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Unlock the Power of “How Can We?”

19-Mar-2019 17:11 | Stephanie Bernar (Administrator)

Imagine you are crossing a raging river with your team. The second section of the bridge collapses and you are stuck on a rock in the middle of the swirling, freezing water. Do you look behind and analyse why you are crossing the river? Or ask why you didn’t examine the safety of the bridge more closely? Or do you look forward and ask, “how can we get to the other side?”


Stephen Covey in his book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” challenges us to develop the habit to “begin with the end in mind”. In other words, to start by looking forward and saying, “this is what I ideally want”.

Looking forward creates a more positive mindset and set of expectations.

All too often, we start with a review of where we are now. In fact, we often spend most of the discussion examining why we are not in the position we’d like to be in. We look behind rather than “beginning with the end in mind”. This tends to create a limiting mindset, lowering our expectations of what we can achieve.


Once you have established the outcome you want, retain that forward focus and start to consider the steps required to move towards that outcome.

The best question to ask yourself and those in your team is “how can we?” or “what are some of the steps we will take?”.

Avoid “can we?” or “have we tried this before?” The nature of these questions encourages you and your team to give up before you start!

There will always be people who say you can’t, or it’s been tried before and failed.

By asking “how can we?”, you set the expectation that we will find a way, even if it’s difficult. The mindset is one of accepting that there will be obstacles. That you will pre-empt and avoid these or overcome them, rather than letting these obstacles prevent you from starting or trying.


Your attitude and language make a huge difference. As a leader, you must model the attitude and behaviour you want to see in your team.

If you want them to have a forward focus, design the future and have a “how can we” attitude, you must model this.

Your team notices what you DO more than what you SAY.

If you ask the right questions, but they overhear you saying “I’m not convinced this is possible” or see doubt reflected in your tone or body language, both your credibility and their commitment will be diminished.

As you plan projects and change programs this year, challenge yourself to spend 80% of your time looking forward. Focus on where you want to go and how you will get there.

See yourself in the middle of that river looking to the other side. Then determine with your team how to bridge the gap and succeed in your mission to get across.

Beginning ‘with the end in mind’ rather than starting with ‘a review’ is easy conceptually. It turns out to be very difficult for most of us in practice, because we have grown up with the habit of starting with ‘so, where are we now?’ We have been asked this question throughout our education at school and university, and in our workplaces at business planning meetings and project planning meetings. We need to unlearn the old habit and learn the new one.

The internationally successful GREENLINE program, uses the power of neuroscience to help you change this habit as rapidly as possible. It will enable you to increase your own level of success and to implement change programs and client projects with greater success and less stress.

Western Sydney Business Connection are excited to present the new WSBC Member Benefit of a FULLY FUNDED, nationally accredited 1-day GREENLINE program for your business*.

In this fully funded one-day program, leaders and managers will start to unlearn the old habit and use the new habit of ‘beginning with the end in mind’. They will all get ‘on the same page and use the same language’ so that they drive the innovation and changes you want to see in your business.

To book your program or learn more, please call Ramsina McCully from World Class Teams on 1300 085 248.

*Must be a current WSBC member to be eligible for this program.

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