This week I heard Dr. Kathryn Cramer speak at SMU’s Business School about asset-based thinking. What’s asset-based thinking? It’s a way of looking at things that help you launch a project or spread change within your organization or yourself.
Why is asset-based thinking important? Because the way you see situations influences everything else. Dr. Cramer explains asset-based thinking in her book, Change The Way You See Everything.
When confronted with a problem, instead of thinking of all the reasons the project won’t work, think of the assets you have to make it work. Larry has great copywriting skills. Sally is a wiz with numbers. Mike has the ability to design interfaces. Remember, your mind is goal oriented. So what you focus on expands.
During the presentation, Kathryn displayed a picture of a half-full glass of water. She said, “I’ve been asked if asset-based thinking is simply looking at the glass as half full. It’s so much more than that. It’s what’s in the water that counts.” Kathryn is an original thinker. It takes imagination to turn an age-old cliché into a fresh idea that creates surprise.
If I came away from this hour-long presentation with just one new idea, that would’ve been plenty. But Kathryn gave a teaching performance that I've seldom seen. And I know a little bit about teaching. She connected with the audience the moment she took the stage, and helped people understand concepts through analogy and story. The 90-second story from Kathryn’s childhood provided a way for people to see asset-based thinking in action. And then she explained how to use story to launch your vision. Why is story important? Words alone account for just 7% of your message’s ability to reach people. How your vision is delivered has a major influence.
Kathryn’s concepts and stories flowed within the context of the presentation, and her deft style never weighed on the listener’s mind. Dr. Cramer’s appearance at SMU was much more than a lecture. It was a tour de force in teaching techniques. It was a master class from a master teacher.