Positive Solutions for Lasting Change
Solutions
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Solutions

Positivity

Emerging research from neuroscience, psychology, and economics makes the link between a thriving workforce and better business performance absolutely clear. Harvard Business Review placed the happiness factor in the spotlight in its january-february 2012 issue. A thriving workforce is not just about employees feeling good at work: research into what makes for a consistently high-performing workforce shows these results: happy employees produce more than unhappy ones; they routinely show up at work; they’re less likely to quit; they go above and beyond the call of duty; and they attract people who are just as committed to the job. Moreover, they’re not sprinters; they’re more like marathon runners, in it for the long haul. Change in behavior is possible. It is not difficult or expensive to find ways to engage people and turn a good place to work into a great place to work.

Solution-Focus (SF)

SF is very useful to manage organizational change, conflict mediation, improve team performance and develop leadership. There is no reason to waist time on what does not work and analyzing the problems into great detail to find the root cause. Usually there is not a single cause and problems are intertwined. And even if the causes are found, they do not lead automatically to solutions. Focusing on the solution however, changes how people think and allows them to find answers, fast and effectively. To illustrate the benefits and how SF works, I asked someone else to describe the process.

SF from an IT’s manager perspective:

 “I can’t help to reflect on how implementing SF as a way of managing change inside our company and also in the way we collaborate with our customers really has transformed our company. A very low tech down to earth example of this happened as recently as this morning, and I thought I might share it with you as a proof of SF being able to make a huge impact in an organization’s everyday life.

So what actually happened this morning: seven people gathered in a meeting to discuss a potential security issue with our customer connected networks. As an IT organization providing IT outsourcing services to customers over the internet and making it secure, is a big thing of course. What usually happened before our “SF era” begun in January of 2012, and also indeed happened in the beginning of this meeting as soon as we had introduced the topic and free discussions begun, is that we start to define the problem. Is this really a problem? Some disagree it is. How much of a problem is it? Many different ideas on that. What is the REAL problem? It turns out there are many potential security issues within the topic defined. What other problems that are related, can we also bring into the discussion? There were a few suggested. Are those problems really connected? We couldn’t agree. Why haven’t we already done something about it? Was someone to blame? The list goes on…

Our technical people are VERY skilled and where we usually end up is in an endless “battle of skills” focused on who can best define the problem using knowledge, experience, hearing of what has happened elsewhere, or even only the loudest voice as the ammo. Focus gradually shifts to winning the discussion and the reason for being there in the first place is forgotten at the same time. In our “before SF days”, that would usually be where we would end our meeting, realizing we had run out of time. And maybe, worst case scenario, we would hand out the task of finally deciding on what our real problem was to a smaller group, before we would get together for another meeting. Eventually we would of course agree on something and move forward with some remediation of “the problem”, but it was very time consuming and many times it would also end up in nothing when competing with many other things also needing our time and attention.

Well, now we have SF and today was different! After 15 minutes of this problem talk, I realized what was about to happen. So, instead I suggested we parked the “defining the problem discussion” for a minute and instead turned our attention to what the situation would look like if we started out with a blank piece of paper and designed something new that was “the best of the best”. While a handful of tech guys couldn’t agree on almost anything the minute before, it took us only five minutes to identify the ideal solution and there was no disagreeing on this. I have probably heard our people defining this problem at least 20 times at different occasions over the past 2-3 years, but I have never heard anyone define the solution – and all the time it has been only five minutes away!?

We then went on to identify what we already have in place that will help us move in the desired direction, and we found a couple of obvious counters along with ONE that very few knew about but that will be an essential building block in moving forward. Finally we listed some possible next steps and ended up with many both small and large things we could do. We selected three that we can get on with immediately, where one of these was a first little step towards a bigger one identified. We ONLY do small steps these days… Before ending the meeting, I asked if anyone had anything to add. There was nothing! No more need for going back to defining the problem. And the smile on people’s faces told me that for the first time there was true belief that we would this time really “fix” the problem. At least we had a very good beginning! The rest will be history in a couple of weeks!

It’s a pleasure going to work every day, seeing all the magic that is created thanks to our SF approach, and also what it does to the people involved! As for the business side of things – I see SF as a significant competitive advantage, so don’t tell our competitors… :-)

 

This IT company is now also testing out the same SF approach while discussing the IT-needs with some of their clients, resulting in a higher client satisfaction rate.

 

I can help you with tailored programs that are interactive, positive and dynamic. The results enable executives, managers and employees to solve problems, increase performance,  optimize their talents and results and feel more engaged. Get ready for success!