10 Invitations to Transformation

Ask people to talk about what they’re good at and their eyes light up. For some, the topic of their strength is so awkward that it takes them time to get their bearings. Eventually, everyone smiles.

People light up when they talk about their power.


Words transform us.

I often ask audiences to gather in the aisles and talk to each other about what they’re good at. It begins quietly and becomes boisterous. Smiles flash. When I ask them to return to their seats – so I can talk – they just keep talking.

4 powers of words:

  1. Words establish focus. Your mind thinks about what you talk about. Whoever controls the topic of conversation controls the mind. Exceptions include those who are disinterested and those who have personal agendas.
  2. Words are magnets. You go where you talk both in attitude and behavior. Negative environments result from constantly talking about problems.
  3. Words are destinations. What you talked about yesterday, in large part, is where you are today.
  4. Words create us. Everything you talk about is part of who you become. At least three religious traditions celebrate the power of words to create, Judaism, Islam, and Christianity.

10 invitations to transformation:

If you want to change people, change what they talk about.

  1. What are you good at?
  2. How did you get so good at…?
  3. How could I get good at…?
  4. How are we winning?
  5. What’s working?
  6. What do you love about working here?
  7. Tell me a story about someone who made a difference in your life.
  8. Remind me of a time when you went beyond the call of duty to get something done.
  9. What are you doing when you feel most successful?
  10. How can we get you doing more of what you love?

Successful leaders influence what others talk about.

How might leaders use the power of words to transform themselves, others, and their organizations?