Did you know you can use your thoughts to make big differences in organizational outcomes?
It is one of those concepts that sounds oh so simple, but can be oh so powerful. What we think of ourselves, our team members, and overall organizational capabilities is a potentially untapped resource that can help us accomplish even greater success.
H2: Using the Power of Thoughts to Improve Outcomes at Work
Just like the human body, or an ecosystem, an organization is a living entity; we have multiple systems that must work in order for us to be well. In the same way, an organization has multiple systems and capabilities that we need to do well in order to succeed.
Your teams have capabilities in multiple areas, such as technical and people capabilities. Our thoughts are one of the many components, or capabilities, that play an important role in workplace success.
This is where the power of thought comes in. Just as thoughts can greatly impact quality of life, they have a dramatic impact on organizational effectiveness. To perform our capabilities most effectively, we need to believe in ourselves as leaders, and we need to believe in our team and our collective capability to function and achieve.
Believing in yourself and your team places you in the solution position, which opens the door for success and accomplishments.
H2: How to Use the Power of Thought at Work
So how can you harness the power of thought to find solutions and achieve your goals? Here are 4 steps:
- Start with a clear commitment to change your thoughts. You have to want it, see it, and believe it is possible to build it in business. The Appreciative Inquiry model in psychology brings home the point that we can most effectively generate solutions from a positive feeling / thinking state. Once you have a clear commitment, proceed to step 2.
- Spend time focusing on the positive, both on what you want to achieve and what you are building on (i.e., what is going right today). Here are some ways to do that:
- Tell people what they are doing right (this includes you).
- Designate a specific daily time to reflect on what is going well and how you want to build on it (i.e., what you are creating).
- Start each new project celebrating who and what brought you to this point, and the people who will help finish the project.
- Celebrate small and big wins with your team (i.e., have lots of “win” parties – really!)
- Be diligent in weeding out negative thoughts and replacing them with positive. For example, if you find yourself thinking, “Why didn’t I handle that differently or better,” stop yourself and replace it with, “I learned from that experience. I am growing as a leader. Next time, I will…”. What you think about yourself and your team will have a direct impact on how strong and confident you feel and come across as a leader. Team members know not only if you are having a bad day, but if you are feeling insecure about your own abilities or the outcome of a project. I have lost count of the times someone told me something negative about a team member and said, “But I would never say that to them.” When it is someone I am mentoring, I will break it to them that their peer will know. Someone will tell them directly, or the person will feel your energy and attitude towards them.
So what you think matters—what you think about yourself, your team and the probability of success for a given project or the overall success of your organization.
- Our thoughts and words are interconnected. How we think influences how we speak, and vice versa. Weed out negative language and replace it with positive, can-do language. You can never over-emphasize the positive! Here are a few helpful tips on how to use language to emphasize the positive. Take every opportunity possible to tell people what they are doing well. Be specific (i.e., “I really appreciate how encouraging your are to new leaders.”) If you find yourself saying “but,” stop right there. Whether talking about a team member, a project or yourself, starting with “x works so hard, but….” won’t get you where you want to go. Instead, consider, “x works so hard, and with additional mentoring and training will be an even greater asset”.
If you do say something discouraging to yourself or another team member, reframe it as soon as you are aware. Find a way to celebrate, acknowledge what is going well and focus in the present on how to make things better.
Celebrate what is right. Attribute positive intention. Use your thoughts, words and actions to show people that you believe in their capabilities. Build on that and watch the magic happen.