Increasing Expectation Positively!

At your next staff meeting lead your team through the following discussion and exercise.

This exercise is focused on getting people to perceive things positively. The exercise goes like this:

Make the point to your team that they have the power to perceive virtually all things either from a positive or negative perspective.

Lead a discussion asking for attendees to offer up negative circumstances resulting from a well-known tragedy.

As an example let's consider the tragedy involving the Space Shuttle Columbia.

Creating this "list of negatives" will come easily for the participants given the nature of the disaster. For example: The loss of life, the potential effects for radiation on the ground, the devastating blow to the space program, the children and families effected by the loss of loved ones, etc.

In the interest of time and keeping your entire team fully engaged, make the list no longer than 8-10 items.

Next, ask the group to come up with a list of positive outcomes from this experience.

(Hint: This will actually be more difficult for the group because it is hard to voice optimism when talking about personal tragedy. However, you can offer up a few of your own ideas to get people started thinking from a different point of view.)

For instance some positive outcomes are:

- The space program will learn from this disaster and become even more safe for future flights - thus saving countless lives.

- The nation came together from the crisis, which is good for the solidarity of our country.

- The family members will remember their deceased as American Heroes and throughout history their family will take pride in his/her commitment to space exploration.

- The focus on the tragedy from the national media will inspire a new generation of space enthusiasts. Perhaps a child will become the greatest space explorer of all time as a result.

Now, challenge your team to come up with 5 additional positive outcomes. You will be surprised now by their creativity and renewed vision for what is possible.

Lastly, go through the exact same exercise. This time however, choose the following topic appropriate to your own business. Here's the challenge:

"Revising our production goals UP by an additional 15%."

After going through the negatives first (limit the list to only 5 items), then go through the positives, and allow your team to have a lengthy discussion on HOW this 15% production increase will be achieved. In effect, let them create a mini action plan.

Once the group has agreed on how to increase the production by 15% you can ever-so-gently inform them that "the goals did NOT just go up by 15%, only 10%! BUT, now that we have a plan for achieving 15%, don't you think we should use it?"

Have fun with this exercise! It shows people you are a leader with vision and that you understand the power of perception and belief.

Hopefully, it will also show your team that you have a good sense of humor and that you can relate to their concerns. This exercise makes for a terrific opportunity to "CONNECT" with your employees.

Show your team that it's ok to have fun while increasing expectations.

Richard Gorham is the founder and President of Leadership-Tools, Inc. His web site,"> is dedicated to providing free tools and resources for today's aspiring leaders. Offering high-quality tools in the areas of Business Planning, Leadership Development, Customer Service, Sales Management and Team Building.