January 4, 2023
How often do you hear a team member bring up a problem that requires attention?
All the time, probably.
How often are they also proposing a solution to that same problem?
Likely not very often, if ever.
This isn’t because they’re not capable of problem-solving or creative thinking. It’s because of the culture, systems, and expectations at your company.
It’s common practice, and even expected, for problems to be shared during meetings. But there’s no expectation or requirement for solutions to be simultaneously shared.
This can (and should) change.
Creating a solutions-focused environment would have a significant impact on your business:
- Expedites problem-solving
- Empowers all team members to problem-solve
- Enhances collaboration — Solutions stimulate creative thinking and more collaboration
- Creates a filter for the type of problems shared — Small problems will often get resolved on their own saving time in meetings
Good News: It’s not difficult to make this shift.
At the next leadership meeting, create an agenda item to walk through this new policy:
If you propose a problem, you must also propose a solution.
But what if the team member isn’t qualified or they know that their solution is not suitable?
You cannot expect these to be the perfect solutions, only that they are proposed (for all of the reasons listed above in bullets).
The company will benefit from this practice, no matter how bad the proposed solution may be.
You’ll quickly notice how much of a relief it is to receive solutions as often as problems. It changes everything. Turns negative or discouraging environments into positive, energizing, and exciting ones.
It’s also easy to enforce.
After implementing this in your business, the next time someone shares a problem without a solution you simply have to ask: What do you propose?
After a few times, they’ll quickly adapt and anticipate the question.
Go ahead and try it:
- At the next leadership meeting, create an agenda item to walk through this new policy
- Once the leadership team is onboard, have them communicate it across the company
- Don’t expect the first proposed solutions to be perfect
- Get comfortable asking: What do you propose?
See you all next Thursday 👋
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