Whether we see the glass as half full or the glass as half empty is a habit we have adopted over the course of our lifetime. While habits are entrenched, with some work habits can be malleable.
During times of stress we all have a habitual fall back positions:
- that’s risky
- we’re too small to take that on
- we have too much to do to add that too
That first knee-jerk reaction stops us in our tracks, it halts the conversation making moving forward again really tough.
Alternatively we can start to instill some new habits. Habits that will serve us and our associations better. Habits that we draw on first during times of stress.
Say Yes, And
Take an improv class and you will learn about yes, and. It is a tool for keeping the conversation going. In improv theater no matter how outlandish the speaker’s words before you were you accept them by saying yes, and and then you continue the story from there. Very recently this technique has been much talked about as a great tool for business. It helps us keep the conversation going rather than shutting it down. Using the yes, and technique allows participants to have a highly collaborative conversations. These conversations open our thinking rather than narrow or thinking, sparking creativity and creativity is extremely helpful when the outcome is uncertain and the inputs are ambiguous.
Identify Bright Spots
So often we are so focused on all the bad things happening we forget that the change we want to see is already happening. In pockets in our staff, board and within the membership there are people who are changing, innovating, experimenting, practicing. We need to find those bright spots and find out what they are doing. Then we can amplify what they are doing and perhaps use the resources of the association to help them be more successful.
Asking questions and listening is a great way of nurturing collaboration. Great coaches get their clients to think through their problems and start framing goals by asking a series of thoughtful questions and you can too. Asking questions ensures we really understand what the other person is saying. Asking questions lets the other person know we care about what they are saying. Asking questions allows us to carefully listen before guiding the conversation.
When we practice these tactics everyday we will develop the habit of using them and we’ll be more likely to draw on them during times of stress. Are your current habits shutting down the conversation or are they opening up the conversation allowing everyone to talk about the possibilities?