It’s difficult to overthrow the status quo. People don’t change without good reason. The kind of gaps that give rise to change can be negative or positive.
The survival of the company is the greatest possible dissatisfaction and threat a business will ever face. That’s framing the problem or challenge in the negative. And it’s dissatisfaction, plain and simple.
Another form of dissatisfaction is a company not reaching it’s full potential because it isn’t capitalizing on the opportunities available to it. Even if you frame the capturing of those opportunities as a positive vision of the future instead of negative one.
Missing your revenue goals is dissatisfaction stated in the negative (how else could it be stated, you might ask). The opportunity to capture revenue you might otherwise miss is the same form of dissatisfaction stated as a positive.
Diminishing margins is identifying a gap in a way that is negative, and perhaps one that is easily indicated by concrete evidence. Increasing your margins is the identification of that same gap in a positive way.
Dealing with the rising cost of doing business is framing a form of dissatisfaction in the negative. Identifying ways and opportunities to better contain costs, manage the supply chain, and produce greater efficiencies, is framing that same gap in a more positive way.
Positive or Negative
Should you always speak about gaps in the negative? Should you always frame them in a way that rubs salt into the wound?
Or should you always frame gaps in the positive? Are people more can compelled by a positive vision than they are by the negative consequences of not doing something about the gap?
It’s easy to answer questions like these as if there are universals. But it’s more complicated than that. There isn’t one right answer. There is only effective and ineffective.
Sometimes things that have worked for you in the past and suggest that they would work for you now fail to produce the results you want. Other times things that have failed for you in the past end up being just the ticket for achieving the result that you want.
Being effective means being aware and making good judgments about what might work in the particular circumstance you’re dealing with right now. So do something about making better choices or lose more opportunities. Or, maybe, take advantage of this opportunity to produce even better results.
Are all of the gaps you find in your prospective clients negative?
Do you always frame them in the negative?
Are you proactive enough to find the positive gaps after you’ve helped your clients with the negative gaps that won you the business?
Which language is more powerful in motivating you personally? Are you more prone to take action through your fear or your aspirations? Is this always true?