Innovative: Disapprovers vs. Improvers

Not long ago I facilitated a six-hour brainstorming session with the student organization leaders of a Missouri high school. Our purpose was to develop a community service project that all the organizations could work on together. It was an awesome experience and a great idea!

After four hours the students voted to re-model and re-open their run down city park. Two seconds after the vote was cast, the negative talk started.

"We've tried this before. We will never get this accomplished while we are in high school. There are too many local and state regulations. The city will never cooperate."

The next hour was filled with a crystal clear picture of what really kills or energizes the enthusiasm in ideas and people - disapprovers and improvers. The students focusing only on the negatives and the reasons why the idea was bad were acting as disapprovers. Those students who chose to view the negatives as challenges and focus more on the positives were acting as improvers.

With a little persistence (and a guiding hand from the facilitator), the improvers outweighed the disapprovers and the disapprovers agreed to get behind the idea and work together to accomplish the common goal. The students were left with two thoughts:

1. The park idea is a good or a bad one based solely on whether they think it is good or bad. Their approach in thinking to the situation defines the situation.

2. The quality of their effort as a school in completing the project will be based in large part on how effectively the disapprovers can get as passionately behind the idea as they were able to get so passionately against it.

When a new idea or project comes your way, even if you do not totally agree with it, make the good choice to agree to disagree and choose to be an improver. Believe me, this world has enough disapprovers already!

[Click on the label below to see all posts for that Essential...]

No comments: