How can great writing inspire even better writing?

I’m in India right now, first in Pune and I’ve just landed in Delhi. I’ve got a couple of weeks getting to know Vodafone’s call centres.

Turning the leading writers into writing leaders

Vodafone want to inspire great writing skills that will stick for years to come. That’s where I come in, helping improve how they train and coach people. Oh, and by developing writing leaders that will really inspire their teams.

So I made a plan, and the plan was good. It was the kind of thing consultants the world over would recognise, neatly organised into a five-point list:

  • Watch people at work
  • Observe the training
  • See how they lead and coach
  • Identify the problems
  • Work out how to solve them

A swift change of plan

But just before I flew out, I did some training myself. It revolved around a big idea that made me completely change my plan.

We get more of what we look for

So if I just hunt out the problems, will that amplify them?

What if, instead of looking for what’s wrong, I looked for what’s right?

Could I look for people at their best? Seek out what’s working well and when people are performing at their peak? Could our plan help people to concentrate on what’s really good, rather than plunging into what’s wrong?

My clients at Vodafone are open-minded folk, and we had a serious chat about this approach. And once it all sank in, I changed my whole agenda for the trip.

Pick up on the positives

Now, instead of spending days trying to understand problems, I’m spending time looking for what’s working.

Instead of interviewing people to uncover problems, my workshops are asking them to tell stories about what they’re like when they’re making customers really happy.

Instead of coming in as a potential threat to the system, I’m helping the teams recognise how much capability they already have. And I’m helping them get organised around their own answers.

And instead of being landed with the consultant’s ‘solution’, they’re creating a new way of working for themselves.

Which approach do you think will last the longest – picking out problems or recognising what’s right?

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