How to paint a positive future

Is your firm going through a tough time? Here's a career masterclass in painting a positive future.

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

Say it with a story. We're more likely to remember and believe information we hear within the framework of a story. Take your team on a journey from the company's past, through the present (highlighting current successes) and build up to your finale: the future you believe in.

Set the mood. Enthusiasm is infectious; let yours show. Keep your tone upbeat, your body language energetic and your language passionate. Next step? Keep it up.

Use the grapevine. Identify your company's key influencers - that's everyone from the trusted old-timer to the office gossip - and prioritise winning them round. Once they believe in your vision, the good news will spread itself.

Be authentic. Employees need to trust the person leading them. Tell the story of who you are, the challenges you've faced and overcome, and why you personally believe in the company. Practise aloud keeping your key points consistent but varying your delivery. A scripted speech screams inauthentic.

What's in it for them? 'Positive future' means different things to different people. Speak to individuals and find out what they want. Whether it's talent programmes or flexitime for parents, set about proving it's on the horizon.

Make it credible. Most employees need something concrete if they're to stay motivated. Share the main steps that will help you achieve your vision and start implementing them quickly.

Keep saying it. According to the Edelman trust barometer survey, we have to hear something about a company at least three to five times before we believe it. Don't rely on one flashy presentation, but drip-feed proof that it's in reach (increased sales figures, new hires, planned expansion) whenever you can.

Over to them. Empower your team by pointing out that they have the skills and capabilities needed to realise your vision. A company's future is only as bright as its employees make it.

The Mind Gym: Relationships is published by Little, Brown at £12.99 - www.themindgym.com/books

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