The old adage says, “What you appreciate, appreciates.”
Problem Finding Machines:
In the day-to-day of work, we become habituated to finding problems, and hopefully solving those problems.
In some ways, we become problem finding machines, and this creates a mindset — we look at processes, we look at technology and we look at people and we try to make things work better. This is not good or bad, rather it is simply an important aspect of accomplishing any goal.
With the intent of solving problems — we can and do take on a mindset. A mindset that finds issues and risks; and, tries to ensure these countless impediments or underlying cultural challenges do not prevent clients from meeting their goals.
Over the days, months and sometimes years — these challenges — cultural and implementation — can feel like a swarm of mosquitoes, that continue to drain teams of their energy and enthusiasm. The heartbreak for a team or individual is to know they are making progress, but losing their energy as they swim against underlying currents of cultural, communication and leadership challenges.
We decided to experiment with our team meeting to see if we could create the conditions for a new sense of well being by temporarily shifting the focus from problem-finding-solving machines to instead seek what we are grateful for in the day-to-day grind.
We gathered for our weekly team meeting, and instead of status check-ins with issues and risks we conducted an “Appreciation Meeting.”
In this meeting, we each shared words of gratitude to one and other for their actions, their character, or their way of being. We also focused on bringing up what we are grateful for with the work we do, and the clients we have the opportunity to work with.
As we went around the circle, and shared with one and other words of appreciation. We each felt the initial discomfort, followed by feelings of connection and camaraderie not only for one and other, but also the positive aspects of our work.
In any given workplace, there are countless challenges — from culture and leadership to strategy and operations; there are also countless positive conditions — from humorous encounters to small and bigger wins.
The real challenge is to create the internal capacity to continue identifying and solving problems, while also being keenly aware of the positive aspects of the day-to-day work.