How to spark growth

When a company decides to reevaluate itself, its leadership typically begins a navel-gazing process. Too often they start by looking at what is going wrong and what is not working. That is a time-honored approach. But I have found in my work with clients that this is really not the best way to go at it.

The tone of the dialog and how productive the process will is sparked by the very first question that we ask: and if it’s a downer then…down is where the process may be headed.

When we start by looking at what has worked well and led to successes, then we get off to an exciting and positive start and everyone concerned feels good about themselves and where things are headed. This is worth its weight in gold.

We have also found that having that first question – the spark – asked by someone from outside the organization is radically more productive than when it’s asked from the inside. When its asked by an insider, the conversation is burdened by assumptions and history and all sorts of confusing and often threatening feelings. There’s a good reason why so many Fortune 500 corporations engage consulting firms. And besides, bragging to an outsider is much more satisfying than bragging to yourself or your partners. The outsider has no baggage, only an interest in your future success.

So bring in an independent facilitator. Start out with the wins. And build from your strengths.