Some Tips for Leading Your Team to Live a Solutions Based Perspective
Problems and obstacles are inherent in every organization and entity. I have never heard someone say “I just can’t seem to find any problems around here”. Why? – because real problems are common. However, real solutions can be a rare find.
There will always be an opportunity for improvement to rise up in any given area of ministry and leadership.
Unfortunately some people approach problems and problem solving in very unproductive ways. For example, it is very common for people when hearing about a problem or obstacle, to simply jump on the bandwagon of identifying and exploring the problem. Example: John says “the vending machine took my dollar today” – and Susie says “That happened to me yesterday, too” and then they both continue on with a dialogue about how the machine is old and dumb and the items inside aren’t that good anyway and so on and so on. At the end of it all they both walk away feeling better by venting, then naming and blaming the problem, but having no solution in hand. No one explored options for a long term remedy or a fix.
Not nearly enough people will ask the obvious question when faced with a problem – “what should we ( I ) do to fix it?” Far too few people have an instinctual first response that is “solution” based. Fear not however, because it is a skill that can be learned as a team. What is necessary is a high level of perceived value and ongoing accountability.
A a team discuss these questions together:
- What are some common unproductive responses to new problems and obstacles?
- How valuable would it be for everyone on the team to instinctively think of solutions to a problem as soon as the problem became known?
- How often do we do that for each other?
- How effective are we at proactively providing creative solutions to new problems as they come up?
- What is preventing us from focusing on solutions first?
- What permission are you willing to give for others to expect you to provide solutions first to new problems?
- How willing are you to expect and demand solutions from others when they bring problems to you?
The ultimate solution will lie in every-one’s ability to be honest with each other and create a new “normal” amongst the team. As problems arise in the future and they are brought from one office to another – one person to another, the team must have permission to stop, ask and expect of each other, point blank – “what are we going to do to fix it?” Instead of the usual volley back and forth of vent, name and blame.
Finally, discuss as a team what this type of accountability will look like and gain permission now from each team member and for each team member to demand and expect solutions first at any time that future problems arise.
What steps will you take to be more solutions oriented today?