Imagine a Workplace with No Rain

Rain parade

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Have you ever been excited about sharing an idea, project, or inspiration to someone? You may have been eager to talk about it in a work meeting, or tell a loved one about it; once shared, you may have been met with a response of:

“No, that’s not going to work….”

“There is no way that can be a possibility.”

“Hmm…that’s interesting, but that will never happen because of….”

Essentially, the person may have rained on your parade. Dr. Rick Hanson, psychologist and Senior Fellow at the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, notes that how a person reacts to notions or ideas that are not fully formed–whether positive or neutral, can make the other individual feel supported and energized. However, if the responder reacts negatively by “… focusing on problems, constraints, and risks – no matter how valid they are” one will most likely feel unheard, deflated, and would probably be unlikely to share their ideas as openly in the future.

We have probably all experienced this–both as the person eager to share an idea, and also as the person who essentially caused “the rain.” Here are 3 ways to challenge ourselves to create an environment that is supportive of our colleagues’ ideas and contributions:

  1. Add on to the idea by practicing “yes, and….” You may have some reservations about an idea or concept presented. The concept of “yes, and…” reaffirms the person’s idea, while also adding on to the possibility of what could be. As a team, you may collaboratively come up with a brilliant concept built on innovation and unchartered possibility.
  2. Acknowledge the positive aspects of someone’s ideas first. Hanson states that concerns are received better if they are timely and wanted.
  3. Create intentional time during a staff meeting for “Dream Sessions.” Within this timeframe, challenge everyone to brainstorm new ideas without thinking about budget constraints or current processes.

What possibilities can you create for your team by hosting a parade without any forecast rain?






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