Team Building & Leadership expert Michael Cardus

Facilitating a corporate group the other day every time the question was asked:

“If we were to repeat this process what could you and group repeat to be successful?” The group struggled.

So I changed the question to a problem focused statement

“For this activity to be worse what could you do more of.”

Suddenly the group livened up…they started listing things they could do that would sabotage their success and how they could continue to struggle with the challenge.

this was uncomfortable and not very solutions focused…

Following that discussion we now had a nice comparison list of what the group could do more of to continue to fail.

Suddenly they started discussing and listing what they did that created success, and then when I asked “If we were to go through this challenge again what would you as a group and individuals continue to do to be successful?” they had counter-examples to utilize.

Going negative to highlight and create a comparison tool for the solutions is just what is needed.

Take some time and think about a current project, task, challenge you are accountable for. Answer these questions;

  • Why were you chosen (or why you chose) this task.
  • List some steps that are successful so far.
  • What (who) has set and defined the quality standards of this project, task, solution, etc…?
  • What are they, list them clear & distinctly as possible.
  • Time frame? What is it?
  • On a scale of 0 – 10, 0-being absolutely no comfort with this task, project, solution, etc… and 10-being total comfort…where would you place yourself right now?
  • Using the same scale what would create a backslide to a lower number?
  • Using the same scale where would you have to be on this scale to feel successful with this project?
  • Describe how you, your relationship to the project, task, solution, etc… would be different when you are at the higher number.
  • How would someone else know that you are at the number, without you telling them?


Going negative to create a contrast of action for the positive.


michael cardus is create-learning