Flip problems into possibilities

Life happens, and I can assure you as long as we walk this earth, it will continue to happen.  Many times we will encounter those Animal Planet situations and find ourselves taking the role of the zebra being attacked by the lioness. At other times we take the role of the lioness and attack the zebra that happens to cross our path when we are hungry; angry; lonely or tired.

Perhaps we play the blame game or have defensive responses, including ugly words, stonewalling and a block, punch, kick — all of which render us “stuck” and incapable of accessing the part of our brain responsible for solution-based thinking.

A problem is simply a label we place on events or situations based on our interpretation, which is often void of possible options for solution-based thinking. Based on our limited view of reality, we feel incapable of handling the situation successfully and effectively.  We give more authority to the problematic situation than to our ability to implement creative solutions, which can potentially boost productivity and enhance relationships.

For example, a small group of employees continually gossips at work and spreads negative rumors around the office. Instead of confronting the situation from a place of integrity along with setting healthy direct communication options that negate assumptions and speculation, too often this unhealthy behavior is allowed to spread like gangrene in the work place.  Responding to this destructive behavior directly and clearly in light of the company’s core value goal to honor and respect team members; you create a corporate space of safety and connection, two essential core needs for effective productivity.

Our goal here is simple: How fast can we return to solution-based thinking that benefits the good of all concerned, including our company’s overall well-being, internal and external? When we face a perceived problem understand that behind the mental curtain, we feel threatened which often times leads to procrastination and avoidance behavior.

Let’s face it – we avoid those things that we feel incapable of handling easily and successfully. To flip our primal response of fight, flight or freeze into constructive solution oriented actions we first need to identify specifically what we perceive to be the problem at hand. Clarity of focus consistently reveals accuracy of response.

Once we have identified the problem, we can then explore the following questions to help us regain our confidence as well as our ability to flip the problem into possibilities for growth and learning. The world is full of creative solutions. It is simply our perceptions that limit our ability to tune into available options.

After you have specifically identified your perceived problem explore the following questions to help you ignite solution based thinking:

  1. Guess three possible solutions to your perceived problem.
  2. Declare your productive solutions out loud and write them down.
  3. Write down your available resources that support your desired solution as well as the resources you need to gather to yourself to accomplish the solution.
  4. What specific actions will you take to correct the problem at hand by when? With whom? And how?
  5. Clear out all blaming, complaining and justifying. Take responsibility for your part in seeking out positive forward solutions.
  6. Identify the upside of focusing on your solutions: The benefits you gain from addressing your problem proactively.
  7. Manage any tail-ending statements that are based in self-doubt, worry or fear. Erase and replace a negative interior voice with positive supportive self-talk.
  8. Write down five of your core values. Make sure the solutions you seek align with at least two.
  9. Watch out for diluting your intuitive solution in the face of the drug of approval. Too often, we compromise our truth for the sake of popularity and recognition. The disease to please also renders us vulnerable to diluting our creative solutions in the face of other people’s wishes. Avoid bullying behavior. Speak your truth in love, confidence and with clarity.
  10. Champion your team as you invite their participation toward collaborative solutions that benefit all concerned: a win/win mindset. Value your employee’s input and welcome constructive feedback.
Categories: Management & Leadership