Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Solution-Driven Culture

The negative reactions to the problems come from a state of distrust, disengagement, and dis-empowerment.

Businesses "fail" for a multitude of reasons including economic conditions, vendor management, performance or production, industry regulations, expansion costs, and the list goes on. Look at the primary causes behind the fall of the business, from an internal management perspective, which failures are you talking about? Is it capital investment failure or functional management failure? Is it leadership failure, or an individual’s failure? Are the failures caused by soft business elements such as communication, culture, or hard elements such as product/project/process/service, etc? And when failure happens, are you finger-pointing or problem-solving?

As a leader, see the larger picture is a critical aspect of understanding the best next moves. Take on a broad open perspective with empathy and understanding of being the quiet observer to become self-aware of how our own actions/thoughts/ feelings contributed to problems/challenges that we all face at our surroundings and around the world. Effective leaders routinely zoom out to see the larger system and their part in the mess. It takes extraordinary discipline - to carve out the time for this type of reflection and it almost always takes an external coach to help develop the habit. Sometimes the simple question, "what was your role?" can get the reflective juices flowing. And the good news is that although we have a hand in the result, there are systems dynamics that shed as much light on the problem as the individual leadership role. It's all about who you are as a person. If you are a paranoid blamer, then, that's how you will be a leader if you are a focused, clear-headed realist, that is what you will be. You will need to take a few steps back trying to get the real picture of what happened based on facts and figure out the best next move toward the right decisions.

The negative reactions to the problems come from a state of distrust, disengagement, and disempowerment. It is so easy to point the finger elsewhere and not look within. Just think of the time/energy/money wasted by this pattern of blaming others. Avoiding this pattern begins with a belief and understanding behaviors have ripple effects and that we all tend to be drawn into situations that force us to learn and grow. A good habit of the building is to regularly ask the question: "What is my part in this?" This helps to both explore your role in creating the situation, and what part (if any) you should play in moving toward a solution. You can blame, complain, point fingers, wait for a leader to fix the problems, or you can choose "to be the change you wish to see " at work. The biggest problems come when you feel powerless to do anything. An individual needs to recognize not only what role they played in the problem, but what role they can now play to positively move forward.
High mature leadership will make the team more cohesive and functional. Often leaders feel that they can only be the solution when in fact they are actually the problem in some situations. Part of the challenge with situations like this comes down to the leader's maturity and self-awareness. If the leader lacks that self-awareness of the impact they are having, how can they realistically reflect on their own role in the mix? If they lack maturity, they might well recognize they are part of the problem but still fail to do anything about it because it is more 'expedient' to work around it. So high mature leaders will make the team more cohesive and functional. When the member of the team does not perform in the correct way, the typical adjustment to the team is the leader. If you are the leader you are the one who can fix things. So no point in complaining, just do it. Own it, address it, get everyone involved in crafting a solution. Avoid groupthink, the "blame game" and then be totally objective once the issues have been resolved so that everyone has a positive take away for future reference. Fix the problem and make changes in how you deal with challenges. When this model becomes your lifestyle you can better focus on goals.

From the culture management perspective, the blame mentality should be removed from the individual’s mind. The good leaders focus on solutions, not on blame. And as far as who is to blame, per se, anyone who contributes to the decline of an organization can own some fault it in its demise. From a business management perspective, the transparent processes help dig through the root cause of failures, and have a better controlling system, keep the learning attitude to improve, and focus on problem-solving, not finger-pointing.


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