Did you know that when you choose to focus on the positive aspects of a difficult situation you can transform it?
Like when you are trying to re-engage an errant board member. You could choose to focus on their many absences, how frustrating they can sometimes be, the countless missed opportunities they’ve created.
Or, you could focus on the potential they possess, why you invited them to become a board member in the first place, and the tremendous value you think they could bring.
Guess which path will be more likely to get that board member to step up to the plate?
This happened recently for one of my clients, let’s call her Abby. She was complaining to me about a board member who had missed the last 3 board meetings and wasn’t responding to emails. The rest of the board were growing frustrated with this board member and were about to vote to kick him off.
I asked Abby if anyone had called him to see what was going on. In fact, they had not, instead they were just focused on his lack of commitment.
So, Abby called him the next day and had a great conversation. She discovered he was overwhelmed with work deadlines and some family issues. But he was touched that Abby had reached out with concern and openness.
He vowed to recommit to the organization and has since not missed a meeting. And, in the course of their conversation, he and Abby discovered a real talent and interest he has in improving the organization’s marketing efforts. Since their conversation, he has begun leading a revamped marketing plan for the nonprofit.
What a pivot – from delinquent board member to powerhouse marketing asset. All because Abby chose to shift her focus.
This story is not just about the benefits of a good old fashioned phone call as a way to engage people (although, certainly that is also true).
It is really about taking a step back whenever you find yourself mired down in the negative aspects of a situation and asking yourself:
“In the midst of this crappy situation is there ALSO an opportunity?”
For Abby, seeing the potential opportunity yielded a big win for the organization.
I’m not suggesting you adopt a Pollyanna attitude to every challenge that befalls your organization. Rather I’m asking you to dig a little deeper and uncover whatever possibilities might also lurk there.
If you shift a negative focus to an even slightly more positive one, magic can happen.
Photo Credit: Houcine Ncib