We begin our Talent Catalyst conversations with this simple question: “What are your hopes?”
Here are a few reasons why it’s a great question:
- It’s fresh. Although it might seem rather basic, it’s not a question we are asked very often. We remember asking one senior executive the question and his immediate response was, “Wow, you don’t mess around!”
- It’s expansive. We’re used to getting questions that are more targeted: what are your goals, what’s the deliverable, what’s the objective, when will you have that done. These are all useful questions when executing a plan, but the Hopes question takes a step back and asks you to wonder about the bigger picture. Initially, it is meant not to make final decisions, but to create possibilities.
- It’s forward looking. It is asking what you want to move towards, not what you want to move away from. It is asking about a future with an open canvas, not one that has been decided by the past. This kind of question stimulates the most creative parts of our brains.
- It’s a question that improves with time. In the Talent Catalyst Conversation we ask the Hope question twice. The first time you hear the question you give the best response that you can. As you explore the concerns, resources, and growth opportunities that naturally flow from the question, your response to the hope question becomes even clearer.
How it works
Asking people about their hopes and why they are important to them stimulates a cascade of positive dynamics. What we call the virtuous cycle of hope creates a sense of possibility. In turn, this sense of possibility opens our minds to the resources available to us. With a greater awareness of resources, we have more energy and confidence to act. The following diagram illustrates the cycle.
Virtuous Cycle of Hope
This cycle is also self-reinforcing. When we are hopeful, we see more opportunities and take more constructive actions, which create more of what we hoped would occur. This encourages us to pursue more resources and actions.
You can validate this cycle for yourself. Take a few minutes to answer the following questions.
Hopes in action for you
Describe what the following are like when you have a hopeful frame of mind:
Your effectiveness with others:
Do you recognize the pattern for yourself? Do you see how having a hopeful frame of mind will make a difference for you?
So why not try it out? If you haven’t been asked the question recently, ask it of yourself. With or without the whole Talent Catalyst Conversation, it’s bound to stir up something interesting. Or ask someone you love. What could be a better expression of authentic care than posing this question to your kids, your spouse, your parents, or your friends?
Wellsprings of Talent will help you plumb the depths of your hopes and translate your aspirations into reality.