Make it work!

Anyone who watched Project Runway heard Tim Gunn say those words at least once if not more in every single episode. Sounds simple enough, right? Not always.
More often than not, when faced with a challenging situation, the tendency is to rattle off all the reasons it won’t work. And when you are working with a team – all it takes is one reason why something can’t be done to make those negatives multiply tenfold.

Here's my approach - don’t tell me why it won’t work or can’t be done, tell me how it CAN.  Don’t tell me all the things your competition is doing wrong; tell me what your company is doing right.

It’s not easy but it works.

Let me give you an example.  At one time I served as administrative liaison for a group of volunteers who were hosting a big fundraising event.  At noon – the day of the event – the event coordinator quit.  She left a note in my mailbox; no explanation, no notes, no contacts, just the keys to the event room. Perfect.  Guess just how long it took for that information to circulate among the masses?  In a matter of what seemed like only minutes, my office was filled with panicking volunteers all preparing for inevitable doom.

We sat down to regroup – everyone had something to say and it was ALL negative. After about ten minutes of that (which I realized afterwards was ten minutes too much), I said STOP!  The event could not be cancelled so what could we do? Silence filled the room. Then one brave soul stepped forward. His first words were “we could” and that started the ball rolling. Slowly rolling, but rolling in the right direction. Okay, you know where this is going and you are right. Thanks to a shift in thinking and some dedicated volunteers, the event went off without a hiccup. It was more than a financial success. It was a team success. This team took ownership, overcame the challenges and made it work.

Your team can make it work too!

Posted by MJ Thomas

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