Turning negative thoughts into positive action

Eight Challenges Three Ideas

Eight Challenges Three Ideas

I have been an interim manager for more than 10 years and…

I was recently chatting with a potential client about my assignments.

We identified eight projects where ideas, influence, persuasion and a positive outlook were key factors.

Here is the list.

  • How to improve the control of c600 projects with a £50m spend?
  • What team structure is appropriate to improve ICT service delivery?
  • What do we do next after the failure of a £800k ICT project?
  • How do we prioritise an uncoordinated series of ICT projects, many of which lack sponsorship or clear resource allocation?
  • How to resource and shape an ambitious plan to modernise the way front line services are delivered?
  • In a digital world where paper records management is being replaced by digital information assets, how do we decide what to keep?
  • What behaviours do we need to change to bring together disparate silo-based teams for collaboration on a corporate wide project?
  • How do we identify, analyse and monitor £1.6bn of ICT related spending across the organisation.

It is a pretty diverse list of challenges but I was sure there were some common actions and behaviours. It took a while but here is what I came up with:

  • Close in on an idea that can be understood by all.
  • Create a compelling story of what could be when the idea is implemented and then promote and socialise the values and deliverables. Don’t over-promise.
  • Leadership. Accept the responsibility for making it happen.
  • Persuasion. At all levels.
  • Negotiate win:win deliverables. Support others and trust that they will support you.

It then occurred to me that we all act this way unconsciously when things are going well. This is because we tend to be more positive and collaborative when times are good, but more defensive, suspicious and negative when things are not going so well.

I then realised that if we behave as if things are going well it will have a huge influence on our performance, happiness and success. If we want success we cannot allow a single negative thought or action to undermine our ability to achieve it.

Here are three ideas that can help make this happen.

  • Separate yourself from negativity by looking at it from the outside. Imagine how others would help you address your issue. This instantly reduces your negativity.
  • Use words like “interesting”, “challenging”, “opportunity”. These have an effect on your thinking. The negativity is lessened.
  • Focus on the now. What needs to happen in the next day / hour / minute. Once this is done you are one small step further forward. It is impossible to feel negative if you are truly in the present moment.

Have a great week.


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About the Author: Adam Blackie is a professional Interim Manager who leads service delivery teams through their change programmes. He works with CEO’s and their Boards in the UK to change the way technology is used by staff and their customers.


About Adam Blackie

A career Freelance Accountant who specialises in leading helping others to hold onto their money.
This entry was posted in communication, Leadership, leading change, leading change management, service delivery and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Turning negative thoughts into positive action

  1. dralfoldman says:

    Hi Adam,

    Well done, another really interesting blog!

    Have always been a great Dale Carnegie fan. In these challenging times, there’s an enormous opportunity to energise action by releasing positive thinking.

    Have a good week


    Dr Alf Oldman

  2. Nicola says:

    Interesting points. I agree with the premis that we all operate much better from a positive perspective, but I disagree that we do these specific things automaticaly when things are going well for us. I feel that for instance, we humans get used to things being easy when they are, we get lazy and then fail to propose the story you talk about (i.e. telling people what’s in it for them). We also don’t see the need for strong and direct persuasion and negotiation skills when things are going our way. It’s not that we are in a negative space, it’s simply that we only need to use these skills & tools when we come across challenges.

    • Adam Blackie says:


      Thanks for the comment.

      You are right of course that we all become a little lazy when things are going well. I have noticed that intentional and targeted communication is more frequent when things are going badly or need to be changed. During periods of status quo the communication slows.

      Perhaps we need to remember to publicise the “ordinary” things that happen more often. This would re-enforce support for each other / prevent the tendancy to take good performance for granted…….and would dilute the negative emotional effect of the messages that emerge when things do go wrong.

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