Do you have a positive thinker on your staff or Board? Keep him/her around and this is why. Like Steve Jobs, they tend to look at problems as a new opportunity.
I recently worked a training session where one of the participants was always offering suggestions. At first, I thought I might have a difficult time keeping him from dominating the discussion. But then I observed that he was a stimulus for others to offer their insights and often quite enthusiastically. I began to pay closer attention and realized he was quite a positive thinker. One participant seemed put off by his thinking. So I queried her about his input. She responded that he was in denial about how drastic the agency’s situation really was.
In a Board or staff meeting, people hear different things. It can be said that people hear what they need to hear. Therefore, if the objective is to solve a problem or crisis, and your team wants to make good things happen, it is important for that voice of the positive thinker to ring loud and clear. When things go wrong, and they will, the positive thinker sees the problem as an opportunity to succeed and leads the group to take the necessary steps to create a successful outcome.
In the training session I observed, the group was struggling with how to increase fundraising. The positive thinker offered many suggestions that resonated with the group. I left the session with small groups tackling the action steps and timeline for improving the situation. Even the doomsayer was involved. I could say this experience also helped with teamwork for these participants. We all rally to an effort to improve the situation or solve a crisis.
I should also add that it is possible to turn the switch if you straddle the fence between a positive/negative thought process. It’s possible to program your thinking so that positive thoughts are kept and negative ones discarded. You may also discover that a positive attitude blesses your own life. After all, people are drawn to those who can give them a lift and be a positive sounding board (a positive listener).
Author: Adrianne DuMond, Executive Coaches of Orange County, www.ECofOC.org