By Dan Cooper on October 12, 2018

Have You Seen a Yellow Jeep? One simple way to motivate your team by finding the good.

“Have you seen a yellow jeep lately?”

What a weird question. This came from a friend, mentor, and sometimes coach of mine Ace Wagner.

With a quizzical look, and not quite sure where he was going I said, “No.”

“OK, text me when you see one.”

And then he was silent. I’m thinking, really? That’s it? You’re not going to explain it? Uh … OK. But knowing him, there is a pony in there somewhere so I let it lie.

I leave our morning coffee and go on about my day. I’m heading to lunch with a client and low and behold, what do I see going into the restaurant but this yellow jeep parked out front. You’ve got to be kidding me. Not two hours after his creepy “text me when you see it” I see one. So I text him.

“Seen it. Now what?”

“Call me.”

After lunch I do. Here’s his explanation.

“Have you ever been looking for a car to buy and all of the sudden you see it everywhere?”

“Funny, I hadn’t thought about it in that way, but yes.”

This is the power of your subconscious. You’ve seen yellow jeeps everywhere all the time before now. It wasn’t until I asked you to be aware that your subconscious started working on noticing the yellow jeep.

Makes sense. So … what?

What is your yellow jeep for the week?

Ah, now I got it and here’s what I learned.

BE INTENTIONALLY AWARE TO FIND THE GOOD.

The world is throwing as much at you as it possibly can in terms of information and messages. In order for your brain to cope, it has to filter most of it out. We have process, habit, and patterns that allow us to function without much thought (think driving, taking a shower).

With focus and attention, you can raise your awareness for all kinds of things. The “yellow jeep” exercise shows that YOU can intentionally decide what is important and therefore notice people, events, and things that were previously “hidden.”

This happens all the time with goals. You set a goal, you focus on it, you achieve it. You want to find a new project manager for this open spot in your organization. Y start looking and listening for opportunities to find that person. That person has become a yellow jeep.

I have found that yellow jeep-ing is the most powerful when you use it for leadership and finding the good.

At work, I spend too much time finding the problems, gaps, faults, wrongs, misbehavior, below standard, and then talking to, about, and coming up with plans to improve.

When things go right, they are in the process and patterns that I expect so like driving, I’m not sure how I got here, but nothing bad happened so onto the next. I just don’t notice the good very often.

People do more of what they are complimented on. “Ted, I like that shirt.” Guess what, that’s Ted’s new favorite shirt which he’ll wear more often. You should do the same in your office and at home.

What should your yellow jeep for the positive be this month? What is one thing you can look for that will be positive for your employees and your company? Perhaps you can catch your employees doing things right and then praising them for it.

What about personally? What should you look for at home?

I noticed that I became the “no” man at home. Dad can we … “No.” It didn’t matter if it was to go outside and throw the ball or if it was going to Panera and grab a bagel. The answer was no. I set it as my yellow jeep. was going to notice when my default answer was no and say yes instead for a week. When I noticed that my mouth started to say no, I’d stop, pause, and then say yes. (not to the ridiculous, but to the everyday ordinary things).

That was a fun week. Saying yes opened me up to opportunities to connect with my wife and kids I didn’t know were there or were ignoring. It got me out of the habit of saying no. I’m also more aware of it now and it’s much more regulated.

What now?

Text me when you see a yellow jeep.

Published by Dan Cooper October 12, 2018