An Effective Approach To Change

When we are looking at change…whether personal change or organisational change, many of us take a deficit approach. We focus on what isn’t working, what is going wrong, what we need to make it better.

Yet taking our weaknesses and making them into strengths is the hardest gap to bridge. It’s hard to build the necessary skills in things that don’t come naturally to us. It’s also challenging to stay motivated, committed and engaged. How many of us feel excited about doing more of something we aren’t good at?

So whether you are thinking about your New Year’s Resolution or changes you are making in your professional work or business, why not try a different approach?

Rather than focusing on what’s wrong, identify where things are working really well and then look for ways to leverage it so it happens more often.

I was working with a team recently, who initially had great difficulty finding examples of when they worked well together. Eventually with lots of probing questions they identified a demanding project with a tight timescale where they had pulled out all the stops, worked really well, communicated effectively and supported each other to meet the deadline. Once we had that, we could identify all the elements involved and agree how they could replicate that in other areas of their work together. Remembering and visualising how it felt to be working hard, but effectively as a team, and the sense of accomplishment they felt also re-enforced their desire to create that environment more frequently.

Next time you are considering changes and setting goals how about considering:

  • When are you at your best?
  • When you are at your best how do you know? What do others see?
  • When have you been at your best, even for a moment?
  • How you can use that experience now?

Happy learning and Happy New Year

5 Responses to An Effective Approach To Change

  • Sound advice Julie-In my own experience of leading others people come alive and shine when you focus on what they’re good at rather than picking out their faults and areas of improvement and effort spent honing our strengths delivers far greater returns than any time given over to fixing our weaknesses. As energetic beings with minds, bodies and spirits we need to focus on what we love to do that way we begin to get energised and into creative flow . Of course, first we need to get the right work and life balance

  • As a proponent of Positive Organizational Scholarship, I could not agree more with what POS terms, “positive deviance.” I understand that many times when people hear of any focus on the positive, they falsely assume that means problems are ignored. For me and my understanding, I would state that problems are an outcome that a goal has not been correctly applied. As in POS literature and from my work in social work with concepts such as strength-based case management, building on the positive or strengths can give a great foundation for building upon. As well, a focus on strengths or positive abilities that may be lacking works much better from my experiences then being stuck on problem solving or justice seeking. The mind tends to focus on what it is focused upon and cognitive recall tends to bring up clusters of thoughts surrounding what is focused upon. Hence, focus on a problem brings up clusters of negative or problematic ideas verses focus on solutions or positive outcomes brings up like minded clusters of ideas.



    • Thanks for adding to, and expanding the discussion Dale. I agree that it’s sometimes assumed that this approach ignores problems. It’s much more about creating a strong foundation for productive and positive work rather than blaming and justifying.

  • Very insightful and very timely. Thank you

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