How to move forward when others are stuck (Part 2 of 3)

How you view things determines the energy you have to work on them

 Do you perceive the situations you are in as problems that need to be fixed, or do you see possibilities to get significantly better? This isn’t about being unrealistically positive – it’s about how the way you view a situation determines the prospect for real success.


Change your viewpoint, change the chance of success

While solving problems is critical for success, progress can only be made by looking for possibilities and making them happen. History is littered with the tombstones of organizations that thought making the existing better was the path to success. An historical example is buggy whip manufacturers – the next example could well be the newspaper industry.

Here’s a list of problems, and then the same situation viewed with a “possibility mindset”:



Reduced / distracted staff – lower productivity, more conflict

Raise our internal performance standards – step up or step out Refocus the team on the mission and why we do what we do

Credit is very tight and cash is low

Pare down our service / product offering to make it easier to buy Streamline procedures to make them more effective, profitable

The same sales actions don’t generate the same results

Invest time in creating deeper relationships with clients

Raise prices and drop unprofitable work

Feeling desperate to do something – lower our prices, drop service levels?

Hire newly-available top-notch people

Pull ahead of our competitors who are clueless

Notice the difference? It’s not making problems better – it’s about approaching issues differently.

Actions you can take today

  1. Create your own list. Take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns: Problems and Possibilities. Write down all the problems you can think of, then look for opportunities hidden within each and write those down as well. Bonus points if you start writing possibilities unrelated to the problems.
  2. Seize one possibility. Look on your list for the easiest, most-doable possibility – then just do it. Pay attention to the pushback you get – and then push through gently and firmly. Bonus points if you see others begin taking a stand for what’s possible in your organization.

Coming: How to involve others so more possibilities become reality

Chris Hutchinson

About the Author: Chris Hutchinson, President and CEO of Trebuchet Group, helps facilitate leadership growth and business success for his clients, using a collaborative approach to enable effective and lasting results. He can be reached at   © 2009 Trebuchet Group.