I was in a fix.
I was assigned to manage a project which was critical for the organization. I had to deliver the project within a very short period of time. My team was very talented and committed. But when I described the project to them in a team meeting and talked about how critical it was for the company and the deadlines were stiff and the expected quality standard was high, I could feel the vibes of negativity emanating from them. It was clear that they were not convinced about the success of the project.
I did not discuss anything on that day.
The next day, I again called for a team meeting and as expected , I saw unenthusiastic faces sitting around the table. I took a deep breath and announced "I would like to brainstorm about the reasons why the project should fail ".
Suddenly there were murmurs of interest in the group. People became interested and I could see expressions of surprise on their faces. The team was used to Brainstorming about positive things but suddenly they were exposed to REVERSE brainstorming !
So we followed the usual process of brainstorming and we came up with 53 reasons why this project will fail !
Just after we finished the brainstorming, I announced "There is a second part to this exercise... we will now prioritize and select ten significant factors which pose major threats. Then we will do a detailed action planning to ensure that these factors are taken care of ..".
Since the team had come up with the threats and jointly created the action plans , there was a lot of ownership and any hurdle which came up during the execution was dealt with alacrity by the team !
Our project was completed within record time and we received the Star Team of the Year Award !