What do you mean by ‘finding the bright spots’ to create change?
Psychology tells us we’re wired to look at the negative. When we want change, we tend to obsess about all the problems we’re having and we try to come up with solutions for them.
But, in times of change, there may be many things that aren’t working, so “problem focus” is a recipe for paralysis. Instead, we need to find the “bright spots,” the early signs that things are working, and clone them.
Let’s say you’re putting into place a new process at work and it has had mixed success. Don’t get caught up agonizing about the places where it’s not working. Instead, reverse-engineer the places where it is working so you can clone those circumstances.
Or if you have a troubled relationship with your teenager, ask yourself, when was the last time we had a really healthy interaction? What was different about that moment? If you understand what conditions made your bright spots possible, you can reproduce them.
Dan Heath is the co-author of "Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard."
He’ll bring his insights about change to the America’s Credit Union Conference in San Antonio, June 19-22.
Stay tuned: In part two of this interview, Heath will explain how to “shape the path” for change—and describe a personal lesson he has learned about the power of the environment.