Tag Archives: burningdream

The difference between a good news show and positive communication

What’s the difference between a good news show and positive communication? Is there one? How can you use it?

Change projects are often blamed to be a good news show only. The change agents and management only spread a positive message of the change. Problems are called opportunities or challenges. Nobody dares to say that he has difficulties with the needed change, the interpretation or the implementation of it. While in some cases it might be the truth, but in most cases there will be problems and some challenges will be too much.

So let’s call the problem by its name and address it.


Does this mean you cannot spread a positive message?

No, but there needs to be a subtle balance between spreading facts (problems) and keeping people motivated. When the only word heard is that of “we’re not going to make it unless we… ” you will not be able to keep your people motivated.

What’s the difference with positive communication?

When spreading the message you can formulate it in such a way that it appeals to the people in your organisation. Instead of a “burning platform”, you can speak of a “burning dream“. Confirm the problems that are there, but emphasize that the problems are part of the past (or at least their origin). Help your colleagues look further into the future and help them dream.

It is easy to look in the past for all that has gone wrong: we have archives and news papers for that. We even might seek for connections that are not there (cfr. The Black Swan). But it gets far more interesting when you try to build an image of the future of your organisation. Imagine how it looks, imagine how people work together, imagine the role of your management.

Don’t stop with your dreams. Put your dreams into practice by translating them in actionable behaviors and actions itself.

Additional reading

The new pope is up for a big cultural change

Pay it forward with appreciative inquiry

The power of positive formulation

Wij lezen voor u: Wat hebben ze nu weer bedacht?! (Dutch)

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