I’ve got a good question for you. It’s a lovely question to answer, so ... if you can ... clear your head of immediate distractions and take some time to consider:
Write a list.
You can include the personal along with the professional: what you’re great at, what’s proving to be really successful, what’s making you happy, and what unexpected delights the world’s throwing at you or your business right now.
I hope that felt good.
How often do you do this? Probably not nearly often enough but it’s a great thing to do. Not just to give you a spring in your step for the next hour or so, but to give you a valuable, ruthless perspective on what you ought to be focusing on and building on to nurture the good stuff in life.
All too often in business (and in life in general) we focus on the question “what’s wrong?” and then use much of our time and energy worrying over the negatives. I’m not saying there’s no value in being honest and brave when appraising what we’re doing, but fixing what seems to be broken isn’t the only way to move forward.
One of the most unexpectedly productive and upbeat sessions we’ve ever run at Leading Ideas was with a notoriously anxious and downbeat team. We had mapped all kinds of exercises for a session designed to tackle some really entrenched business problems but, reviewing the plan, there was a problem. Just the thought of keeping the atmosphere light and hopeful left us feeling exhausted. The start of the session would be critical in setting the tone, so we kicked off by asking them “what’s going really well at the moment?”
There was a pretty nerve-wracking silence and some blank looks before, gradually, the answers came. It was like a door to possibility had been opened. Evidence of where they were collaborating well, what their customers loved about them, quirky unexpected successes, and moments in their working life that made them smile lifted weight from their shoulders.
We dropped much of our original plan that day. We realised that there would be far more benefit in building on success than picking over problems with an already beleaguered team. We didn’t solve every problem in that one session but we did pick out a few quick wins to set the team on the right path. For example, when analysing the impressive impact of a recent campaign they'd had little notice to plan, the group realised that when they acted quickly and instinctively their work was bolder and more powerful than when they pored over and analysed their decisions at great length.
Overall, and most importantly, we shifted the default assumption within the group that day. It changed from “we’ll never fix this” to “we can be great”.
So ... how about making that list you made earlier even more useful? Go back to it with your team and try and make those positives ten times stronger. Ask .....
If your relationships with clients are going well, is there something you could do to totally delight them? If you’re feeling great about summer being round the corner, how could you spread that hopeful summer feeling to all your colleagues and customers?
If every week you committed to supersizing a success, you might find some of your problems fade away without you giving them a moment’s thought.