago when the idea was not particularly well known. These days it’s big news – SUMO is used in schools and businesses across the globe.
The key principles that underpin the SUMO approach offer a simple but a very powerful tool. They’re about taking responsibility for our lives and careers, reflecting on the situations we find ourselves in and not getting bogged down by things that don’t matter. It’s about prioritising the stuff that affects the long term and letting go of things that seem important at the time but, when set in context, are not worth the stress.

Key principles:
These are principles we can use in our everyday lives, our studies and our careers to help us make the right decisions. Once you are familiar with it, the SUMO approach to decision making may offer a framework around which you can assess issues in your CIMA case study exams.
Let’s look at a couple of examples of SUMO in action. There are six key principles – the first is ‘Change your T Shirt’. This one is about taking responsibility – it’s your life, take control of it. We have to stop thinking that things just happen to us and instead reflect on our role in what’s happening and determine how we can own and change our behaviours to achieve our goals.
The SUMO explanation of principle one is as follows:
• Shut Up acting on autopilot and Move On to self-awareness.
• Shut Up blaming someone else and Move On to personal responsibility.
• Shut Up about missed opportunities, regret and stagnation. Move On to fulfilling potential, using talents and growing as a person.
• Shut Up being the passenger; Move On to being the driver.
• Shut Up speaking ‘victim’ language; Move On to speaking SUMO language.
• Shut Up wishing life would get better; Move On to making it so.
There are also seven questions that should guide our decision making and help us to cope with life’s challenges. These are:
1. Where is this issue on a scale of 1-10?
2. How important will this be in six months’ time?
3. Is my response appropriate and effective?
4. How can I influence or improve the situation?
5. What can I learn from this?
6. What will I do differently next time?
7. Can I find any positives in this situation?
If we think about these examples in terms of our accounting exams, there’s some pretty good advice here. If you fail an exam it’s not the end of the world. Undoubtedly, it might be a real blow in the short term, especially of it’s your last OT in a level, your final case study before ‘exams complete’ or the exam that would have gained you a pay rise.
However, if you use principle one and reflect on what went wrong rather than assuming you’ve been unlucky, you’ll be able to identify the steps to take to ensure a better result next time around. And if you look at the seven questions, it may feel like a disaster today but in six months’ time, this exam may be history, particularly if you work through the full set of SUMO questions.
There’s much more SUMO. Visit http://www.thesumoguy.com to learn how the concept can change positively impact your thinking and your life.
• Jackie Durham, education and training consultant, CIMA

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