Leverage Strengths, Skills & Savvy To Maximize Assets Present In Any Situation.
Change Agents don’t have to look very far or too closely to spot resistance. Setbacks are commonplace. Unwanted and unintended circumstances abound and come from many directions…economic issues, internal politics, revenue shortfalls, entrenched legacy systems, etc. Professional and personal disappointments always arise. None of us is exempt. That’s why Asset-Based Thinking in the face of difficult situations is so important and so useful. With ABT, build your power and influence by uncovering and magnify what’s best in virtually every situation you encounter.
Over 50 years ago, psychologist David McClelland suggested that we measure the value of a given day, month or year in three ways: results, learnings, and experience. When you stop to think about it, McClelland’s suggestion is a true ABT practice. The invitation to examine what is learned and experienced—alongside the results that are achieved—creates three valuable bottom lines for any time frame and situation.
Valuable lessons and life experience are embedded in victories and defeats, in turning points and crossroads. We may not always get the results we seek, but we are always in line to become a little wiser and a little bit better of a person as a consequence.
Mine The Gold In Any Situation
Expanding What You See – What is happening here?
Remember the children’s magazine picture games? The instructions read: Find 8 items hidden in this (seemingly straightforward) picture. At first, you are stumped…then, suddenly, the more you examine the picture, the more you realize that things are not what they seemed at first glance. You can employ these same skills to spot new opportunities in the way you “picture” a challenging situation.
Take your blinders off and start with a good hard look at the dynamics of the current reality. Analyze what is really going on. Concentrate on tapping into the nuances. Identify the real or potentially real gains and benefits associated with the situation. Dig deeper. What is happening here that I or we can leverage? Remember that even crises and upheavals have their upsides. As an Asset-Based Thinker, you see and capitalize on the assets inherent in every situation—especially when they are invisible at first glance.
Maximize the Upside – What do I want to make happen here?
Given the assets in this situation, how can I use what is happening (whether I like it or not) in order to achieve worthwhile objectives. Which skills and talents do I or we need to move forward in a positive way? What are the keys to my success? Ask yourself (and others involved) to set specific, worthwhile objectives to be achieved as you engage the challenges and pushback at hand.
The best way to mine the gold in any situation is to find out what is meaningful and worthwhile about the situation, then take action to “milk” the situation for all it’s worth. Find out how you can use even upsetting moments to inspire great solutions and ensure that everyone involved benefits in the short-term and the long run.
Minimize the Downside – How can I prevent or contain the losses?
In the midst of personal setbacks, business downturns and resistance to change, you may be tempted to look at all the things that are going wrong or could possibly go wrong. That, of course, can be overwhelming. Magnifying what is “worst” can even lead to panic and despair. Those fear-based thoughts feed a deficit-based downward spiral. There IS a better way to contain unwanted consequences.
Make desire based outcomes the source of your strength and power. Identify the one or two real or potentially real problems associated with the negative situation, upheaval or resistance. Then create concrete strategies for minimizing the negative consequences of each problem. Next, get in action. Measure your impact. Revise your strategies if necessary. Stay the course.
A Helpful ABT Tool: Shifting From Threat to Challenge
In any given situation that you see as a problem, disappointment or setback, use this ABT Tool to shift from threat to challenge. You are far more effective and proactive when you are motivated by the “promises of victory” than you are by the “fears of defeat”.
Step One. Ask yourself, “What do I fear most about this situation? What are the real or potentially real losses associated with what’s happening?”
Step Two. Ask, “What can I or we do to eliminate my fear? What can I or we do to minimize the fear of change or loss?”
Step Three. Given this situation, what are the possibilities and opportunities for myself, others, team or organization? How could I/we grow or benefit? What could I/we learn?
Step Four. How can I/we put our drive and enthusiasm for achieving these possibilities and seizing those opportunities to work?
One final thought.
“I have always believed and still believe that whatever good or bad fortune may come our way, we can always give it meaning and transform it into something of value.”