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What is Positive Change?

What is Positive Change?

  • 08 December 2016
  • Posted by Marcella Bremer

What is positive change? What is a positive organization? Why would we bother to practice positive leadership, and create a positive culture? For some, the answer is obvious, for others not at all.

As we have seen in my blog post on positive leadership: the why is rather obvious. We want to help positive change succeed and create a positive organization because it makes people happier and more productive. The performance of a positive organization can be astounding.

Thrive and Save the World

I am on a personal mission to help develop the workers, the workplace, and the world with positive leadership, culture, and change. We no longer have to suffer or just survive at work, as the generations before us did, sighing under the yoke of heavy workloads or authoritative bosses to make a meager living.

On the contrary, in Western economies, we can thrive at work, and while doing so, we spread energy and positivity beyond the workplace as well. If we learn to be positive and kind at work, we take that mindset home to our families, communities, and associations.

As people tend to copy other people that they interact with regularly - these empowering behaviors of kindness, openness, positivity, and trust will spread.

One person at a time, the world may become a kinder place, and a smarter place as positivity helps people to open up, to become creative, and to explore solutions for the many challenges we face (in economic, environmental, political and societal issues). The more people thrive, the more we can do to “save the world.”

Positive Organizations

Robert Quinn says: In a positive organization, people flourish while they work and exceed expectations regarding outcomes. They have a culture in which people engage, collaborate, grow and perform at an extraordinary level.

That’s the positive change I’d like to support in my role as a consultant. That’s why I work with organizational culture and positive leadership to enhance positive organizational change.

I am surprised about the current state of organizations. I called this the conventional mindset in my earlier blog post: the machine-top-down mindset that causes executives to tell-and-force people to change. We discussed these common impediments to change, such as the linear way of thinking, the emphasis on rational logic and the idea of planning and control.

This mindset is deeply embedded, and we’re all trained to function within this hierarchical model from an early age on. We’re raised to obey our parents, our teachers, the law, the experts and our boss(es).

Autonomy, but Connected

Even though this old mindset perseveres, life and work have become more connected and complex. There’s not one authority or expert that knows the one, true, best answer - because there may be none. There are many layers to reality, countless actors, and factors interfering in a system, and we need everyone’s ideas and energy to change and face our challenges.

It’s time we started thinking for ourselves. It’s important that we embody the change we want to see on our team. It’s time we took ownership of ourselves, but together. We need autonomy, but in a connected way. Connected to others, to our organizations, to our environment.

The leader doesn’t have to suffer alone, knowing best, solving everything, and being fully responsible. Leaders can learn to let go, while employees can learn to take (more) ownership.

Collective Intelligence

We have to do it as a team: share our collective intelligence and create positive organizations that are beneficial for their staff, that contribute to the world with their product or service, and that are good neighbors to their local community.

But instead, many people are exhausted at work but also underutilized as their potential goes untapped. As organizations behave more “top-down,” and start pushing harder in the face of challenges, or even become negative, people withdraw. As discussed in my post about positive leadership, we need people to open up to make the change, instead of closing off.

Engaging people in Change Circles is one way of enticing them to contribute. Engaging people is crucial to creating positive change and positive organizations. Engaging people gives them more ownership and control over their work lives - and this makes people happy and productive.

According to Quinn, in his book Positive Organizations, people need to:

  • have a sense of purpose
  • see possibility
  • contribute to the common good
  • have authentic conversations and
  • trust the process.

If you can create that with your team, Change Circle, or organization, you work on positive change. May the OCAI culture survey serve you as the first step to a positive organization and a world that works for all.

I’m looking forward to hearing your vision of positive organizations and their contribution to the world.

Copyright © Marcella Bremer 2016. All rights reserved.