Kedron Rhodes Thoughts on Design, Innovation & Leadership

3 Steps to Build a Culture of Optimism

Here's the thing. I like being around positive optimistic people, and I don't think I'm unique in that regard.

I'm constantly on the look out for the ingredients that make places like IDEO the success they are. I've been spending a fair amount of time with some of their Chicago crew, and one thing that catches my attention is that the optimism is practically palpable!

Tim Brown goes so far to include optimism as value they look for during the hiring process.

So what does it mean to foster a culture of optimism? Here are a 3 simple steps.

Celebrate solutions

It's easy to get caught up in identifying the edge cases and building arguments for why something shouldn't be done. It helps us avoid risk, it keeps us from getting egg on our face, and in many workplaces it's like having an ace up your sleeve.

Although it is important to identify potential risks, it's important to celebrate the solution that avoids the risk. Quite often that sounds like, "I believe there is too much risk there, but this other option might be a workable solution."

The simple addition of adding a solution goes a long way in keeping a team optimistic about the future.

Avoid water cooler gossip

Who doesn't like a good scoop? I sure do! Making a steady diet of "who did what" around the water cooler however, can quickly send a team into a negative tail spin.

If you need to vent, find a healthy outlet. Talk to a superior, hit the gym, go for a walk or just… wait for it… keep your mouth shut!

Start the day with something hopeful

I often catch NPR on my morning commute, and quite often by the time I get to work I'm already cynical about they day. To regroup, I force myself to list 3 – 5 things I'm excited about. Sometimes that includes my kids and family, sometimes it includes business or learning opportunities, and sometimes it's as simple as the release of a new single or movie. Whatever it is, make it tangible. Get it in front of you.

Not convinced it? Check out what Inc. and RealSimple have to say about it. It might be good for you!

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