We spend a lot of our time looking into problems and issues that may have arisen in our workplace or at home. Some of these are important or have significant consequences if operationally they are not dealt with efficiently.
Part of a leaders’ role is not only to ensure that stuff gets done, but also that we motivate and people around us. It is to provide positive strokes that enable people. It is about providing an environment that allows our followers to dream of the future and build their future.
However, some find this balance difficult. Being able to flip flop between vision creation, communication and challenging operational issues is tough.
An impressive view is to work on strengths to a point where weakness is irrelevant (so says Peter Drucker). Had someone said this to me when I was running a distribution business, I would have thought they were on a different planet. But in hindsight, there is value in Drucker’s thoughts. If we can visualise a world where our personal and organisational strengths outweigh our individual and organisational weaknesses, then we would be in a better place.
A whole discipline of organisational behaviour called Appreciative Inquiry supports this thought. It considers not a problem, but what could happen positively. Instead of spending time on a root cause analysis, we should spend our time in defining and rescoping what we need and want to happen.
For example – instead of focusing on ‘a delivery hasn’t arrived’ we should focus on ‘delivering our service to our client at the agreed time.’
We are in a better place. We can dream of outcomes – think of what Amazon is doing with drone home delivery. Insanity at the time of idea conception, but a reality now.
This moves the paradigm.
We can consider organisational shift now as an inquiry into possibility and not a post mortem of yesterday.
The very nature of this different method moves us to a place not of playing catch-up with a competitor but to a place of dream performance where the competition is left far behind. If you looked at your space, the same way that the Amazon development team did when they dreamt drone, what would your area do now?
Historically, consultants have used the expression ‘let’s think out of the box’ in some W1A or Thick of It way. But, can you operate this thought without visualising a box? It is time to permit people to dream.
At a personal level, dreaming is luxurious. It allows us to focus on what is critical to us at a point in time, and this opens potential. Whether you are an advocate of Freud or alternative dream theories, there is one thing for sure – dreaming is good.
How great could your future be if you dare to dream?
We can apply the same principles in how we provide feedback. You may be familiar with the sandwich model, where bad feedback is packaged with good feedback. What if we used positive language such as ‘what thing could x do to improve y?’ This type of Appreciative Inquiry is highly effective as it does not provide a threat to the person receiving the feedback.
Why do I spend some time sharing my thoughts? We are in a new world where new dynamics require us to think differently and be different.
Never has the time to dream been more critical.
Never has the opportunity to be surprising been so real.
So it is time to dream – to dream wide and to dream big and then do something about it.
The world now needs us to dream