How to Create Dissatisfaction that Energizes

Most leaders are too quick to rush to solutions.

Begin with the nightmare, not the dream. Dissatisfaction that energizes begins with an unacceptable present.

The place beyond the hill isn’t worth the climb when the valley feels fine.

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Dissatisfaction, not dreams, is the first step toward change. But, don’t beat people with dissatisfaction.

Insults don’t motivate:

Don’t insult the people you expect to build the future.

Leaders who blame their team for an unacceptable present are insulting the people they led to build it. Insults may energize people with big egos for the short-term, but insults over the long-term drain and demoralize.

If you must point fingers, point them at yourself. You led the team into the present situation. Own it.

Missed opportunity:

Missed opportunity is the dissatisfaction that energizes.

It’s true, you must solve problems. But, a constant diet of problems makes people sick. Successful leaders use the problem of missed opportunity to energize and guide change.

Dissatisfaction that energizes – over the long-term – is about missed opportunity, not failure. The issue is, you could be more, not you suck.

Opportunity energizes.


Define opportunity. Definition determines outcome.

Assemble the team and create a compelling opportunity statement that addresses the problem you want to solve. Opportunity statements must:

  1. Go beyond problem-solving.
  2. Express values and touch hearts.
  3. Fulfill meaningful purpose and fuel energy.
  4. Provide compelling goals.
  5. Build on strengths.
  6. Galvanize teams.
  7. Explain short-term wins and include rewards.

Focus on opportunity more than fixing.

One way to fix a problem is seize an opportunity.

Read John Kotter’s book, “Leading Change,” if you want to go deeper.

What’s important about creating successful change within organizations?