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« The Resistance Principle | Main | Democracy in Action... and how! »

What isn't working?

The next question in my series on powerful questions to ask yourself is "What isn't working?"

This is a great question to ask yourself when you don't feel that things are going quite as well as they could. It's also a great question to ask when you are reviewing your priorities with a view to cutting them down.

Negative signals are just as important as positive ones. Indeed often they are more important - because we are much more likely to ignore them than positive ones. When things are going well, we have a natural tendency to ride the crest of the wave. But when something starts to perform less well than expected (especially if it used to be successful), we often prefer to ignore the signs or rationalise them away. It's really important to keep our projects under review. Knowing when to stop something is as important as knowing when to start something.

When we continue to work on a project long after the time that we should have abandoned it, we are only ensuring that our energies are dispersed, and ensure that we are not going to focus enough on what really could be working.

Like most of the questions in this series, this question can be asked in many different ways:

  • What isn't working (any longer)?
  • What isn’t working (at all)?
  • What isn’t working (as well as it could)?
  • What isn’t working (and never will)?
  • What isn’t working (when such and such happens?)
  • What isn’t working (and what could make it work)?


Exercise: Have a look around your office or your workplace and ask yourself each of the above questions. Maybe it's your filing system that isn't working. Maybe it's the way you deal with your email. Maybe it's the way you tidy your desk (or fail to) at the end of the day. Is this something you could put right? If can't put it right, what needs doing instead?


This article is taken from the latest issue of my newsletter

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