Shifting Focus to the Bright Spots

When we consider how we move the meter on change within organizations, human nature often leads us to focus on the things that are broken, right?? Let’s fix the inconsistencies…let’s align the misalignments. Unfortunately, that’s often the least productive model.  

To generate movement quickly, the focus needs to be on our “bright spots”.  Bright spots are places where things are going really well.  However, our instinct (and human nature) is to focus on the “hot spots”- the irritations that feel the most prevalent and painful.

To get a better picture of hot spots, think of our furry friends – our dogs and cats.  When Fido or Fiona has an itty bitty irritation, he or she starts to pick, lick or scratch at it almost obsessively.  They continue to give it attention and only make that small irritation worse, quickly turning it into a festering wound.  Likewise, at work, when we focus on what’s not working it’s very easy to get sucked into scratching at that small irritation, which makes the small to mid-size problems feel so much larger than they really are.  I’m not saying ignore the very real problems; however, creating buy-in to fix the problem because it feels the worst is not the most productive way to make change.

When trying to make changes in the culture it’s imperative to walk through what’s really working!  Identify success, look at which groups are knocking it out of the park - those are the bright spots where we create energy and engagement.  Looking for more ways to do this?  Consider taking some advice from GloboForce:

  • Emphasizing your core values: According to experts: “an organization that reinforces its core values is more likely to reach the kind of growth and success that nearly all businesses seek.” (Gallagher, 2003). Values which are simply imposed will not thrive. Values that are practicable and absorbable lead to impact.
     
  • Turn the blame game into the praise game: Help turn the negativity that can accompany change into positivity by encouraging employees to catch each other doing something right.
     
  • Stop the brain drain: One of the leading indicators of a coming failure is the departure of key leaders and managers from the company. This destabilizes the lower ranks and drains confidence—opening the door further for an exodus of your top talent. Make sure you are listening and responding to the concerns of this important bellwether group, and communicating those issues up the chain of command.
     
  • Find your biggest influencers and encourage their buy-in: Learn to identify those employees who are your most influential workers and managers, (Hint: peer-to-peer recognition data is a great way to do this) and spend extra time educating them, increasing their confidence and earning their enthusiasm. Their attitude will cause a ripple effect.
     
  • Facilitate communication across groups and divisions: Encourage the forging of relationships across the boundaries. Make it possible for employees to recognize and appreciate their counterparts in other buildings and countries and watch those bonds begin to strengthen—and with them, your merger.

Written by Sheila Repeta