“Finding the Bright Spots” is one of my favorite concepts, and it comes from the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Dan and Chip Heath. In one chapter, the authors tell the story of a young man charged with reducing the number of malnourished children in Vietnam.
The young man had little money and no power to deal with things like poor sanitation and poverty. Instead, he looked for the Bright Spots; he looked for children who weren’t malnourished.
He found some! Those children’s mothers served the children’s daily allotment of rice in smaller portions. When a person is malnourished, they digest smaller amounts of food better than larger servings. They also added a bit of protein by seining for brine shrimp in the rice paddies. Finally, they included the leaves of sweet potatoes in their children’s diet.
These were easy things that most parents could do. He then had the moms teach each other these techniques. At the end of six months, 65% of the children were better nourished.
We don’t need to start from scratch very often to solve a problem. Most of the time, someone has already solved it for us.
Is one team having a problem keeping up with reporting requirements? Find the team that isn’t struggling, and see how they do it. Are you having trouble motivating your employees? Locate someone who has an enthusiastic team, and find out why.
Bright Spots are proven methods. We know that they work and that they can be done.
If you think about it, hunting for a recipe online is looking for a Bright Spot! Someone else has already figured out how to cook spaghetti squash, and you benefit from his or her experience. Parenting, communication, conflict, and motivating others have all been figured out by someone else.
Heck! There are YouTube videos that will show you how to put on tights and trim your beard, although not at the same time.
There is usually a variety of solutions to choose from. We can pick and choose which appeals to us the most and give it a shot. Even if the Bright Spot isn’t exactly what we need, it gives us a good place to start.
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