Looking for the bright spots

We’ve got a rich vocabulary for when things aren’t working. Your team is dysfunctional, or your car is jacked, or you website is b0rked, or you plan is hosed. Your client is unreasonable, your technology is unreliable, your manager is incompetent, and your goals are inconsistent.

What I’d rather see us look for, talk about, and replicate are the situations when things are working. Those people who succeed despite their circumstances, the moments where teams are united and effective, the projects that make it and the places where results exceed expectations. Chip and Dan Heath had a word for these situations. They called them “Bright Spots”.

You’d be surprised how often we focus on the dysfunctional parts when we’d be more effective looking for bright spots and how to replicate them. Subway’s 5-dollar footlong, was once just a success story in a single Subway location, until someone clever looked for the bright spots, found it, and started trying to replicate it elsewhere. You know how that story ends.

Somewhere in every failure you’re pushing through right now, is a bright spot ready to be discovered and spread.