The Golden Ratio

I noticed my wife talking with her accountability partner, Christine the other morning. Sheila and Christine speak most mornings, checking in with each other about their accomplishments from yesterday and their objectives for today.

For some reason, I stopped and listened a bit more than I usually do that morning. I noticed that not only were they checking in about what they had accomplished but were also sharing appreciations and compliments about what they had achieved. “That sounds so exciting.” “What great news that is!” “I knew you would get that done,” were all uttered within the space of their short check in call.

Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina has shown that the ratio of positive comments to negative comments makes a significant difference in workplace productivity with a minimum of 3 affirming to one negative being a baseline number. In partner relationships, the ratio is closer to 5:1 which is reported for what it takes to have a healthy relationship with your partner. 

Having an accountability partner is very much in vogue these days and having that support can be helpful to ensure work gets done. The forward-thinking leaders using our house phone that morning had taken accountability to the next step. They were not only acknowledging the work done but were praiseful about it.

While it might be great to get your own accountability partner, perhaps a more important first step would be to acknowledge a success with a colleague or family member. We are so bound up with our negativity bias; our first tendency to always look for the worse and put ourselves and others down. Looking for success is so much more powerful and, in all honesty, more life affirming

Take some time to look for the good.  Share your successes as well as acknowledging others and see how the excitement set you up for success.

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