Friday, January 15, 2016

Are you Part of Problems or Part of Solutions

It takes critical thinking to frame the right problem and empathetic thinking to address the correct need.

Businesses and the world as a whole become over-complex with the increasing speed of changes. Some say the lack of problem-solvers is a problem for this world, more specifically, can you define the right problems, and solving them in the right way? From business management perspectives, some organizations waste much time and tens of thousands of dollars reacting to problems/challenges, but never really solving anything only creating more problems. So as digital leaders or professionals, what’s your reflection-Are you part of problems or part of solutions?

We all develop reputations - for being problem creators, problem definers or problem solvers: Take this question with you and observe scenarios and ask yourself this very question: How do you discover the part you played in the problem/challenge? People develop regular roles, with regular scripts, and the challenge for leaders is to move others to be problem solvers. Indeed to move beyond merely solving problems to pursuing opportunities. We need to listen and understand before acting, and constantly learn and educate/share. Understand the situation, understand the people working with us as well as the people receiving the "solution," understand expectations from each group involved, understand motivation drivers, understand how everyone is integrated into the solution, understand and differentiate the results from the impacts to ensure the engagement, seek for leveraging the previous experience and understand how to optimize each one strength to create a dynamic group where the role changes.

When problems arise, it’s usually best to pause and reflect before reacting: There's a neurological basis for this approach. In short, when pausing you are giving your brain time to move beyond the initial emotional reaction and apply some analytical thinking to the issue. In many situations this will clarify the part you have played in the problem... and that’s a great place to start fixing it! So often is the case, it is your own reaction to problems/challenges that are the problem/challenge. Anger is definitely a problem/challenge we face. Anger in many situations is detrimental on many levels.

We need to take guides development and progress within ourselves: Reflecting on our own actions, taking responsibility for those actions and understanding the interventions. Encouraging the same approach within others to face their own responsibilities enables them to reflect, take responsibility and determine their own interventions and to progress. This is a leadership approach - encouraging others to reflect and intervene when they would not have done so of their own volition is effectively leading change. That change is effected in another person and thus, they are changed through wise leadership.

There is an importance of introspection to assess the part you played in the problem: No one person or entity is always the source of problems, likewise, no one person will be the panacea to problems, but with teamwork, amicable solutions can be achieved. As leaders, it is vital that you develop and maintain emotional competence skills if you are to be effective. It is easy for us to observe how other people become emotionally charged and reactive to problems/challenges; it's even easier for ourselves to become ignited/emotionally charged and reactive towards problems/challenges; and even simpler to just blame someone else, group of people, etc, and wait for someone else to "fix the problem." Unfortunately, this has become a habit; along with the false belief that the "other people must change." Change starts with yourself.

By being empathetic to others and an understanding person, you will have a passion for what you’re doing, in which others can tell: Your passion will show others you truly want and desire the best outcome possible. Additionally, this will help others to see you want the best outcome for yourself, team, and organization, which will make it easier for others to honestly reach out and give their advice. Listen to what others are saying and get others talking about what’s going on. Ask for others feedback in what they believe the problem to be but also be prepared to hear something you might not like or agree with. Understand when you’re upset or angry, you’re not effectively listening, which requires some emotional intelligence to be able to recognize when you’re in such a situation. Learn from the past problems and challenges along with encouraging others to learn from the problems that have happened, and believe that problems are the opportunity to show others you're a good problem-solver. In addition, it is important to develop the willingness to take ownership, otherwise, it could lead to a defensive mindset and result in failing to identify the role in problem/challenge.

It takes critical thinking to frame the right problem and empathetic thinking to address the correct need. Problem-solving is about seeing a problem and actually finding a solution to that problem. When you can put yourselves in a self-aware position of experiencing/seeing/hearing all sides of a problem/challenge, it actually helps opens your eyes, ears, minds, and hearts too. Develop the capacity to use a flashlight on yourselves. This provides you more self-awareness leading to more humility in seeing the reality in its true form. It also takes a collective thinking and collaborative mindset to brainstorm the solutions.


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