Few organizations know how to manage change well. The traditional approach is to focus on the failures, define the problems and fix what's broken. The problem with this approach is that whatever we put our attention on is what grows.
When we focus on problems, mistakes and limitations, our limitations grow. When we focus on new possibilities, the possibilities grow. It is infinitely more productive and exciting to focus on new possibilities than to look at all the mistakes of the past.
Most people recognize that when we continuously criticize children, they develop an inferiority complex. What most people don't know is that the same is true of organizations. When people continuously critique the organization, work processes and each other, an inferiority complex develops and low energy is the norm. An unconscious air of disempowerment keeps people from taking risks and being innovative.
When our attention is on our problems and shortcomings we tend to find what we are looking for. Many people can spell out every nuance of what's wrong with each department and each individual. They make the mistake of thinking that being well versed in all our limitations and all the inefficiencies makes us look clever.
We can move our organizations forward when we focus on the present and future instead of the past. Surely our problems need attention. But when we put too much attention on weaknesses and mistakes, they become overly important. When a problem is resolved, the good feeling that results soon has us looking for another problem to overcome. Fixing problems can be euphoric and often people become addicted to the high. The danger is that then we need to find new and more difficult problems to resolve.
We have the choice of focusing on what's wrong or turning our attention to what's going well, the things in the organization we wish to grow. When we look for instances of people doing good work, we're looking for trends moving in the right direction instead of the wrong direction. The direction we are looking in is most often where we will end up. Each of us has the power to decide. We do not have to be a victim of problems or the past. We can end the ancient habit pattern of letting your past eat up your present and future. This is not an easy task. It requires habit formation, decision and constant reminders until habits change.
Suggestions for focusing on your desired future:
When you look for life-giving forces, you bring out the best in people. Instead of using traditional problem-solving processes that separate, dissect and pull apart, look for the things you appreciate which integrate and pull people together. By focusing on aspirations and ideals, the proverbial glass won't be half empty or half full, but overflowing.
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