Archive for April, 2012

The Power of a Strengths-based Approach to Organizational Strategy

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Winning the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of its unparalleled public service is emblematic of the vision to which one of my clients aspires. While this may seem ambitious, wait till you hear this: the client developed this vision in spite of the fact that it is a public sector agency whose budget has been decimated over the last 3-4 years, with no relief in sight. Yet while the politicians who make the financial decisions focus on slashing services to meet the available resources, leaders of this organization are articulating a bold vision.

What in the world are these leaders thinking? Have they lost touch with reality completely? To the contrary: in fact, they are totally in touch with the reality of how taking a strengths-based approach to developing a strategy for their organization’s future can ignite the imaginations of employees and stakeholders, compelling them to reach heights they previously had not even considered.

Rather than dwell on weaknesses and things that suck the life out of their employees, leaders of this agency have chosen to identify its strengths and the core factors that make it what it is, that give its employees life, and that energizes them. These leaders have chosen to begin with the end in mind, creating a picture of unparalleled public service that is made possible by focusing on the agency’s strengths and successes. They now are developing the action plan for a strategy that will take the organization from where it is today to the heights to which it aspires.

Will this agency really win the Nobel Peace Prize? It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that regardless of how many or few resources it is allotted by the political powers-that-be, the organization will look far differently, perform at much higher “altitudes,” and provide measurably greater levels of service simply because its leaders chose to aspire to the outcomes made possible by the organization’s strengths and successes rather than to focus on what services they should cut due to the budget shortfall.

Our reality is whatever we do with the hand that we are dealt. So let me ask you this question: does it make more sense to you to build a future by focusing on your organization’s strengths and proven successes, or by dwelling on how to provide minimal services? Which option will get your organization to its “Nobel Peace Prize?”

© 2012 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Try This Technique to Re-gain Your Energy and Momentum

Monday, April 30th, 2012

Last week I talked with a coaching client, a successful entrepreneur, who lately had been feeling overwhelmed by the pressures of sustaining her business in a tough economic climate. Because she reported feeling “stuck,” I had encouraged her to start writing every day for thirty minutes as a way of clearing the mental “clutter” and making room for her remarkable creativity to re-emerge. Imagine my delight when she reported during this conversation that she had found herself writing about the positive side of feeling overwhelmed. In fact, she ended up identifying 50 benefits to feeling overwhelmed! Instead of allowing that negative emotion to keep her mired in a state of paralysis, she chose to embrace it and seek its blessings. And she found them – fifty of them, to be exact. She shared a few of them with me on the phone; I can’t wait to read the rest! This entrepreneur now feels energized, victorious, and hopeful, and she was inspired to write a series of articles about what she learned as a result of this simple technique.

What’s the lesson here? When you are experiencing a negative emotion – e.g., feeling overwhelmed, burned out, hopeless, paralyzed – stop fighting it and allowing it to run your life. Instead, look for the benefits that such an experience offers. Make a list – literally. Write down whatever comes to mind as you search for the positives of this emotion. Though you may not find as many as fifty of them, as my client did, you will find some. And by taking action to change your focus from how stuck or paralyzed you feel to curiosity about what opportunities are being presented, you will enable yourself to break the grip of whatever negative emotion has halted your forward momentum.

Isn’t the opportunity to break out of your paralysis – or procrastination or indecisiveness or whatever form of negativity is holding you back – worth giving this suggestion a shot? Which would you rather do: spend your time and energy resisting a negative experience, or taking a simple action that will enable you to re-direct that energy into something productive that will allow you to move forward?

The choice is yours. What will it be?

© 2012 Pat Lynch. All rights reserved.