Imagine that your organization has been struggling with an issue for a long, long time. Occasionally, the problem goes away; but, it inevitably reappears. People are frustrated with this reoccurring and costly issue.
You return to work after celebrating the new year AND the issue is still there, waiting for you!
Can’t think of a problem in your world? Allow me to jog your thinking with a few ideas:
- Perhaps your reoccurring issue is a technology solution that isn’t quite working right. The organization has invested a lot of money, people have spent countless hours, yet it just doesn’t work as promised.
- Maybe it is a performance issue that has yet to be resolved. At times, it seems under control and things are going well, then it flares up in unexpected ways.
- It could be a customer complaint that comes and goes. Customer have valid concerns, the problem is that your team can’t determine the true source of the issue.
Whatever the problem, it persists. Everyone is frustrated with it.
Now imagine that the next time the problem is discussed, you offer a suggestion. Your thought is unique. It causes people to pause. Discussion ensues and everyone agrees that your thought could work. It could change the game.
Imagine that six months later, people are reflecting on the day you made your suggestion and everything changed. What had once seemed impossible, now was a non-issue. In fact, the organization is in a far better place because of your recommendation and you are seen in a completely new light. You are the problem solver. You are the catalyst of the idea that made all the difference. You are destined for amazing things.
Feeling pretty good, eh?
If so, you just felt the power of the one word that MUST be in your vocabulary. What’s the word? Imagine.
- Author and political commentator, Frank Luntz, called the word imagine the most powerful word in the English language.
- John Lennon used it as the title of his 1971 album, Imagine, and the lead track from the record.
- Walt Disney famously said, “Laughter is timeless, imagination has no age, dreams are forever.”
- Nelson Mandela’s words echoed the importance of the term. “Those who can’t imaginechange reveal the deficits of their imaginations, not the difficulty of change.”
So, how can you add a bit of imagination in 2019? Consider saying things like:
- “Imagine if it were illegal for us to not solve this issue; what might we do?”
- “Imagine what performance might look like if our team members were fully engaged; how might we create that sort of environment?
- “Imagine if we had our customers’ unwavering loyalty; what might we be able to achieve?”
Put the word imagine into your daily lexicon and you will likely achieve unexpected results – all stemming from our collective ability to dream of something better.
Patrick Leddin, PhD is a speaker, global leadership consultant, and The Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Five-Week Leadership Challenge. Patrick is an Associate Professor at Vanderbilt University with a thriving leadership blog and podcast, and 25-years of leadership experience. He offers an unparalleled mix of academic rigor and real-world experience.