Positive possibilities

Imagine you’re the CEO of a company and a project team proposes a new service. They give you an extensive, enthusiastic presentation. They radiate energy and hope but you just can’t see how this could yield return on investment within an acceptable period of time. Besides, you have more requests for extra funding. You voice your doubts and ask critical questions – and they assure you that they will make it work within a year. They just can’t prove it yet.

What would you do? Again, your answer probably depends on many contextual variables. How’s the market, what’s your budget, who are in the project team and do you appreciate these individuals, how does their plan fit into the strategy? But part of your answer derives from your mindset.

The conventional scarcity-hierarchy mindset values control and constraint and cautiousness. A simple check against the criteria will give you the answer. Which will probably be No. Survival, not flourishing, is the aim of conventional managers.

But what if you adopted the positive mindset of possibilities? What if you started to recognize that people and situations are full of potential…?

Breaking free from conventional cultures

Why would you support an idea you do not believe in? Because you are now in the business of helping people see and believe in their possibilities. You are empowering them to see and pursue potential and by doing so, you start to see more possibilities as well….

Professor Robert Quinn explains this positive mindset in his book “The positive organization – breaking free from conventional cultures, constraints and beliefs”.

Says Quinn: “People tend to use either/or categories. An organization is positive or negative. Reality, however, is more complex and dynamic and runs across these categories. It is rather both/and.”

According to Quinn, leadership requires the capacity to hold opposing ideas at the same time. It does not mean losing or rejecting the conventional map – it means having access to both maps and holding two opposing ideas and see how they can work simultaneously in an organization.

Leadership requires the capacity to hold opposing ideas at the same time Click To Tweet

In the conventional mental map, management must solve problems and return things to equilibrium. In the positive mental map, the company is a social network that needs to grow and change and learn continually.

People with the conventional mental map may be full of fear and doubt but they usually desire a better future. This means there is a potential in organizations that many fail to see. The leader’s task is to see the potential, ignite the spark, and build belief in the reality of possibility.

This is book post #27 – ME

Here‘s the earlier post
Here’s the next post

If you’re confused – please start with post #1 or check the Positive Power overview and read the Positive Agent Manifesto.

Leaders, employees, consultants, citizens – everyone can make a positive difference from any position, without needing permission or resources from others. This blog will help you see positive possibilities and (re)claim your positive agency. Unstuck yourself and engage others via your interaction and actions. Transform into a positive organization where people and performance thrive.

I’m blogging my next book: “Positive Power at Work – How to make a positive difference from any position.” Your feedback is appreciated!

You can help me by liking, sharing, and commenting.

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