When problems or changes occur in life and in business, it is easier to complicate situations instead of rectifying them. Our human instincts tell us to focus on the things that are not performing well or problems at hand. Furthermore, when times get tough, it is actually easier to point out problems to validate the ‘tough times’, than find what actually is working and focus on that.
In any situation where you have a difference in results or performance, you have ‘bright spots’. Among all the challenges or problems that may be apparent in a given situation, bright spots are those things that are working and have a positive impact. They can serve as a roadmap, giving direction on what to do, how to act, how to operate, and more. Bright spots are that ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ and they give hope that positive and effective change are possible.
In the midst of a challenge or time of change, rather than dwelling on what is broken or negative, recognize bright spots and put more of your focus, energy, and effort on those. Dig and probe until you can pinpoint the bright spots. Really identify them and why they work. Shift your mindset from problem-focused to solution-focused.
In business, most managers or leaders ignore the progress and impact that the higher level performers have on the company and put most of their focus on trying to improve the lower level performers or products. They may even seek assistance or advice from outside of the organization. This can be a colossal waste of time and tends to feed the resistance to change. Rather, management and leadership should be looking inside the organization. They should be observing, recognizing, and focusing on those higher level performers or products — the bright spots — and figuring out how to clone them! Pinpoint the things that ARE working and do more of those.
The same thing can be found in parenting or, really, any type of relationship. Think of a child who cleans his or her room and is beaming with excitement to show his or her parents the end result! When the parents walk into the child’s room and see that there is still a toy car on the floor or the dirty clothes hamper is overflowing, the parents immediately point it out and maybe even scold the child. In this situation, the parents should shift their focus and seek out the bright spots — did the child make his or her bed and fold the blanket nicely, or did the child nicely organize the books on the bookshelf? Recognize where the child exceeded, rather than where he faulted. Begin to alter the way you react to situations in your relationships and find these bright spots. Not only will you look at challenges in a more positive way, but you will also connect with the other person on a deeper level, enriching the relationship.
Results matter. So I am not going to tell you that you should not be focused on your closings, volume, gross commission income, and, most importantly, your profit. However, if we only look at these measures, defined as “lag measures”, we may be missing the forest through the trees (or, as stated above, we may be overlooking the bright spots). Bright spots show up in the “lead measures” – number of contacts, amount of appointments set, number of listings signed, etc. These measures directly influence your results. You may be winning the lead measure game (bright spots) but the victories are yet to be displayed in your closings and profit as not enough time has passed. Remember, lead measures track the critical activities that drive, or lead to the lag measure. They predict success of the lag measure and are influenced directly by the team. Bright spots exist…you may just need to change where you’re looking!