Some people have built habits of thinking in negatives. They don't naturally think in the frames of what they want to see, know and do. They instead go into the shadow conversations of problems, assumptions and deficiencies.
They talk about the problems of what's wrong, what they don't like and who's to blame. They talk about the assumptions of what they, without evidence, believe, narrate and think. They talk about the deficiencies in the resources, time and support we lack.
In the Canvas process, we respond to these simply. We invite people to translate everything from negative to positive. We ask them to translate problems into the intentions of what they want to see possible. We ask them to translate assumptions into new and actionable questions. We ask them to translate deficiencies into sprint items of what we can do to act on our intentions and questions.
We do this because we care about each other and our potential to be smarter and better together. We know it is impossible to be smarter and better with a negative focus. These are only possible with a positive focus.
When we see groups interacting and performing very differently, one productive and the other stuck, it is precisely because of the quality of their conversations. Positive groups who focus on what they want to see, know and do make great things happen, and not occasionally, but regularly.
And at the heart of their success is how they respond to the negatives that emerge. They waste no time arguing with the negatives, supporting them or trying to distract from, demean or deny them. They simply empower people with the invitation to translate every negative into its relevant positive. People feel heard and when people feel heard, they become more able to show up engaged.