Sunday, March 14, 2010

Find the Bright Spots

I just finished Chip and Dan Heath's new book SWITCH: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. You may remember their book Made to Stick that came out a few years ago. In SWITCH they use the phrase "Find the Bright Spots." If you want to know how to find the bright spots in your business ask yourself, "What are we doing that's working and how can we do more of it."

In business we don't tend to focus on the bright spots. Instead we tend to ask, "What's broken and how do we fix it?" When we have an unhappy customer we tend to throw resources at making them happy. When we don't close a big sale we focus on what went wrong. When the sales force isn't selling as much we focus on how to get the worst producers to sell more. Parents even do it with their kids. When your child brings home three A's, two B's and one F which grade do you talk to your child about?

Psychologists call this phenomenon the "predilection for the negative." In other words, bad stuff is more memorable than good stuff. I lost a sale last week that I had been working on for 2 years. It bummed me out and I have thought about it constantly to figure out what caused this deal to slip away. However, I also closed a sale last week. But my success didn't get even half the attention as my failure. Just call me a "predilection for the negative."

Moving forward I am going to find the bright spots. I am going to find ways to duplicate my successes instead of undoing my failures.

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