Leaders are skilled at identifying business issues and problems and do so continuously. Whether it’s a product launch that didn’t go as planned, a failed sales presentation, a performance review that went awry, even an email that was sent that didn’t quite hit the mark – leaders are masterful at getting to the heart of what didn’t happen the way they wanted it to and what went wrong. That’s part of what it is to be a leader – find the negatives and fix them.
What if we also started actively going on a hunt for and collecting the “pluses” – the things from small to big that worked? What if we opened an imaginary bank account, into which we were depositing instances of things that worked?
There are probably thousands of pluses happening in your business all around you every day—pluses that far outweigh the minuses. These untapped, unacknowledged pluses can be a big lever for confidence and performance in your organization. You can start to have the organization become aware of them – and get to know the greatness that is already there every day in all kinds of ways.
Regularly “finding the pluses” is a muscle to exercise and build rather than an inherent skill for most of us. Finding the pluses, even in things that didn’t go well, is something we aren’t as practiced at because it’s not that natural. And herein lies the opportunity – there are many, many things happening in your businesses every day that work. The more we bring a focus to acknowledging them – either to ourselves, or when appropriate, to others, the more we establish a foundation in our organization where people gain confidence, they learn, and it can generally contribute to a positive and productive working environment.
Acknowledging the pluses is especially critical when you are in a breakthrough game. When you sign up to play it, you don’t know how you are going to do it, and there is a very high risk in failing simply because it is not predictable. This is where finding the pluses comes in. In doing so, you are actually starting to build a case for how it can happen. You are building a reserve of “evidence” that you are finding that is already there; appreciating and acknowledging each part. In doing so, you will start to convince yourself and the organization that it can be done simply because of how much you are already capable of.
This isn’t just an exercise in positive thinking. It’s about finding genuine, authentic things to acknowledge about the progress you are making toward your organization’s goals. While it may seem a little awkward as a practice at first – especially for such high achievers – it will feed your confidence and the organization’s confidence to do things that have never been done. And it will allow you to thoroughly appreciate the journey along the way.