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Don't tell me what I can't do. Tell me what I can do!!

11 Nov 2015

 

When you have an idea or someone suggests one to you, what's your first thought? Do you look for a reason to go through with that idea? Or do you look for reasons not to?
 
It seems common practice in everyday life that we look for reasons not to do things. Is it an English thing? Maybe a British thing? Maybe just a human thing? I wonder if it's because we are always told what we can't do rather than what we can do. It starts when we are children, don't do that, don't touch that and then from written notices starting with the warning "do not" to debates about whether a footballer should be picked to play for England. You hear it in conversation and you read it in the media.

 

"Well he's scored 30 goals and played really well all season but he doesn't do this very well......."
 

I was unfortunate enough to sit in on a company's team brief a couple of weeks back. A manager standing in front of more than twenty employees. With morale already low due to increased workloads and a refusal to replace already departed staff the audience looked on as the manager said that he'd been to a meeting with his director and overall was told how well things were going in the office. Brilliant, they were doing well, surely a great way to boost morale, but rather than focus on what specifically was being done so well it was straight to the negatives even though it was clear that there were far many more positives. The already slumped shoulders just got a bit lower amongst the team. Attention waivered and mutterings began. From that point there was no possible way that anything constructive could come out of that meeting.
 
Now i'm not saying ignore the negatives and the shortcomings. But surely it makes sense to focus on the good things. What processes you're doing well and why they are going well. For one thing it grabs the attention of the audience. Gets them into a proactive and constructive frame of mind. Most importantly it presents an opportunity to apply those methods and mindsets on the negatives and give yourself a good chance of putting those things right, together, as a team.
 
If it works then it makes the next team brief a whole lot easier.

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