Be positive to solve a tough business problem
Friday, June 22, 2018
When you're trying to decide how to put out an emergency fire before it torpedoes a key project, your emotional state is probably not at its most upbeat. Yet, making the conscious effort to reject any feelings of pessimism about your situation is actually your best shot at a successful solution.
It's not just wishful thinking — science shows that a positive attitude has a powerful effect on making the right choice when meeting an important challenge.
Adopt these easy and hugely effective techniques before brainstorming a solution to your next organizational dilemma — and enjoy great results!
Reframe past outcomes.
British researchers report that the very best world-class athletes face and overcome obstacles by refusing to be surprised or discouraged by previous failures. Rather than dwell on past mistakes or bad performances, these athletes avoid eroding their confidence by thinking about what they learned from these situations.
You can do this by writing down the details of a business scenario in which you regret a choice you made, and listing three positive things that choice taught you. Now, use what you've learned to avoid negative attitudes or incorrect assumptions that could influence your current situation.
Let fiction be your guide.
An Ohio State University study found that one way people can make the right choices in a challenging situation is by emulating the actions of a literary character they find inspiring. This process is called "experience-taking."
In a nutshell, you take yourself and your own worries and biases out of the picture by putting yourself in the shoes of a brave, smart, moral, inventive character you admire, and do what that character would do.
Re-read and appreciate the positive traits of Atticus Finch, Harry Potter, or Jo March, and consider how adopting these attributes could powerfully solve your problem.
Use praise to build a bridge.
Dealing with an unpleasant but client who just won't budge on the terms of a crucial deal--but you need to make key decisions with this person? Identify his good points, and compliment him on them to open up a channel of positive communication and negotiation.
Researchers from the University of Amsterdam found that young managers who weren't readily accepted by their employees due to their lack of experience did win their team members over when the managers pointed out genuine reasons their employees should be praised and recognized.
Even the client you aren't fond of has skills and talents — like determination and commitment, for example. An acknowledgement of this fact, delivered with a smile, can free you and your client up to work together toward a mutual end goal.
Stop to focus on what's really important.
Before plunging into the details of the problem you're facing, pause for three minutes and re-affirm to yourself what's really important in your life — like your family, your friends, and your health.
Carnegie Mellon researchers say that this kind of big-picture appreciation instantly lowers your stress level, and gives you the perspective you need to think toward the right solution.
In fact, the subjects of their study solved 50 percent fewer problems the previous month before trying this affirmation technique. Always look at the bigger picture, and be grateful for the good things in your life -- challenges are only temporary, but a positive attitude can pave the way toward permanent success.
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