How About Asking Yourself What’s Right?
Featured Guest Blogger: Anthony Fasano, P.E., CPC, LEED AP
Associate Civil Engineer and Professional Career & Leadership Development Coach
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I recently completed a certified professional coach training program at the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC) and it was an amazing experience. I have to say I was extremely nervous going into it, being a civil engineer with a technical background, however I instantly fell in love with coaching and it is now totally natural for me.
As part of the training, one of the books we were required to read was “Breaking the Rules” by Kurt Wright. The book focuses on being your best and how people and organizations can achieve their maximum potential. The author states that being at your best cannot occur until you gain real-time access to your intuition or your “right brain.” This was extremely scary to me being a civil engineer who operates mostly from the analytical portion of the brain or the “left-brain”, however as I read the book I became fascinated with the message.
The left and right hemispheres of your brain process information differently. The left side of the brain processes information linearly, from part to whole. It processes in a logical order; prior to drawing conclusions. The right brain processes in reverse from whole to part. It starts with the end-result or solution. It sees the big picture first, instead of all of the details. Everyone tends to have a dominant side of the brain; however, the thinking process is improved when both sides of the brain participate equally known as whole brain thinking.
Engineers, and pretty much all of human civilization are always looking for “What’s wrong”? We are always analyzing situations to try to identify a problem so that we can fix it. The author of the book states that by asking “What’s wrong?” questions, you cause all of your thinking to be done by the analytical part of your brain. Asking “What’s wrong” questions constantly puts you into a negative state of mind.
So what’s the alternative? How about start by asking the question “What’s right?” For example, let’s say you meet with your team on a certain project that is taking much longer than it should and likely will be over budget. We are programmed to ask the team “What’s wrong?” and start discussing all of the problems on the project and try to figure out how to fix them. What if you were to start by asking the team “What’s right?” By reviewing all of the things that are working for the team, you can focus on applying some of your success to the lacking portions of the project, while maintaining a positive attitude and atmosphere within the team. This brainstorming exercise will foster use of the right brain and move the team members towards whole brain thinking.
The thought behind the “What’s right?” mentality is that people are at their best when they are doing what they are good at and what they love to do. By focusing on people’s strengths you can ensure that they are extremely productive and engaged in what they are doing and thus the organization will be more effective as a whole. So next time you are faced with a problem or a challenge, stop, be creative, access your right brain and explore all of the things that are right about the situation and see where that leads you!
Do you or anyone that you know follow the “What’s right?” mentality regularly? How has it worked for you?