Coert Visser of Solution Focused Change listed some key beliefs held by the best bosses here’s 3 that stood out to me of the 10 listed;

  • I have a flawed and incomplete understanding of what it feels like to work for me.
  • Because I wield power over others, I am at great risk of acting like an insensitive jerk — and not realizing it.
  • Bad is stronger than good. It is more important to eliminate the negative than to accentuate the positive.


I am going to explore “Bad is stronger than good. It is more important to eliminate the negative than to accentuate the positive.”

Upon first seeing this belief it pinged a note of resonance inside my brain. The concept of ridding a leader, person, team, organization of negative behavior is what I strive to do.

Yet people seem to like to remain in the negative and not let go. They hold onto this negative feeling and story they tell themselves developing Individual Construct (IC) of negative hangers on. This grasping to negative can be transferred to a team where negativity is all they have in common creating their Team Construct (TC).

Believing your business, team, you are in the proportion of people in the team or business who are the most productive, smartest, best looking and effective leads people to find negatives elsewhere. This continuation of negative hanging on eventually develops into a Folkloric Construct (FC) of “I, the team, etc… have always been overlooked and repressed we are powerless to change that.”


Here is an example of a team based elimination of negative:

Facilitating team building for a business, with a focus was on increasing trust between the sales and engineers, the group consisted of 18 people. As I began the program with an opener initiative to gain a read of the groups current behaviors. I noticed that much time was spent between departments cutting each other down and a sophomoric humor that was obviously hurting the morale and desire for the teams to work together. This was exacerbated by a strong ‘us vs. them’ system.

I decided to ask the teams to take part in the Organizational Perception Charts activity. I framed it as each department was to write successes, challenges, and How that Department viewed the other department. For example Sales had to fill in for Engineering; Engineering’s successes; challenges; view of sales.

The purpose was to increase the departments perceptual awareness of the other as well as to show the team leaders and members how the other department saw their teams, attempting to increase the shared knowledge and create a new team construct (TC).

Following the presentations and chance for clarification and reactions to Organizational Perception, we found that each team had some challenges that were created by the other department. For example one of engineering’s challenges was that sales set unrealistic time frames for custom order goods. With that each department took 20 minutes and explored how they could eliminate one of the challenges for the other department, this time I framed it as the elimination of the challenge.

Stating the elimination MUST be positive, achievable and solution focused. As the teams discussed I walked from team to team, when negative and non-solution focused ideas arose I re-directed to team to re-phrase the idea positive, achievable, solution focused. 

The groups then had a chance to share the elimination idea, and it went great! Both teams were open and accepting of the ideas. Some small changes and tweaks needed to be done. A great point in the discussion was when a sales person said “we have always done is that way, it cannot change” the sales team leader said to that person “it can change and we are the ones how will make the change!”

In a follow up meeting – both departments implemented the solution (elimination of challenge) and were working better together. The conversation and team building initiatives were shifted into a new Folkloric Construct (FC) of we eliminated challenges before and we can continue too.


Conclusion: Eliminating negative has a greater impact than accentuated positive. The challenge is to eliminate the negative in a way that does not create more negative.


michael cardus is create-learning